By Stephanie He
                                                                      
I came to the United States from China nearly one year ago. In this year, the United States has given me too many surprises. Because of enthusiastic Americans, I can enjoy real American life. By Stephanie He
                                                                      
I came to the United States from China nearly one year ago. In this year, the United States has given me too many surprises. Because of enthusiastic Americans, I can enjoy real American life.

Before I thought America is a multi-racial nation, so Americans have weak relationships between people. But when I came here, I found Americans are completely different than what I imagined. The United States is a warm country. It is my first exposure outside my home country. I was beginning to miss my home and I was feeling lonely and disconnected. Walking along the street, I can see some stranger smile at me, and some people say “how are you” to me. I am so surprised, because in China, if I smiled at some people who I do not know, maybe they think I am crazy. Americans left a very pleasant impression on me. Especially when I go to the markets to buy anything, every worker says “how are you”. American enthusiasm communicated itself to me, and it solved this feeling of loneliness.    
 
Although the Americans are enthusiastic, Americans are quietly talking in whispers in the public places, for fear of disturbing others. Also Americans are very gentle. When the Americans open the door, and they see somebody behind, no matter how far, he would stand there, hold open the door, and when I pass, he will give me a smile. On the road with pedestrians, cars always stop and let pedestrians go first.
 
I am very surprised about American students having strong independent thought. When I communicated with them, most American students are more independent than I thought. One of my friends, Lindsay, she told me: "I'm busy; I want school to give me a scholarship, so I can save money. Because of that, I should work hard to achieve my success. I attended the school volleyball team to train every day, twice a week and also outside the school competition. To earn extra money, I was responsible for cutting the lawn at home, car cleaning, garage cleaning, plate cleaning, waste separation, for which my father gave me 10 dollars a week. I work every Sunday for the fast food wage, work 8 hours, making 6 dollars an hour. I earn to pay for gas; my car takes about 22 dollars per week for gasoline." She is 19 years old. In the United States, over 18 years of age is considered adult. In China, it is hard do these things for 19-year-old children. I admire them for their independence. Every American student has to bear the responsibility, and they are proud to be able to take responsibility.
 
Where there is a dream, there is surprise. America gave me a surprise, and she also gave me a dream.
 
Editor’s Note: Stephanie (Yan) He is currently a graduate student attending the Intensive English Center at St. Cloud State University. She graduated from Changsha University of Science & Technology (PRC) in 2009 with a degree in Economics but has a great interest in mass communication. Stephanie has agreed to be a regular contributor to CHINAINSIGHT and will periodically submit articles on her experiences as a student from China attending a U.S. university. Stephanie may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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CHINAINSIGHT (CI) is published monthly ((except July/August and November/December are combined) by China Insight, Inc., an independent, privately owned company started in 2001 and headquartered in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota.

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