Kai Wang is a graduate student from Vancouver, Canada. She loves the outdoors, the diversity at CWRU, and the Cleveland vibe. While she misses the mountains of home, she finds other ways to connect with nature here in the U.S. Read on to hear her advice for international students coming to CWRU.
What made you want to study at a US university and CWRU in particular?
To grow independently and to challenge myself, I felt it was necessary to go beyond the familiar places I was used to back home in Vancouver. Since I had previously studied at an American institution for undergrad, the decision to come to Case wasn’t a drastically difficult one. In fact,one of my reasons for coming to Case besides for its reputable program, was that it reminded me a little of home with its many natural attractions and abundance of greenery.
What do you miss most about your home country?
Definitely the snow-capped mountains that surround you in every direction, and the taste of homemade meals (you can honestly never get tired of the food!).
How has your global perspective changed now that you have studied in the U.S.?
Having classmates, friends and mentors from all walks of life and with such a wide range of interests and perspectives has taught me to value their insights and contributions. Coming out here has enabled me to be exposed to a plethora of different ideas, become aware of the many existing issues (both in society and in the world) and the complex series of dialogue around them and has allowed me to develop a more holistic frame of mind. In turn, I feel the internal processing of all these thoughts has given me the ability to better appreciate this multi-faceted wisdom and to make more informed opinions of my own.
Name one thing about studying in the U.S. that you had heard about before arriving and were surprised it was actually true.
How about an assumption Americans have of Canadians I’d never heard of until I came here? People think we say ‘eh’ and pronounce the word ‘about’ like ‘a-boot’ all the time. Nope, I haven’t heard that before in my life! Just to be sure I wasn’t the odd one out, I confirmed with my friends from back home,and I think we agree on this one. If I had a dollar for every time someone said this to me, I’d have a pretty sizeable wallet by now.
Name one thing you tried for the first time while studying a CWRU. Did you like it?
Zumba and salsa dancing. For starters, I don’t dance. I can dance about as well as any stick on the dance-floor, but when in Rome, do as the Romans do, yes? A lot of my friends here dance and so with their blessings, I’ve ventured out a bit and don’t regret anything.
What advice would you give to other international students arriving to study at CWRU?
We’re all in this international experience together: people with different backgrounds coming to study and learn together in one space for the next couple years. What unites us is this common goal, so I would encourage new students to come with open minds-ready to learn about cultures different from their own, ask plenty of questions, take risks by trying new things that they’ve probably never done before, and make new friends because our connection to one another is what propels us forward to discover new experiences.
What do you love about Cleveland?
I would have to say the people are the life and light of this city. Cleveland is a small and unassuming place, but the friendliness of the people I encounter never fails to put a smile on my face. I also have to applaud Clevelanders’ staunch loyalty & infectious enthusiasm (one needs only look at the dedication of Browns fans)!
What is your favorite place to visit in the Cleveland area?
I have a hard time deciding between Chagrin Falls and the Botanical Gardens-so those are my two favorite places. I’m a bit of an introvert so being able to go where there are plants and water both help me establish my equilibrium and allow me to think.
What would you like to do after finishing your studies at CWRU?
I would like to travel a bit, maybe do a backpacking trip through Europe or go on some meditative journey in Asia after graduation. After that, I hope to be able to continue doing research in a biomedical facility or a national research lab. The process of discovery is always fascinating to me, so we’ll see where we go from there.