profiles of AMS students:
The Global Stride program
allows to apply their stipends toward
study-abroad costs or intensive language programs. As part
of the Global Stride scholarship, the fellows interviewed
and profiled international students in the college’s
graduate program in American Studies, to help familiarize
them with people who have made cultural transitions.
The Gate is publishing
their profiles in an occasional series.
By Chelsea Orefice '16,
Global Stride Fellow
Xingpeng Wang GR,
of China, American Studies Diploma program
For Xingpeng Wang, arriving
in America last August was a culture shock.
Her first time
traveling outside of China, Xingpeng was anxious to see America.
The only Chinese student in Smith’s one-year American Studies
(AMS) Diploma Program, her trip to campus was much longer
than that of her fellow American Studies candidates, from
Europe. Not only did she fly from China, but had to travel
far by land from her hometown near China’s Tibetan border
before boarding a flight.
For Xingpeng, the journey allowed
had been worth it, for the opportunities it provides of living
in another country and experiencing a new education system.
Xingpeng’s home, thousands of miles removed from the bustling
cities of Hong Kong and Beijing, is very different from those
“Depending on where you live in China, you could receive a poor or a really good
education,” notes Xingpeng, who studied in Beijing. In the major cities there
is constant education reform, she explains, and more students are admitted to
universities if they live in cities such as Beijing. However, the school system
in her area never received much attention for reform, and policies have remained
the same for decades.
Xingpeng is candid about China’s attempts to become democratic
while still holding on to old policies. The government still censors the Internet,
she says, and authorities are exclusive about which search engines and social
network platforms may operate in China.
So when she came to Smith, it
was the first time she could access Facebook and build her
Xingpeng has hope that China
will become a true democracy some day, and that the government
will listen more to the people. Her goal is to be a literary
translator so that she can translate texts into her language
and educate those around her who are interested in politics
and want reform in the country.
She has read some works by
Chinese novelist Mo Yan, who became the first Chinese citizen
to win the Nobel Prize in literature, in 2012.
“He is one of those famous writers in modern China whose books are interesting,” comments
Xingpeng. “I enjoy his vivid description of historic or real-life stories. His
language is simple but not tedious. The plots are absorbing and tight-knit.”
She appreciates the recognition
of Chinese literature by the rest of the world, Xingpeng
After completing her American
Studies certificate, Xingpeng is not sure what her future
holds, or where she will live.
One thing she knows for sure:
she has so far enjoyed her year at Smith and will hope to
visit the United States again some day.