Traveling can be hard, but definitely worth it as it can open up a world of experience. The world is so diverse yet the people you meet can remind you of your best friend. Yunqi Zhu can testify to this as he was born and raised in Shanghai, China, but has now lived in Oregon for the past three years. Although the act of moving across the world seems very intimidating and scary, Yunqi was more than ready to start this chapter in his life.
Along with many other countries in the world, English is taught at a very young age in China. The English language was first introduced to Yunqi as a kindergartener, where he would read Oxford textbooks to study. This continued throughout his life in China, although it had not always been his favorite subject. After graduating from high school, he worked in Shanghai as a teacher’s assistant, which is where his interest in language was sparked. His passion brought him to a university in Shanghai where he studied for two years, but was not meeting his full potential. He was confined to a certain path of education which were concluded from test results. Similar to the SAT or ACT, a person’s score dictated what they would study in school. Yunqi does not work well with strict rules, and can be seen with the bold clothes he wears. Patterned jackets and dyed hair need room to breathe.
After trying out the Chinese system for two years, Yunqi finally took the jump off the cliff and into the arms of the United States of America. What better place to learn about language than America, a country built on immigrants and perpetual diversity. For Yunqi, this was a game changer. He removed himself from an environment where he was not just unhappy, but was aware that he would never be happy unless he acted on it.
China is a huge country that changes from city to city. Yunqi knows this as he has traveled all throughout China within his lifetime. However, it was only three years ago when he first traveled abroad, and he is loving it. Although Corvallis, Oregon is very different from the city where he grew up, Yunqi has thoroughly enjoyed his time here. Originally coming to Oregon because of its reputation of being beautiful, peaceful, and safe; Yunqi states that it has lived up to its expectations. He has made many new friends, improving his English more and more everyday, and continues his language studies by learning Japanese. He says that he should have traveled outside of China earlier in his life, but being as young as twenty-four awaits a lifetime of adventures.