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.
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.