Zewei Xiao (who goes by "Emma") is an international student studying at the University of Minnesota’s Minnesota English Language Program (MELP). Originally from Beijing, China, she has traveled more than 6,000 miles overseas to study English at the U. In the Q&A below, Emma shares more about herself and her experiences in MELP.
Tell us what Beijing is like.
China’s economy is developing rapidly. Our cities and our lives have changed a lot over the past 20 years. Beijing, where I’m from, is a major metropolitan city that has been an ancient capital for centuries. It’s a beautiful city with lots of scenic and historical sites. In Beijing, I enjoy visiting amazing historical sites, which include palaces and parks.
The city itself is enormous, and is filled with people who are always going somewhere. There are more than 350,000 cars within the greater Beijing area, so we use the public transportation system—it's the greatest in the world!
Why did you choose to study English at the University of Minnesota?
The U of M has a great reputation for its intensive English program. I was attracted to that, and I am also interested in other areas of study at the U, which I might pursue later.
What surprised you about the U of M?
Honestly, I was surprised at how beautiful the campus was! I was also surprised by the variety of on-campus events and activities available to me.
What do you like about MELP?
I have been impressed by the high quality of the teaching, and I’m especially happy with the education on English grammar and syntax. Also, the different class levels each semester really help me to improve my English.
What do you do for fun at the U of M?
I can always find fun things to do, especially on Friday night! I enjoy going to Small World Coffee Hour, MISA activities, MELP Culture Talks, MELP Movie Nights, and more. Sometimes there are cultural festivals, and last semester I went to a Halloween party, an apple orchard, and a bonfire.
What is the best part about studying English?
Learning how to speak English as helped me integrate into US culture, and it’s been possible to make more international friends.
What’s the hardest part about studying English?
Writing in English is very difficult and requires years of practice. It’s not easy.
What are your plans for your career and the future?
I would like to find a job in the health care industry back home in China. My improved English will open a lot of opportunities for me.