Home Country: China
Class of 2013
Guilford College sophomore Yaojie Wang comes from a city called Weihai, in Shandong Province, China. Her transition to Guilford College, she says, “really didn’t take long at all, and for that I was both surprised and relieved.”
A geology major, Jie says that Guilford offers a calm, welcoming atmosphere that made it easy: “I was pretty nervous before I got here, knowing that I was heading to a completely new environment, not knowing what I would face. But even though it’s a small school, Guilford has many different kinds of people, so you can always find people you get along with right away. As small as we are, we even have five students here now from China.”
She adds that the tension of the transition to America didn’t last long: “It’s very peaceful here; Guilford is a place where you can relax. You don’t have to worry about fitting in, about being accepted.”
It turns out that even English was no problem for her, as she thought it might be: “In my first semester I went to the most basic English class, English 101, just to be sure that I was ready. In that class they gave us an assignment that measures your English proficiency, and right away they determined that I was already ready to move to English 102. So I did, and it was great.”
Jie adds this: “The people at Guilford are patient if you ever struggle with language — they’re willing to help you communicate. Really, that’s one of the things I love most about it here — the faculty members, my advisor, members of the staff, the international student advisor … they’re all so, so helpful. It’s wonderful.”
Jie is a member of the Guilford College Chinese Culture Club, an organization that serves to inform non-Chinese people about China. “We want them to learn about our culture, and we hope to clear up any misunderstandings about China and Chinese people.”
The club also provides cultural and social bonds among Guilford’s Chinese students, helping them get a sense of “home.” As part of that club, Jie has cooked Chinese food, watched films on China and played Chinese music on an erhu, a traditional Chinese 2-string instrument that she’s been playing for 10 years. “We also help any people who want to learn to speak Chinese,” she says.
Jie also serves as vice president of the college’s International Club, which welcomes students from countries around the world.