Menglu Cai, a freshman business major, was born and raised in China, where she was exposed to Western culture through TV series and movies. New to the United States, Cai has been able to experience the American lifestyle firsthand while working toward her degree.
Where are you from?
“I am from China…”Chengdu’ is where I am from.”
What did you do in high school? Were you involved in activities or clubs? Was there anything in particular that you liked to do?
“Actually, in my high school, we didn’t have a lot of activities or clubs. The teacher just wanted us to focus and study, study, study. Then we [also] have like “English weekend’ so like the whole weekend we would have some English competition like performance or writing or a reading competition.”
Why did you choose TCU?
“The reason why I chose TCU was I heard from my professor, “Oh TCU is a nice school.’ Before that I thought I really wanted to study abroad, and I chose America.. Then TCU gave me the most scholarshi, so I don’t have to push my parents too much. So that is why I am here and it is a pretty nice school..
What did you think about studying in the U.S. before you came?
“In high school, the last few months, I desperately [wanted] to study in America. Before that, I [loved] to watch American movies and hear the songs. I quite like the Western culture, like American culture, that is why I [wanted] to come here. The most challenging thing is the language problem.”
What did you think about the U.S. before you arrived and how did that compare to after you had been living in the U.S. after a week or so?
“As I mentioned, I love to watch American movies or TV series, so I kind of knew American culture and what people would do. So I kind of adapted to the situation. After I came here I feel like American people are very casual and helpful, at least when I need help. There really is a lot of belief in the religion field because in China many people have to believe in Buddhism or something like that. I kind of like that. I like the Bible study to share our experience or feelings.”
Did you feel like you had to adapt a lot?
“I think there are some changes, like you have to adapt to the culture and like the food you eat. It is totally different than what we eat in China. Somehow I try to maintain myself, because I have my own character. I kind of like to be an international person.”
Has there been anything interesting or memorable in your experience in the U.S. that will always stick in your mind?
It’s really impressive that American people, usually the people on the street, will smile to you or say hello to you. You feel like they are really friendly, it’s totally different from my hometown. No strangers would smile at you or say hello to you. People would think, “Oh you are creepy or something.'”