Eddy Interview with Mengjiao Huang

Mengjiao Huang
Mengjiao Huang

Interview by Lily Davidson, Art Education Major
with Mengjiao Huang, Visual Arts Major
September 21

I interviewed my classmate Mengjiao Huang, who also goes by Fiona. She is an international exchange student from China who is studying jewelry design here at New Paltz in the state of New York.  

What personal journey brought you to your current role… or in other words, How are you doing at SUNY New Paltz? 

Mengjiao came to New York for her major, which is Jewelry Design. She wanted to study at the school because it is very good for that major and is affordable here. She had to travel a long distance to get here, battling issues with things like language barriers and being away from what she grew up with and having comforting surroundings. Everyone takes things like that for granted, waking up with people you have known for a long time, going to classes with friends you have had for a while, knowing your surroundings you are used to. That is something she had to put aside to come here and study. 

What issues or challenges are you confronted with? 

Mengjiao struggles with a language barrier, being a transfer student from China, coming to America can be difficult. English is not her first language and sometimes people are not always the most patient with things like language barriers. Not only that, but she also struggles with things like stated before with being away from what she grew up in and was comfortable to her.  

What are your most important sources of success and change? 

She does not feel much success just yet, only being challenged for a bit of time… but Mengjiao says she feels a sense of growth. She told me that by going away to school here in New York, that she feels much more independent, regardless of the challenge and change of missing and not being able to visit home. She tells me that she does not enjoy living on campus all too much.  

If you personally could improve our school, what would you do to do so? 

Being from an area with different foods, Mengjiao says that she would like a food change. She states that she does not know many of these foods, and though she is trying new things, as part of the experience of being a transfer student, she wishes that there was still a little more difference, like, for example, more spicy foods that are familiar to her. She says that the campus is so large as well, and it is confusing to get around. Mengjiao also says that her knowledge of clubs here is very little and it would be nice to be involved, but does not know where to start, per say. 

Being an international student, how has COVID-19 affected you? How has traveling affected you? 

Already afraid of flying as is, Mengjiao had to overcome this fear in order to get to America, coming from China. She has her family who is also worried about her, as they are all overseas and wanted her to not go. She reminded them that she came because of China’s lack of art schools with jewelry design in comparison to here, as she stated in the interview. She told me that there is less of a positive energy there than there is presented here in the United States.  

She also mentioned that the school here is dealing with COVID-19 pretty well, as it was a fear of hers. She mentions the mask rules in the interview and states that she likes how safe everyone is about it.  

She also told me that she went to New York City for the first time ever, and that many people there did not wear masks. Mengjiao reports that it was very chaotic and a very busy place to be. She said she had fun, but remembers how chaotic it was during a time of pandemic.  

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