College can be a challenge no matter where you are, whether it be in China or at Linfield College.
Through a cultural exchange, Linfield has created a relationship with the China Studies Institute in Peking University in Beijing, China, and other schools around China, both Linfield students and Chinese exchange students get a rare but valuable experience.
This year, Linfield is hosting about 38 Chinese students. Each student comes from a different background and different universities from around China. Linfield is also hosting some Chinese students from Malaysia and Canada.
Sophomore Amy Guo is one of many Chinese students visiting this year. Unlike some, she was schooled in Canada. Though Guo isn’t from China, she sees and understands the differences between Linfield and universities in China.
“Schools in China are definitely not as free as schools here,” Guo said. “One thing though, for sure, is that schools in China [are] way more strict than they are here.”
Guo said that the hardest adjustments she had to make when she moved to America were to the many cultural differences and the food.
While there are many Chinese exchange students at Linfield, there are few Linfield students currently studying in China.
This fall, Linfield sent four students to study at Peking University, and two will travel there in the spring.
Senior Leanne McCallum is one of the four Linfield students studying at Peking University this fall.
McCallum has realized during her time in China so far that there are many differences between McMinnville and Beijing, where she studies.
“Peking University has a huge campus, and it’s a totally different way of life here,” McCallum said. “There are tons of scooters, bikes, cars and people zooming around, and I almost never see the same person twice.
“All of the foreign students live in the same dorm complex so I am able to see familiar faces, but it’s nothing like Linfield where I see the same people every day,” McCallum said. “Since this is in the middle of a huge metropolitan city, I had to learn things like using the subway and navigating the city.”
While McCallum has learned to adjust to the many differences between China and Linfield, she has found many new adventures during her time there so far.
“I have been able to do some incredible things here,” McCallum said. “I’ve traveled to different corners of the country, which are as diverse and unique as the different corners of the U.S.
“I’ve been able to experience irreplaceable cultural moments, like learning to cook Chinese food from a Chinese chef, watching the sunrise from the Great Wall, holding a baby panda and staying in a Yurt on the plains of Inner Mongolia,” McCallum said, “And I’ve met some incredible Chinese people.”
While the major cultural differences often have people unsure, many students have opened their eyes to the possibilities that the Chinese culture has to offer.
“Sometimes it’s scary being surrounded by things that are so foreign to what I’m used to, but most of the time, I’m just thankful that I get to see China firsthand so I can better understand China in my studies and eventually in my career,” McCallum said.