Adjustments color experience for Asian students


Coming to America from Wuxi City, China, Xiantong Wang noticed the blueness of the sky immediately.

“I love it,” he said. “The air here is really fresh.”

A 22-year-old mechanical engineering student, Wang said that he also enjoys the Detroit Mercy campus and prefers it to China.

He hasn’t had any troubles and everything is going well, he added.

“I think it’s like I’m coming home,” he said when talking about how he felt settling in America.

Wang is part of the international cooperation program.

International students’ views of America and Detroit Mercy vary wildly.

Some see their experience as fantastic; others view it quite negatively. 

Ray Cho (the English name he has adopted) came to Detroit in August.

He is majoring in electrical engineering, and is pursuing his bachelor’s degree and will be working toward his master’s degree here, as well.

Food and language account for two of the major cultural differences he has noticed.

“It was difficult to adjust my diet because Chinese food is quite different from American food,” Cho said. “But I enjoy it.”

Cho said that it is difficult to describe what is different about the foods but it comes down to how it is prepared, he said.

Aside from language and diet, Cho said that he sees the advantages to being on an American campus.

He said he feels “quite free” because in China there are many rules students must follow.

Cho said in some aspects he prefers America to China because of the ability to do a lot of the things his own way.

Some of these freedoms relate to the way people study and the foods people eat.

People here don’t judge you as much on those matters, he said.

Yanghao Xu, another mechanical engineering student, came to the university via another university partnership.

Xu said language is the hardest part of being here.

“I can only understand 30 percent of what the teacher tells us so I need to study more after class,” he said.

Xu said he and some other international students worry about their safety off campus, so they mostly stay here.

“In China I can go everywhere at anytime even after 10 p.m. and go to like a barbeque or something other than that,” he said.            

But he added that because he is living on campus it is easier to meet up with friends at the fitness center and play ping pong or basketball.