A Freshman Year, Far From Home

Last fall 1,000 Chinese students arrived at Michigan State. Here are the stories of three of them.

A Freshman Year, Far From Home 1

Romain Blanquart for The Chronicle

Mengshi Zhao, 20, came from Zhengzhou, China, to study finance at Michigan State U. During winter break, he sent himself postcards on a train trip through the middle of the country.

When Mengshi Zhao arrived at Michigan State University last summer, it took some getting used to.

The grassy vistas of the upper Midwest were different from China's congested cityscapes. He had free time to fill, unlike his regimented high-school days, when he was roused before dawn and mandatory study sessions lasted late into the night. And American food—it wasn't so tasty, he thought.

But one thing was the same: All around him were Chinese