As one of the over 150 international students at Ohio Wesleyan, Sixin “Echo” Wang came to the United States to learn from a different culture than their own.
Coming from her home in Shenzhen, China, Wang is in her sophomore year studying early childhood education. By immersing herself as a student in a foreign culture, she has experienced social difficulties, including communication barriers and the feeling of being left out.
“Being involved in society and making friends is hard,” she said. “Different cultural backgrounds make us different, so sometimes [I] feel isolated.”
When Wang first came to OWU, she would visit Hamilton-Williams Campus Center and see fellow students hanging out or a variety of club activities, but her broken English left her hesitant. She would walk away frustrated and wanting to join them, but not knowing how to take the leap.
“No matter what, international student[s] should be bold and go out outside [their] comfort zone,” she said. “Everything will be fine.”
Despite her feelings and challenges, her post-graduation plans aren’t in the United States, but back in China. Wang came to learn a better educational system for China’s future, and with this insight, she says she wants to fix the country’s teaching of younger generations.
Wang said being an international student has given her great opportunities to obtain different perspectives and knowledge, but those feelings of loneliness and isolation are not unusual.