Zeyuan Zhan is an applied mathematics major from China who returned home when Case Western Reserve University transitioned to remote learning in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. He's spent the 2020-2021 academic year participating in the CWRU at XJTU Program, a partnership with Case Western Reserve and Xi’an Jiaotong University in China to provide Case Western Reserve students who are China nationals to live together on the XJTU campus while taking their courses remotely. Zeyuan shares how the program has helped improve this challenging situation and what he's looking forward to most when he can return to Cleveland.
- Watch Zeyuan's Global Perspective Video
- Read his interview below
What made you choose to attend CWRU?
CWRU is one of the best universities in the United States. The school has an excellent academic atmosphere. The department of mathematics is one of the top in the U.S. What’s more, in my senior year in high school, Lebron James was still playing for the Cavaliers -that was one of the reasons I chose CWRU.
What is your favorite thing about studying at CWRU so far?
I have met some excellent professors at CWRU. They are kind and helpful.
What obstacles did you think you would encounter when you were first planning to study in the U.S.? If you did encounter them, how did you overcome those obstacles?
The most obvious obstacle must be the language. I think the best way to solve this problem is to speak when you can. Participate more during lectures, make friends with native speakers are all good ways. Personally, I also love to watch English TV shows. I believe they help me a lot with my listening skills.
How has your learning experience at CWRU been impacted by the pandemic?
I went back to China in March 2020. From that time, all my classes have been remote and I have to deal with the time difference, which can be really frustrating.
Why did you decide to participate in the CWRU at XJTU program?
I’m the kind of person that cannot study at home at all. I need someone to sit at the same table with me and study together. Joining the XJTU program gave me the opportunity to live and study with my classmates. This provides me with the environment I need. Secondly, it is great to see how the university in China works since I would never had have that chance before. Xi'an Jiaotong University is one of the best universities in China. With all the tours and lectures they have provided, I will learn a lot. Last but not least, it’s an excellent experience to stay in China for a year; I take it as a break from my 4 years of American life since my sophomore year in high school. All the great Chinese food and familiar social environment make me feel really comfortable.
What do you look forward to most about returning to the CWRU campus in Cleveland?
I look forward to having a normal schedule when I return to campus. I have to stay up late, all the way to 6 o’clock in the morning almost every day. What’s more, I really miss the in-person lectures. That’s a better way for me to learn.
What are your career plans, and how do you think living and studying in another country will help you in your career?
I intend to work in the financial industry in the future. The United States has always been one of the world’s financial centers. Living, studying and working here will definitely benefit my future career.
What advice would you give to other international students considering studying at CWRU?
If you are a student who wants to get away from the hustle and bustle of big cities, a student who wants to pursue a high-quality education, a student who wants to study hard, please don’t hesitate to come to CWRU.