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China in the Ozarks: Part Five: Chinese Student's Give Perspective

China sends the most students of any country to study abroad. And many of those students choose to live in America while they study. Missouri State University in Springfield hosts 170 Chinese students each year. As part of our on going series Global Citizenship, KSMU is bringing you a week of in-depth reports about Chinese influences in the Ozarks. We continue our series as KSMU's Emily Nash shares several Chinese student perspectives on what it's like to live and study abroad in the Ozarks.

"Hello my name is Jing Xiohann (JUNG SHOHAN), but most of the people here call me Frankie. I guess it is much more easier."

Frankie graduated from the Missouri State University branch campus at Liaoning Normal University in Dalian, China.

Now she's getting her MBA from the Springfield campus.

"To go to a new country, nation, you need to learn everything, like a baby. You need to learn like, even socially, but because we came from our different culture background, we need to learn from the very beginning."

Jai Hou is also studying abroad at Missouri State in Springfield.

She says she's also had to adjust to life in the Ozarks.

"You know the first thing we encountered when we came here, I realized we feel really lonely you know. We don't have too many good friends around. And so here we can't see many people walking down the street you know we just feel "whoa", It takes a little while for us to adapt to the difference."

But after being here a few semesters, Jai says she's adapting to the differences, and even appreciating some of them.

"Because in China I became a Christian in China, but I didn't grow that much when I was in China. But when I came here, you know I can...there is a better environment for us to grow in our faiths."

Along with religious freedom, Chinese students say they also have more academic freedom here.

Students say they notice more class options that are available.

They also notice the classroom discussions and group work.

Vina Lie Shyue left China to study marketing at Missouri State.

"I want to go out of my country to see and learn something different see the different country the different culture and the different people. And, also another thing is to learn English. I think it is a very big reason."

She says she's well on her way to meeting those goals but says it has not been easy.

"In the class, the professor, some professors talk very fast. We cannot totally understand sometimes so we need to read the whole books by our self in the free time so we spent lots of time to learn than American, but our grade may be not so good as them."

Frankie echoes Vina's concerns and says it usually takes international students twice as long to finish exams and papers compared to native speakers.

"Like for us one thirty minutes long is not enough. While most native speakers they can finish in like fifteen minutes. So studying abroad gives international students a really really hard time. But, this is life, and I think everyone enjoys it even though it is hard."

Frankie says her professors usually help her out as much as they can.

"Most of the professors are really nice. Like they have their office hours and you can talk with them like face to face. When you have a problem and you are afraid you can come by, or send e-mail or call them. And um...most of them can be flexible, but I don't think the really cares about the language, because they are a native speaker, and they feel like all the students are like equal, so they are not going to change the language level."

Vina says the language and culture barriers also sometimes make it hard to participate in group projects with American students.

"You know sometime if I work with some Chinese guy, I can easy to explain my idea. Sometimes not in the language, but in other things. It's also the culture problem. But I hope I can learn English well, and communicate with American well, because different people have different ideas, and we can put ideas together and it would be perfect."

Vina says she hopes the Olympics bring more Americans to China, so they can understand her Chinese culture and language.

" But I hope, because there is Olympic game in China you know? So I think more of American or International, for me it's International students or just some other countries' people, they can know more about China. You look at China from the television world and other things, it's so different. But you can go to China and feel it."

Even though these Chinese students face many challenges studying abroad, Missouri State reports that Chinese students attending the university have a higher GPA average than the typical undergraduate American students.