Me and my best American friend!

This week, I am doing a fun Q&A with my best friend Stacie Wiegman. I’ve been friend with Stacie since my freshman year. I met her in the University orchestra. She was my stand partner during the whole semester. After we getting to know each other and we’re both commination major. “talking major” she always says that because I am really shy to talk with people but I am communion major. She tried so hard to encourage me to be brave and practice as much as I can. We’ve been through a lot together. She’s one of the loveliest people I’ve ever met in my life! She will come to China and be my maid of honor next year in August.

Q=Chen

A=Stacie

Q: Compare your American friends. What’s the difference between me and them?

A: “Honestly, there’s not much of a difference except that it’s harder to get a hold of you when you leave the country! Really the biggest differences are just in personality and the fact that you had never had Oreos until you met me! It’s kind of neat because we get to discover more about each other’s cultures when we start talking as opposed to already knowing or sharing the same culture.”

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Q: Any fun or hear-warming story you still remember what happened between us?

A: “Where do I begin? The times that we got dressed up together for no reason and then ended up doing our homework looking fly. I loved the story of us going to St. Louis together. You took a lot of pictures of my dog, and you got along really well with my family. Then we did fun St. Louis things, and I got to show you my home. I seem to take St. Louis for granted, but I had a lot of fun being able to show you things I already knew. Then you tried St. Louis style pizza (which I hate), and you said it was “slimy!” I loved that! But then on the way back, we sang in the car, and you taught me Chinese. You kept saying, “Open your mouth! You’re not speaking French!” Then when we got home, I tried my best to tell you and your boyfriend “I’m going to bed, goodnight.” I don’t remember what that is now, but I definitely remembered saying “I’m going to the library, do you want to come with me?” in Chinese in the orchestra. I felt so accomplished by being able to communicate with you in your native language because we only communicate in mine.”

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Another fun story was when your dad cooked for us, and despite us not being able to communicate with words, we said we liked each other. That was one of the main reasons I wanted to learn Chinese after that. I love being able to talk to other people in a way they understand. Language exposes knowledge, but it can also keep us from it. If you don’t have the right words, then you cannot expect to find out what a person has to offer.

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What she taught me over the 4 years is talk with people! Anyone! Don’t be shy. Everyone has a story. If you are not taking the time to listen, then you are the one missing out. People are story-telling creatures, and everyone is worth a listen.

“One of those people might end up becoming your best friend and then you can end up being in their wedding and going to another country for it!”

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The mixed-race: Multicultural makes me more open-minded.

This week I interviewed the mixed-race Angle Grammer, who comes from the Philippines.2.pic.jpgShe studies at Northwest Missouri State University. I knew her in Missouri Music Educator Conference of last year and we had a very great talk.

Angle’s mother was born in the Philippines and then moved to America when she was in her early 20s. Angle’s father was born in America. She and her brother are both half Filipino, half white.

“We were always exposed at home to our Filipino culture. Mum made us Filipino food for every meal and tells us about her life in the Philippines and the family that I had there. My brother and I even got enrolled in a Filipino dance class.”

Angle thinks it is a bit difficult to live in the multicultural environment of the USA. She sometimes cannot find a balance point between the two cultures she is born with.

“Sometimes I’d be embarrassed of the Filipino customs my mom had taught me, or sometimes I felt that I wasn’t doing enough to appreciate my Filipino culture. Often I found that I didn’t know where I fit in here in America and that I needed to choose one culture or the other. Luckily it’s not like that much anymore! But I’d definitely say being multicultural in America can be a struggle.”

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While growing up, she always knew that she looked different from the white kids at school, and she was proud of who she was- so she would talk about her Filipino culture with pride. However, this is inevitable, that she, like other children who have multiple cultural backgrounds, experienced misunderstanding or teasing.

“Some kids were fascinated, but I remember others picking on me for being different. they’d tease me by singing “ching chong ling long” and saying that my mom was weird. It really bothered me, but I never shunned my Filipino side for it. Instead, I combatted the bullies by embracing who I was even more.”

Growing up in Filipino culture has definitely helped to guide her career path. Her goal is to open a bakery in the Kansas City area with desserts from the Philippines and possibly other countries.

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“My goal with the bakery is to give a safe space for everyone to try new things, or multicultural people to come eat what they love in a good environment, and, to give everyone a place to have conversations about different cultures and what they all have to share.”

She also loves learning about different cultures when she feels a little distant from other Americans. Hearing other Asian-American’s lives helps her reconnect. And growing up with two cultures has made her very open-minded.

“I believe there is absolutely no room in my life for prejudices or judgments on other people’s backgrounds and lives. We’re all different, and there shouldn’t be a ‘standard culture’. I was often teased for how I looked and what I ate, and these experiences have toughened my skin, and now I do what I can to stand up for minorities, and give us a voice.”

Vietnamese Student: Challenging but excited and worthwhile.

This week I interviewed Linh Tran. A transfer student, this is her sophomore year. With very good command of English, this little girl stands out among her peers. Before she enters Truman State University, she chose a community college in Kansas City. She did so in order to lessen her parents’ financial burden. She says:

这周我采访了越南留学生Linh Tran. 作为转学生的她今年已经大三了,超强的英语表达能力和领导能力让个子小小的她在人群中闪闪发亮。就读杜鲁门州立大学之前她选择在堪萨斯城的社区大学完成大学基本课程为父母减少负担,她说:

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“My parents are very protective so I didn’t get to go out with friends until sophomore year of high school. I like American education system. I like how they balance between book knowledge and real-life experience. I have always wanted to study abroad because I enjoy learning new languages. I’m also very interested in discovering different cultures.”

“我的父母其实把我保护的非常好,我平时都不怎么被允许和同学外出。我很喜欢美国的教育体制,我喜欢书本和实际应用的平衡,可以学以致用。我也非常享受学习新的语言,同时了解不同的文化。”

When she finished her second year at senior high school, she talked her parents into studying her last year in America. She underwent the bewilderment of “using the second language” like most students. However, with friends’ help, she quickly overcame the barriers.

所以在高中二年级结束时,她说服父母来美国就读高中的最后一年。不可避免的,她经历了大多数“第二语言”学生的困惑。但是她很快在朋友的帮助下进入了正轨。

“At first, I was still shy and didn’t dare to meet people. But I was lucky enough to meet my very first and also best American friend when I was in high school here. Her family treats me like their own child. They always make me feel welcomed and included whenever I’m around them.”

“当我刚刚来到美国的时候我非常的害羞。但是非常幸运的是我很快遇到了我最好的美国朋友。她的家人对待我就想对待自己的孩子一样。这让我一直以来在他们身边都感觉非常被包容和被接纳。”

When talking about the biggest difference between cultures, she said:

当我们谈到文化之间最大的不同时她说:

“American focus more on individualism. In Vietnam, people to people relationship earns more attention. Here everyone lives their own life and takes on responsibilities for themselves.”

“我认为美国人更注重‘个人’化。在越南,人与人之间的关系更贴近一些。在美国每个人都有他们自己的生活和自己的责任,人际关系相对简单。”

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As a leader of several students groups, Linh is grateful for the more opportunities made possible by the impetus of the cultural difference. She hoped to make more friends with friends from different countries and by doing so, find a new self.

如今,做为多个社团的领导成员,linh感谢这种文化差异带来的对动力给她更多的机会能拓展自己的能力。他希望通过和更多来自不同国家的人结交并发现更新更不同的自己。

 

 

Costa Rica Student: Try hard to fit but maintain cultural essence.

This week I interviewed graduate student Sara Miranda from Costa Rica who is major in violin performance. Sara is passionate and straightforward, like most students of the Spanish Department I know.

这星期我采访了来自哥斯达黎加的音乐系研究生Sara Miranda. Sara给我的印象和所有西语系的小伙伴一样,热情奔放,毫不掩饰。

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 “The reason why I come to the USA is simple. Truman provides very good graduate program and there are not so many students here. It is better for me to learn new knowledge in English.”

“我来到美国学习的原因很简单,我觉得杜鲁门呢州立大学提供了很好的研究生项目,而且学生较少,所以更利于我用英语接纳新知识.”

Sara plays the violin for over 20 years. Every Tuesday she leads all violin players of Truman orchestra to practice orchestra music. Many international students I know, including me, appears to be shy in the conversations. But to Sara, this does not seem to be the case.

Sara 和小提琴为伴已经有20多年了. 她每周二会带领杜鲁门州立大学交响乐团所有的小提琴手分排乐队曲目. 我认识很多国际学生,包括我自己,都在语言交流中略显羞涩。但对于Sara来说这并不是什么难事。

“Actually, I am not confident. (Smiling) When I was in Costa Rica and spoke my mother tongue, I was more active. When I came to the USA, I begin to lead students to play music. That means more conversation. I kind of push myself to do so.”

“ 我其实并不自信的(笑),但是我在哥斯达黎加的时候,在我说母语的时候是非常积极的一个人,所以来到美国,而且我总要带领大家演奏音乐,交流是必不可少的。我有时候可以说强迫自己必须这样吧。”

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She has been here for no more than three months and shared with me some difficulties she experienced: “Everybody is usually on time, which in my country is culturally not usual, the rule is being last. What I feel not used to is that people relate in more cold and separate way than my country, so I didn’t know sometimes if I am being too “invasive”.”

刚刚来到美国三个月的她,跟我分享了她所经历的习惯于不习惯:“每个人通常都每场准时,这在我的国际是不常见的,我们都会晚到一点儿。使我最不习惯的应该是我感觉大家都有一点儿冷漠,所以我不知道我和别人交往的时候是不是有点儿太多热情了。”

As international students. When we visit a new country, we come with our culture and customs. The shock will be shown in every corner of our life like Sara told me at the end of our interview:

作为国际学生, 我们带着原本的文化与习惯来到一个陌生的国家。突如其来的冲击感会渗透的生活中的每个细节。正如Sara在采访最后告诉我的:

“I am trying so hard to fit, but at the same time maintain my cultural essence, as I keep up with my academic and social life.”

“我尽最大的可能去融入,但于此同时我更希望在学习和生活中可以保持我自己文化习惯。”

Japanese Student: have you find what overseas education means to you?

This week I interviewed Kanan Yamaguchi, a Japanese student who studies there. She is a freshman of 2017. As an international student, she chooses Chinese language as her foreign language option. I know her in her first semester as her Chinese peer learning tutor. As a “new” international student in American, she expresses joy, freshness and relentless learning.

这周我采访了日本留学生Kanan Yamaguchi,她是2017年秋季入学的大一新生,作为国际学生的她依然选修了中文作为外文课程的学习。我作为中文小组学习的辅导员在本学期开始认识了她。作为刚刚来到美国留学的“新”留学生,她身上贴满了喜悦,新鲜,和不断学习的标签。

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“I’ve got a lot of good experiences here. To give an example, I really enjoyed homecoming weekend, I’ve never had this kind of experience before. And I feel happy when people are nice and welcoming.”

“我有很多很好的经历在这儿。例如,我非常享受这周的返校节周末。因为在日本我从来没有过这种经历。这让我感觉非常开心因为每个人都很热情和友善。”

From talking to her, the biggest impression on me is the different approaches between Japan and USA in education. It is not exaggeration to say that children from Asia suffer a storm from their primary school to high school. They are studying to prepare for exams. After they arrive in the USA, they begin to experience a revolution in education and learning.

在我们的谈话中她感触最多的应该就是美国和日本在学习和教育方法上的不同。毫不夸张的说,来自亚洲国家的孩子,从小学到高中,每个人都经历了一场腥风血雨。这种教育方法被成作为:应试教育。来到美国后,我们之中的很多人都经历了一场教育方式和学习方法的大变革。

“Looking back at my college life in America so far, I think the biggest difference would be how a college student study. In Japan, actually, I think in all Asian countries, once you get into college, it will be easy to graduate. But here, not only exams but also you are required to work really hard on the assignment and other projects.”

“现在回头看看我的大学生活,我认为日本和美国最大的不同就是大学生的学习(方式)。在日本,实际上我认为是绝大部分亚洲国家,一旦你进入到大学,就非常好毕业。但是在美国,不仅仅是考试会让你焦头烂额,还会有很多其他的作业,演讲,和与其它同学合作的项目。”

By now half a semester has gone, Kanan sometimes feels at a loss or unable to cope with all tasks. “The hardest time was when I was being too lazy, didn’t start doing homework until the last minute and had to stay up late to finish it even though I was tired. I really felt I should do time management better.”

现在学期过半,Kanan有时会感觉有些手忙脚乱和力不从心。”最难的时候应该是我自己有时候特别懒,作业会等到最后一分钟才会想起来做。所以我需要待到很晚坚持把作业写完才能睡觉,即使有的时候我已经非常累了。我觉得我应该多在时间管理上多下些功夫。”

Talking to the newly admitted Kanan, I cannot help recalling four years ago when I first arrived here to study. The four years I have experienced all kinds of things, and keep adjusting myself to meet challenges. So have you find what overseas education means to you?

看到大一刚刚入学的Kanan我不禁想起四年前的我也是只身一人满怀期待的来到这个陌生的国家学习。四年中经历了各种五味杂陈,不断调整自己的状态,不管适应各种挑战。留学的意义,你找到了吗?

Wooyoung Park: I encourage your stereotyping because I’ll be able to surprise you everytime.

This week I interviewed Wooyoung Park from South Korea who studying at Kirksville high school right now.

本周我采访了在科克斯维尔高中上学的韩国学生Wooyoung Park.

Wooyoung’s life experience is kind of special, she was not born in the United States but she spent most of her memory in here. “Because my dad got his Ph.D. degrees at St. Louis University. He came to work here at Truman after graduation so my mom and I are decided to move to America with him.” Wooyoung says.

Wooyoung 的成长经历比较特殊,她并非出生在美国,但是大部分的记忆都是在这里度过的。“因为我爸爸在圣路易斯大学就读博士,他毕业以后来到了杜鲁门州立大学工作,所以我和妈妈就决定跟着他一起搬来美国生活了。

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Wooyoung with her mon.

“I came to Kirksville when I was in kindergarten Before I came here, I don’t know how any English, I just knew ABCD. I still remember one time that I wanted to go to the bathroom, but I didn’t know how to say it, so you know…that was pretty uncomfortable.”

我大概是在幼儿园的时候来到这里的,但是我根本不知道怎么说英语,我唯一知道的可能就是二十六个英文字母。我还记得有次我想上厕所,但是我不知道怎么用英文跟老师表达,所以你知道吗,那感觉真的很不好。”

As she grew older, Wooyoung gradually learns and integrate into the school’s collective life “I think the only thing I can not get used to till now is the food part. Both of my parents gave to work, so I have to buy my lunch at school. But I seldom eat, it’s more satisfying to eat mom’s homemade dinner after school. (smile)” Wooyoung says.

随着年龄的增长Wooyoung渐渐的学会和融入在学校的集体生活。“我觉得我现在唯一不能适应的地方就是美国的食物的吧。 因为父母工作的原因我还是会在学校吃午饭,但我吃的很少,晚上回到家吃妈妈做的饭比较满足(笑)。”

Wooyoung is a very lively and cheerful girl. I think that’s one of the reasons why she can quickly integrate into American life. When I asked her if she had any bad experiences, she said: “They made fun of my eyes (single-fold eyelid) one time, but it was just once. Most of the time I get along well with everybody. even though in this small little town. It’s easy to get along with people. Everyone is equal.”

Wooyoung是个很开朗的小姑娘,我想这就是为什么她可以很快融入美国生活的一个原因。当我问到她有没有不好的经历时她说:“有人嘲笑过我的眼睛(单眼皮)长的很奇怪啦,不过只有那一次,大多数时间我和同学相处还是很融洽的。人与人之间的相处其实很简单的,每个人都是一样的,平等的,及时在韩国上学也会有被欺负或者被嘲笑的时候,所以不能把问题放大看。”

For the future, she has a clear direction after she graduates from high school. “I want to be a doctor. I hope I can go back to South Korea after college. Because my grandparents are still in Korea, I miss them so much.” She thought that even when she moves to American when she was young and she still lives with her parents. But homesick still cannot be cut off.

对于未来的发展,现在马上就要高中毕业的她有着很明确的方向。“我想做医生,大学毕业以后可以回到韩国,因为祖父母还在韩国,我很想他们。”她认为即使在自己很小的时候就来到了美国,父母也都陪她的在身边,但对家乡的思念依然无法割舍。我觉得这是我们每一个漂泊在美国的异乡人都有的情节。

ABC: I can’t do math, but i can write you a poem instead.

Today I interviewed two Chinese students who were born in America and grow up there. They are Youxing Yang and Jessica Chen. When we say ABC, we used to mean Chinese who were born in America. Today, it also includes the second and third generation of Chinese immigrants to overseas countries. The second and third generation grow in the cultural background of the USA and their mindset and values are “Americanized”. However, at home, their parents educate them with traditional Chinese culture and values. Therefore, they find themselves to be in-between Chinese and American culture.

今天我请到了两位在美国出生的中国同学。他们是杨佑星和陈雪兰. ABC最初意指出生在美国的华人,现在泛指海外华人移民的第二代、第三代子女。他们自小就受美国文化教育的熏陶,其思维方式与价值观基本是美国化的,在家里,他们的父母依旧是以中式的传统思维和生活价值观来教育自己的他们。所以他们觉得自己是夹在东方文化和西方文化之间的矛盾体

Identity

On identity, they all believe there is no clear definition. “We live in a different country. We are no different than the others” Jessica says. “If anybody asks, I am Asian American. If they ask further, I am Chinese.” Youxing says. They said that when they were in America they would miss China and when they were in China they would miss America. Both China and America were their homes, according to them.

说起自己身份,他们表示自己并没有一个明显的界限,“我们只是在不同的地方生活,其实我们和其他人一样。” 陈雪兰说。他们说自己在美国的时候会想念中国,但在中国的时候也会想念美国。中国和美国都是家。这就是他们内心的想法。

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Family (parents)

“Their friends are all Chinese. A few years before, my parents were very glad to know three Chinese families live on the same street. Every day after dinner, they would go for a walk. During Olympic Games, they would cheer for China, and I will cheer for both China and America”, says Jessica.

“他们的朋友都是中国人。几年前,其它三个中国家庭和我们住在同一条街时,我父母很高兴。他们每晚都出去散步聊天。奥运会时,每个项目他们都为中国队加油,我通常会为中国和美国加油.”陈雪兰说

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“I don’t think they will move back to China,” says Youxing, “because 20 years have passed. Every time when they went back to China, my parents would feel helpless and had to seek help from their relatives. They no longer knew the streets of their hometown, or the streets, or the bus routes or metro lines. They didn’t even know the names of the most common items and activities.” Their parents miss China a lot and China means reunion with friends and relatives. However, after 20 years of hard efforts in America, they can no longer find strong sense of belonging back in China.

“我觉得他们不会再搬回中国。”20年过去,故乡已成回忆。每次返乡,父母总显得非常无助而且必须依靠亲戚的帮助。“他们不再认得故乡的街道和公交路线也不知道那里的地铁系统,有时他们甚至不知道最普通的用品和活动的名字。”佑星说。他们的父母无比思念中国,在那里意味着和亲人朋友团聚,但在美国打拼20多年,让他们在中国找到不归属感。

This is a very enjoyable talk. I feel glad to see the two different cultures closely,

这是一次非常高兴的谈话,我能感受以正能力对待自己拥有的两个文化,

They feel proud to be Chinese as they are joyful to be American.

他们因身为中国人自豪但同时也为因为是美国人而喜悦。