International student revisiting birth place


Gary Cheng

Gary Cheng

Nathan Pearson, Staff Writer

Gary Cheng, a freshman from Beijing, is the only student at Wayne State College from mainland China.

Ironically, Cheng was born in Lincoln, Neb., which is one of the reasons he decided to study abroad.

“I wanted to come back to where I was born,” Cheng said. “I also wanted to see something other than China. I wanted to be around another culture while I was in college.”

Cheng’s father was studying at the University of Nebraska when he was born. Cheng moved to Beijing when he was 2 years old and has lived there ever since.

Cheng’s major at WSC is clinical lab research, which was inspired by his father’s career.

“My dad works in a lab and I have spent a lot of time there,” Cheng said. “It is something I have become interested in.”

Cheng says that in terms of people’s interests, the two cultures really are not that different.

“I like to play basketball, soccer, video games and listen to music,” Cheng said. “Basketball is very popular; many people like the NBA.”

Cheng said he doesn’t have a favorite NBA team, but likes to appreciate the skills of players around the league. There are also professional basketball teams in China. Cheng’s favorite team is the Beijing Ducks.

Although sports are popular, much more emphasis is put on school.

“Parents have high standards when it comes to school, and teachers are very strict,” Cheng said. “Our entrance exams are very important. There are much fewer colleges for the amount of people and they are hard to get into. You have to work very hard to get into college.”

Because of all this, Cheng said high school sports really aren’t a big deal.

After the regular school day, students must also attend extra classes where they learn something new, such as a musical instrument or a new language. All students are required to learn English in elementary school.

One of the biggest differences Cheng has had to get used to was all measurements being in English instead of metric, which he said has been confusing. The idea of open farmland for miles around is also something Cheng said is very new and different for him.

Cheng has enjoyed his time here at WSC. Besides class, he has also become active in intramural basketball.

“I like it here a lot,” Cheng said. “The professors are really nice.”

After he graduates from WSC, Cheng doesn’t know what he’ll do for sure, but his career will have something to do with medical research.