Through the Eyes of an International Freshman

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Being a freshman in college is hard enough. Being a freshman at a school in a foreign country takes an incredible amount of courage. But that is exactly what General Management freshman Shuang (Sarah) Chen chose to do. I contacted Sarah and asked her a few questions about her first semester here
at MSU.

LR: Where are you from?

SC: I came from China. Wuhu, Anhui to be specific.

LR: Why did you choose to study at MSU?

SC: I love this school, and part of my family lives here.

LR: How have you been enjoying your first semester?

SC: I’m always hanging out with my friends and roommates. I also enjoy walking around campus. You know East Lansing has the most beautiful autumn I have ever seen.

LR: How does the weather here compare to the weather you experience at home?

SC: I lived in Wuhu, Anhui, which is a region south of the Yangtze River in China. Generally, Wuhu has mild climate and abundant sunshine with four distinct seasons. East Lansing is colder than my hometown. My domestic friends tell me that Michigan spends half of its year in winter and snow. When I first came, the summer here was not as hot as my hometown. The air is also much drier, which I think is the most different.

LR: What have you learned this semester that will help you going forward next year?

SC: My writing and economics classes have helped me the most this past semester. Writing teaches me another way of thinking and how to organize and expand one’s writing. Economics, which is my first [class], helped connect me to the real economic world. I felt really excited getting involved in this field, which is related to my major. These skills are what will help me moving forward next year.

LR: What has been the hardest part of your transition here in the U.S.?

SC: The first thing would be the (verb) tenses. In Chinese there aren’t as many as in English. Another point worth mentioning is word (usage). In Chinese there are many traditional idioms that are not simply represented in the literal meaning in English. They have a deeper story or meaning to them. The literal translation is hard and misleading to those who don’t understand the language and cultural background.

LR: Do you have a favorite American food dish? 

SC: I know it’s weird, but I think my favorite is mashed potatoes. I like everything rich in starch. Sweet potatoes are also a favorite!

LR: What has surprised you the most while being here?

SC: Before I came here, I was worried about my spoken English. I was afraid of people’s sneers. When I got involved with American life, I found that nobody means to laugh at you. Everyone is ready to help. That was the most surprising thing. I feel relieved when I speak slowly or use the wrong words.

LR: What advice do you have for international students considering MSU?

SC: MSU has the most beautiful autumn and delicious dining halls! You will have half of the year accompanied with snow!

In her free time, Sarah loves to bake and spends her time in the kitchen making cupcakes and other goods for her friends and teachers. She loves sweet things like cakes, breads, cookies and puffs. She has made many birthday cakes for her new friends here at MSU. Sarah is working on expanding her baking career and looks forward to the opportunities that come with starting a business. Her friends and family support her every step of the way, and she has learned much about the inner workings of a business. She hopes to continue to expand as both a person and a baker.


Lynnette Roth is a senior studying creative writing. She loves life, sewing, fall and her husband. Her closet has more shoes than clothes, and she believes that coffee is the only way to survive.


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