By Jeremy Harper (Staff Writer)
Before arriving at Wesley College, Chinese international student Yong Duan told his advisor that he wanted to audition for American Idol.
By the time he got here, however, the auditions were over.
This hasn’t stopped his dream to leave his mark on America.
Yong Duan is a transfer student from Jingzhou, China. He regularly attends Yangtze University, which holds about 40,000 students.
Despite the fact that Yong, 21, is a senior at Yangtze, when he arrived at Wesley, he was assigned a general course study. His classes include Public Speaking, American Heroes, College Writing, Crime Scene Investigation, and Introduction to Business.
“I chose Wesley College because it is close to big cities,” Yong said.
He recalls his first day of class in American Heroes, his favorite class, taught by Professor Susanne Fox.
“When I came to the first day of classes, I didn’t have anything,” he said. “No paper, I was unprepared. Mrs. Fox saw that and she placed a piece of paper on my desk.”
Yong feels many Americans are intimidated by his culture because of China’s growing economic status. As a result, he felt like an outcast in the beginning of the semester, he said.
In China, many students learn English as a second language from as early as Kindergarten, Yong said, and students in China are very serious about their education.
Yong feels that it is the exact opposite in America.
“Here in America, many students are very opinionated,” he said. “Only one student will run the majority of discussions while we are in the classroom. The one with the strongest opinion is the one who is right.”
This type of environment in the classroom intimidates him.
In China, each student has his or her own idea, Yong said.
The teacher will open up the floor for discussion and students will take turns, one by one, going around the room and all contributing to the discussion at hand.
It is not just that whoever has the loudest voice is the one who is right. Everyone’s ideas are heard and taken into consideration.
Yong said he understands American students’ desire to have fun, but believes that they should “cherish their education.”
Yangtze University offers few recreational activities, he said, but the university shares some similar sports with Wesley, including basketball, tennis and soccer.
However, the most popular activity at Yangtze is dancing.
“The dancing [in America] isn’t really dancing,” Yong said. “I was really shocked to see the students on the Cape May Ferry. Everyone was merely shaking their asses.”
He’s also interested in radio.
“To be able to be paid for just talking, that would be great,” he said.
He likes Ryan Seacrest, and Yong said he would love a chance to try and host his own radio show.
His favorite American food is pizza. When he first arrived at Wesley, he didn’t like it, but it grew on him. By contrast, his favorite Chinese dish is rice, which in China is generally eaten with every meal.
Yong says he spends much of his free time “expanding his knowledge.”
A business major, he wants to be an entrepreneur and operate his own business.
At the moment he does not know what the business will be, but he wants to work at an international level and include people who are multilingual.
Yong will attend Wesley until the end of the spring semester.
He believes he will miss the bonds that he created while he was here.