In early August, six Chinese student ambassadors arrived in Bemidji to get a taste of life in America and learn what it means to be an American college student.
The students were visiting from Wiefang University in Wiefang, China, a university of approximately 20,000 students with which BSU has developed a close relationship over the last year. BSU has sent a number of students to Wiefang this year, including a group of four students who worked in China as English instructors, and BSU’s student electronic music ensemble spent a month in Wiefang this summer teaching electronic music and composition. This group of ambassadors were the first group of students from Wiefang to visit Bemidji. They were:
• Lin Chen, “Alison,” majoring in teaching Chinese to speakers of other languages;
• Li Mingzi, “Fiona,” majoring in accounting;
• Sun Shichao, “Baron,” majoring in network engineering;
• Dong Yantong, “Maria,” a Chinese linguistic literature major;
• Zeng Xianguan, “Glory,” majoring in business English; and
• Li Wanzhuo, “Rachel,” a Chinese linguistic literature major.
The group is pictured above with BSU student Emma Li (center).
The students left Bemidji the morning of Sept. 20 and began their trip home to China, taking with them memories that will last a lifetime. The students experienced life at BSU, living in Tamarack Hall during their time on campus, and traveled throughout northern Minnesota. The group also visited Minneapolis and Chicago.
The students sat in as guests in a number of BSU classes and were impressed with the treatment they received from the university’s faculty. Chen recounted her experiences auditing a music class.
“The professor treated me as a real BSU student,” she said. “He put my name on the class list and let me sing with the other students. I told him I was just observing, but he made me feel very comfortable to join the class. When he put my name on the list, I felt very happy.”
The six ambassadors learned about BSU through interactions with the BSU students who visited Wiefang earlier in the year. But beyond knowing that their university was pursuing closer ties with BSU, the group didn’t know much about the town or university before making the trip. However, each was impacted by the friendliness of the people and by the natural beauty of the BSU campus and its surroundings.
“BSU is smaller than our university, but I found out it was more beautiful,” Xianguan said.
The group also planned to enthusiastically recommend BSU to their friends and classmates back in China.
“We will tell our friends and classmates that the atmosphere at BSU is very good,” Shichao said. “We want them to know about the opportunity to try this for themselves. Everything is very good. The only bad thing is that we can’t stay one more month.”
And as with any goodbye, the relationships formed during their time in Bemidji will be the most difficult thing to leave behind.
“I’m going to miss my friends,” Chen said.
The group’s adventures were chronicled on Facebook by the BSU summer programs office: https://www.facebook.com/SummerBSU