Jiahua (Holly) Huang ’12

By STEPHANIE WEISS

Holly is a regular Minnesotan

In the 12 months Jiahua Huang was in the United States, she became a typical Minnesotan. Holly, as she prefers to be known in the U.S., liked the Minnesota State Fair and shopped at the Mall of America. And she got sick of snow.

Huang, a student at United International College (UIC) in China, came to the U.S. to study education at Augsburg College.She learned about the college through an Auggie studying abroad at UIC. She wanted to learn about the United States’ culture and improve her English skills, and she was attracted to Augsburg because of its location.

“It’s better for me to live in a city,” said Huang, who comes from a city of 1.6 million people. “Friends who went to [rural private colleges] said they were bored. But, when I got here, I asked where all the people were. I went to the State Fair, and I liked it a lot—all the people.”

Huang was raised near Hong Kong. She has two older sisters and an older brother. Many families in China have only one child, but some are able to afford more children.

“My parents wanted another boy, but got another girl,” she said. “Many friends would think from my name that I am a boy because my name means ‘handsome’.”

Huang struggled with classes at first. “English is so hard,” she said. “I would listen to the professor, and I didn’t know what he was talking about. I would read the textbook, and I didn’t know what I was reading.”

She also worked hard to become comfortable with cultural differences in the classroom.

“In China, you raise your hand and stand up to participate,” she said. “Here, all the students talk. I wish I were more confident in class—I feel comfortable talking, but it also feels like I am being impolite.”

Despite growing tired of the snow, Huang said she would like to return to Minnesota. She wants to go to graduate school at the University of Minnesota and teach Chinese while staying connected with her new friends in Minnesota.

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