Clarissa-Jan Lim is a senior majoring in Journalism. She was born in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. This is a video of her fashion style, with some mentions of home.


Thank you for visiting this website. Perhaps I’ll continue updating it come late August when a new academic year starts… we’ll see. Have a great summer!




Photo by Sibylla Chipaziwa.

Photo by Sibylla Chipaziwa.

Adam Pietrykowski is a Studio Production major in the Music Conservatory expected to graduate in 2016. He was raised in a town named Huntingdon in the province of Quebec. The town is about an hour southwest from the city of Montreal, barely nine miles from the New York State border.

Why Purchase?

It was a combination of convenience and it met my goals. I’m a little older; I’ve already been to college once. I did an Associate’s degree in music, and I stopped doing that to work as a musician for a few years. I also taught guitar for many years. I play for money, and have worked with other bands, even had my own for a while. I started production/engineering.

My best friend lives in Manhattan, he’s from Montreal. He’s been telling me for years, “You have to come to New York, you’re gonna get better opportunities, come to New York.” There’s not much music industry going on in Canada right now. I wanted to move to a music center. I wanted to be able to network, meet a lot of people. I also wanted to sharpen my production skills. So I figured Purchase was the best option.

How are things different between here and Canada, especially because you’re from Quebec?

It’s kind of funny, that’s why I asked if I was foreign enough for you… Definitely the language is a big deal; this is the most English people I’ve been surrounded by [laughs]. Quebec is the only province in Canada that is not bilingual: You work in French, you live in French, and then there’s the little cloisters of English-speaking people you hang out with.

I don’t have a very strong Canadian accent, but some people pick on the way I say words, and some of the borrowed words I use from French that I just use in my English vocabulary. It’s easier for me than other international students guaranteed, but at the same time, I am still alien, and it’s like nobody notices [chuckles], which is great. I’m just different enough that most people think “What’s different about you…?”

Why should someone visit Quebec?

Poutine is the reason most people come. We are the largest producer of maple syrup in the world; that Ontario and Vermont crap is no good [laughs].

There’s a lot of interesting history if you go to Quebec City. Obviously there’s a lot of history related to the US as well; Canada exists because of the US. Loyalists to the British Empire moved to Canada when the US seceded. There’s a lot of beautiful foliage, and skiing, hockey, the standard Canadian answers.

I have travelled, and I hate doing touristy things. If I were you, Montreal is the best city to chill in in the world. It’s hard to get work done there, that’s why I came here!

There’s a few political problems in Quebec right now. The separatist thing has come back up, and it’s particularly xenophobic and racist. People who know about it are trying to stay away because of a lot of overt religious oppression… It’s kind of weird. If you look at the news [from there], you’ll see all kinds of strange statements [some Québécois] make about other people’s religions and stuff like that. I’m not qualified to comment on this, but, definitely, people are feeling the pressure. Liberal-minded Francophones and obviously the Anglophones are very worried about this because [the Quebec government] are rather… aggressive in their policies.

Just an FYI: If you get yelled at for speaking English over there, they don’t mean it [laughs]!

Judging from the music scene in Canada now, do you see yourself staying here after graduating?

I really hope to. That’s part of my purpose. I know there are certain work availabilities once you finish a degree [at Purchase], too; that was obviously factored into my decision. I like it here. I want to be here, I want to keep working here, and I’m just hoping to figure out a way to make that happen.

Check out some of Adam’s work by visiting his SoundCloud page.

Adam at work.  Photo by Sibylla Chipaziwa.

Adam at work.
Photo by Sibylla Chipaziwa.


This week, I have made a video featuring Artem Bizimov, an MFA student in Modern Dance who is from Irkutsk, one of the largest cities in Siberia, Russia. He is also a Fulbright Scholar, an instructor of Mantra/Om meditation in the Wellness Center on Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and he is the choreographer of a dance due to be performed at the end of the semester.

I hope you enjoy the video!


Note: PMP will not be updated next week due to Purchase’s spring break. See you March 31!


Photo by Sibylla Chipaziwa.

Photo by Sibylla Chipaziwa.

This week, it’s an audio interview with Olivia Rowe, a Costume Design exchange student from Perth, the capital of the state of Western Australia. This year, she is graduating from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, a part of Edith Cowan University that has an exchange program for Dance Conservatory students at Purchase.

Take a listen to the interview I had with her one mild, winter morning on her year here in a small arts college in upstate New York.


Photo by Sibylla Chipaziwa

Photo by Sibylla Chipaziwa

Another student from China is Yilian Zhao. She is a New Media freshman expecting to graduate in 2017. She was born in the city of Changchun, which means “long spring”, located in Northeast China. Like Milai, she speaks Mandarin and is of Han Chinese ethnicity.

Why did you choose Purchase?
I wanted to study abroad. I also love New York City, and Purchase is close enough. I like the Arts, and I knew that Purchase was an Arts college.

You moved here from Changchun. Do you stay on campus?
My mum stays with me in Queens. I drive to school.
I love Queens, especially Flushing.
Yes, there are a lot of Chinese nationals there.

Since you moved here last year, what have you liked about America?
I don’t know [laughs]. I think it’s totally different from my country. I think America is beautiful.

Is there anything you don’t like?
Parking [laughs]. I always get tickets!

What is your favorite thing about where you were born?
There’s a dish that has Northeastern vegetables called suan tsai (napa cabbage that tastes similar to sauerkraut), it’s traditional to where I’m from. A soup is made with it; it’s delicious.

Suan tsai stewed with pork and cellophane noodles, a Northeast Chinese specialty. From Wikipedia.

Suan tsai stewed with pork and cellophane noodles, a Northeast Chinese specialty. From Wikipedia.

What is one thing you miss about home?
I miss my dad because he is alone.
You’re an only child?
Why didn’t he come with you and your mum?
My dad needed to earn money for my education; he didn’t want to leave his job. My mum cares about me, so she came with me.
I can relate. My dad isn’t here anymore, and my mum and sisters are still here for the time being. I miss him too.

What do you see yourself doing after you graduate?
I love modeling. I’d like to give it a try here, but I think my height is not the standard. I’m still thinking about my plans after graduating.

Do you like Purchase?
Yes. I think this school has a few Chinese students, and I can practice my English. I have a lot of friends studying in bigger universities, and they are always wishing that other Chinese [nationals were around to practice English with each other] and with Americans.


Photo by Sibylla Chipaziwa.

Photo by Sibylla Chipaziwa.

This week I sat down with Milai Liang, a Visual Arts major expecting to graduate in 2017. She was born in Beijing (sometimes called Peking), the capital of the People’s Republic of China.

Why did you decide to come to Purchase?
I studied my senior year of high school here, and my counselor recommended that I apply because I wanted to study an art major, but I didn’t want to go to an art school. I wanted to go to a university that had general courses and a good art program so that I could study other subjects as well.

How did you come to New York?
My cousin lives here. When my parents and I first arrived here, we weren’t familiar with a lot of things, so my cousin helped us, and we live close by in New Rochelle.

What do you like about the U.S. – the culture, the food? Are they any big differences between here and Beijing?
American football is very popular here, but I’m not familiar with it. But I really love soccer in China. When we moved here, soccer is called soccer, not football. It was hard to find someone to talk to about soccer.
Yes, I still find it weird to call football soccer here! Anything else?
I think American food tends to be high in calories. Some of it is really delicious, but we have to restrain ourselves from some of them. Chicken fingers are my favorite.

What’s your favorite food from back home?
I love roasted duck (a.k.a. Peking duck) and… there are so many dishes I like. There’s one called yangrou paomo – “pita bread soaked in lamb soup,” a lamb broth with meat and cut-up steamed leavened bread (pictured below). It’s from the Shaanxi province, located in Northwest China.

Photo from

Photo from

China has 56 ethnic groups. What is your ethnicity?
I am Han Chinese, the largest group (about 92%).

Which Chinese dialect do you speak?
Mandarin, which is the most spoken Chinese dialect.

What do you miss most about Beijing?
I’d have to say the food and my friends.

Where do you see yourself after you graduate?
I think I’ll go study abroad, maybe go somewhere in South America. I’m learning Spanish now.


Photo by Sibylla Chipaziwa

Photo by Sibylla Chipaziwa

Meet Dexter Brierley, another Political Science major who makes films in his spare time. He is a dual citizen of the United Kingdom and the United States, born in London and who graduated from a high school in Brooklyn. His mother, who has Welsh roots, used to live in California with her parents who “wanted to experience the American Dream.” After spending about 12 years there, Dexter’s maternal grandparents moved back to England with their three children who were given American passports as they were born on US soil. Hence, Dexter and his siblings were given US passports as well. When his parents got married some years later, Dexter and his siblings became dual citizens – until that time he was a US citizen living in England for the first 13 years of his life.

Since you have the opportunity to pay local resident fees here and elsewhere, why did you still choose to attend Purchase?
While I was looking around [for colleges], I was at a private school in Brooklyn, and their mentality is “Go check out the liberal arts schools in New England, NYS and Vermont, Massachusetts, etc.” I did that, and ultimately realized that for $60,000, they’re all the same, really. Unless they have a program that’s really spectacular and world-renowned, in my point of view they’re all not worth it. For me, it was more about the experience. Before I was a student here, I visited for a swim meet, and they put us up in some of the dorms for the week. So after visiting all those schools in New England, and none of them really clicked with me, I just thought to apply to the state schools and save a lot of money.

Is another reason because of the fees in the UK?
I’ve been in America for eight years. After three years studying outside of the UK, you become a foreign student [even if you are a UK citizen]. It would have cost me £25,000 (almost $42,000) a year – quite expensive.

Do you see any benefits of being a dual citizen?
I definitely have seen the benefits in that it has allowed me to move freely from the UK to the US. A lot of my family has come here without much problem. In the future, I can live and work here freely, and also in the [European Union] without having to fill out much paperwork or having any trouble with visas. That’s gonna be nice.

Do you have a preference of where you’d rather stay?
Yeah, I’d rather be here.
I grew up here, I feel like I’m more connected to America. I think at this point I’m more American than I am English, really. I have certain nuances – I still drink a lot of tea [chuckles] – but at the end of the day, I think something that I find missing from England is a kind of can-do, positive attitude that I feel you find here on an everyday basis. Whatever you wanna do… you tell someone and they’re like, “Wow, that’s great! If you need any help, just let me know.” In England, I feel like it’s more kind of, “Well, how are you gonna do that? You haven’t got all the pieces in place…” That’s just the sense that I’ve gotten, having gone back recently. There’s just this sense that you can do anything here. In the UK, especially right now, they’re not doing very well economically, and people are really feeling that. I suppose because it’s more of a welfare state. People rely on the government more, and there are all these cuts that they’re making, and more people are [growing] unhappy about that.

Note: While Dexter is not considered an international student, his is a unique story that I and certain  foreigners can relate to. While I have a Zimbabwean passport, I don’t “feel” Zimbabwean – I have not spent more than three years of my life there. I feel more at home where I’ve spent most of my life to date – namely Malaysia and Switzerland.