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.


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