Student profile: international student Jiali Chen reflects on her life in America


Mercer University Chinese foreign exchange student and blogger Jiali Chen makes her way around campus during her first semester with hopes to be a journalist someday.

Ireal James

Mercer University Chinese foreign exchange student and blogger Jiali Chen makes her way around campus during her first semester with hopes to be a journalist someday.

Ireal James, Contributing Writer

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Moving away from your hometown and onto a college campus is not always the simplest task, and this process has been monumental in the life of Jiali Chen.

Chen, 19, is a soft spoken and witty personality from Quanzhou, China. This is Chen’s first semester at Mercer, where she is an international student majoring in Journalism.

While Chen would like to be a journalist someday, bridging the gap between Chinese and English prove to be difficult for her every now and then.

“In my classes, sometimes I have some problems with language, but the students and teachers are really patient with me,” Chen said. “They will listen to me… explaining what I’m thinking about and they’ll try to understand the different (cultural) background and they won’t judge me because (of) our different opinions.”

However, as the first female born to two Chinese citizens, she was not always accepted at home.

My grandma was really disappointed that I turned out to be a girl, but later on when I started to learn the languages and I started to talk, she found out I can memorize things quickly, and that’s how she changed her view on me,” ”

— Jiali Chen, 19

“My grandma was really disappointed that I turned out to be a girl, but later on when I started to learn the languages and I started to talk, she found out I can memorize things quickly, and that’s how she changed her view on me,” Chen said.

While gender roles in China have become more equal between men and women in recent years, there are still many cultural aspects in which the Communistic country favors men.

“In some rural areas girls are not as desired as boys… (because) boys are the ones who carry the family name,” Chen said.

Although Chen’s mother did not want her to go to the United States to attend school at first, it was Chen’s father’s idea for her to move to the U.S.

Chen currently hosts a blog on the Chinese social media giant Qzone.

“I started (writing my blog) when I entered middle school and the reason why is that… I started to watch movies with my friends and after the movie… they found my arguments really interesting,” she said.

The blog consists of Chen’s own movie reviews, book reviews and photography.

Chen often posts photos of Macon’s scenery in order to provide her viewers a sense of what life is like in the U.S.

Chen often writes for the blog in her dorm, though she sometimes rides her bike to write in one of the restaurants in downtown Macon for a change of scenery.

“I am not really a sociable person, I like to be alone,” said Chen. “If I am creating something, I like to be in a room by myself because (I) can feel (I am) expanding (my) imagination.”

 

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