By Damyra Price (Whetstone Staff Writer)

Susan-Zhan339x224Damyra Price
If you ever want to know how you can study abroad, Susan Zhan is the one to go to.

She’s just one of Wesley’s international students from China. After studying at Wesley last year for her undergraduate senior year, she’s back at Wesley for her Master’s in teaching and she’s working in the international office as a graduate assistant.

“I help students decide if they want to study abroad or not,” she said. “I also control the international records for Wesley students who are in or out of the country.”

Senior Jasmine Oden works in the international office with Zhan as study abroad advisers.

“She’s very serious about her job and is hardworking,” she said. “She’s direct at what she does and she does it well.”

Oden said Zhan is energetic and approachable.

“Students who are interested in studying abroad, even if they’re shy, go through a process in the office,” she said. “Susan welcomes the students in and gets to know them first, just like I do. Then we give them the brochures and the study abroad booklet. We tell them to come back and start the application. She’s good at helping students by following-up.”

Zhan said she came to America the first time because she wanted to see what everyone in China was talking about.

“I wanted to see a different world from where I was born and I wanted to see it for myself,” she said.

Kevin Cullen, the director of international programs, said the international program has grown a lot this year. There are five returning international students and 15 new students.

“We have ten countries represented this year,” he said. “They include Saudi Arabia (6), China (5), Nigeria (2), Finland (1), Germany (1), Italy (1), Liberia (1), Mexico (1), and Nepal (1).”

The international program has more than doubled this year, going from nine students last year to twenty-one this year.

“The program is continuing to increase,” he said. “Wesley wants to be more international.”

Senior Rossella Perletti, an international student from Italy, said Zhan was the first person she met at Wesley.

“She helped me at the airport when I first arrived,” she said. “She made me feel comfortable and she’s a nice person.”

Zhan said her dream is to teach Chinese.

“It would be cool to teach in Europe,” she said. “I would teach in America, but I think Europe would be my top choice.”

Zhan said her favorite things about America were freedom and privacy.

“I like the idea of having freedom and to do whatever you want to do,” she said. “I love how Americans respect their privacy. Chinese people are more strict and judgmental.”

She said she loves how cheap clothing is in America.

“When I came to America, I thought I was still going to wear Chinese clothing,” she said. “But I actually never did.”

Zhan loves camping, kayaking and skiing.

“I’m a very outdoorsy person,” she said. “I enjoy the outdoors. I want to learn how to swim, though and I’d like to travel more.”