I still remember that summer three years ago when a 5-foot-tall teenager took a 12-hour flight and carried two 29-inch bags as she arrived on U.S. soil. I knew this would be a new adventure for me because, before I came to the U.S. from China, I hadn’t traveled so far away from home alone.
I was just following the people toward to the exit when I saw someone holding my name and waiting for me. That was my host family. I’ve been living with them ever since. I feel so lucky that I have a such great family in America. And it might be one of the reasons why I am not homesick.
Everything was new and different to me. I was so excited and nervous. A few examples:
- The campus doesn’t have fence or a main entrance
- People wear sandals and tanks to walk around in public.
- Skateboards are everywhere.
- The class is huge – 500 people!
- Professors have office hours and you can go ask questions.
- Students have study group after classes.
- Everyone has a different class schedule.
- The campus has something going on every week.
All of these things are totally different from the universities in China.
It was a totally strange place and I didn’t know anyone, but I started to make friends in class. The International Student Center (ISC) also provided a great place for me to make new friends and learn about different cultures. They have Coffee Hour every Friday at noon. At first, I thought it was just a chance to drink coffee, but I was wrong. Students from different countries present about their culture. And it’s free!
I was really lucky to find two great mentors in my first year of college. Both are SDSU ISC staff. I really appreciate that they gave me so much help and support when I was in trouble – whether that was about life, academics, culture shock or other problems. They are just like my own mom, helping me grow up.
Now, I have been a mentor for the past year. I want to help international freshmen succeed and become involved in this beautiful campus. I don’t want to see them go through what I suffered in my freshman year. After spring semester, our one-year program came to the end, and my mentees and I have become best friends. I am looking forward to enjoying my summer break and meeting the new mentees this fall.
Since coming to San Diego, rock climbing, hiking, swimming, electronic music, photography and writing have become my favorite hobbies. My skin getting tan and my hands are getting rough, but I don’t care.
I love my adventures in this city.
Luqi Zhang is a sophomore accounting and marketing major. She came to SDSU from China.