Tina Chen '16
Tell us about yourself.
I am what they simply call an “ABC” which is an acronym for “American born Chinese." I was born in New York but raised in China during the first few years of my childhood. My parents owned a restaurant so that was where I grew up, but I was able to use it to my advantage by meeting people from all different kinds of backgrounds. This made me interested in learning more about the world outside the restaurant, home, and school. I am currently secretary of ONE at VCU which is a national non-profit organization working towards decreasing the amount of poverty, preventable diseases, etc. I am also treasurer of a club just starting on campus that teaches its members the cultural performance of Chinese lion-dancing.
What is it like to be in VCU Globe?
VCU Globe gives its students the opportunity to interact and live with more international students than they normally would. It makes it easy for us to meet them since we live together in the same building. The building is nicely organized so that all the Globe students are on one floor and still living with international students. There are many study rooms and movie rooms scattered throughout West Grace North giving its tenants places to hang out or study instead of having to leave the building during exam weeks.
The classes aren’t difficult and don’t take up much of your time. They meet only once a week, each class lasts no more than an hour and fifteen minutes. In class, students all talk about their different perspectives on multiple global subjects and concepts, such as engagement, ethnocentrism, and cultural norms. We also discuss the differences between specific cultures.
What is a unique experience you have had participating in the program?
Making friends with international students is inevitable. Many students on the Globe floor are still in contact with international students that already left for home. Last semester, I wasn’t able to get a conversation partner, but luckily I became very good friends with a Korean girl. We got together a lot to make food, hang out, or just to keep each other company while doing school work. Many times she would ask for help with her assignments or to check her grammar.
During fall break she came to my home to a non-traditional Thanksgiving. My family doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but she didn’t mind because she had already celebrated it with her conversation partner’s family. I took her to see the Battleship Wisconsin and the Nauticus Maritime Museum, but the main reason she came to my hometown was because of the beach.
What would you say to a student who is thinking about applying to the program?
If you are joining Globe, don’t be shy to come out and say hello to the other students. That’s the main purpose of the program from my perspective, to interact with different students. Don’t be surprised when you start crying at the farewell parties for the international students. They will not be replaced, but there will always be more to come.