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From China to CTW: Chinese international student expresses love for Nebraska, basketball and Barack Obama
Sam Bates
Antelope Staff
Photo by Sam Bates
Yintian Duan, an international student at UNK from China, says he is glad he chose Kearney over other places he could have gone to college. He chose Kearney for the affordable tuition and the small town atmosphere.
Photo by Sam Bates
A glance into Duans room reveals pictures of home as well as recent ventures to various places in the U.S taped around his room. He resides in CTW as the seventh floor RA and keeps his door open as much as possible to encourage people to stop and chat.

Imagine your first day on campus. What were some of the feelings pulsing through you? Fear? Anxiety? Did you feel like you were alone? Now imagine you’ve lost half of your vocabulary.

Yintian Duan, an international student from the Hunan province in China, can relate to the previous situation. “It was really hard first semester. I forced myself to talk to people and get to know the language,” Duan said.

A couple of years make a big difference. Duan, a junior business administration major with a marketing emphasis, now feels comfortable in the Cornhusker state.

“I feel like it is my second home. I am proud to say that I’m from Nebraska. At night I don’t feel safe (in other places). In Nebraska it is safe,” Duan said.

Life for an international student at UNK is not an easy adjustment. Involvement in campus life helped Duan become accustomed to life in Kearney. As a second year resident advisor, currently in Centennial Towers West, he feels like he is making a difference and also loves the benefits. “It’s really great for work experience and good for business people. I’m kind of a leader, and I can learn how to be a good leader. Plus you get free food and free board.”

The large number of international students on campus is evident to anyone walking around UNK, though they often seem to only accompany only other international students. Duan offers an explanation for this “pack” behavior. He says if he had not become an RA two years ago he would have preferred to stay with those he can relate to also.

“We come from the same background. We communicate. We all have different cultures but [here] it’s almost the same for us. It’s easier to talk about lots of things and joke around.”

Difficult adjustment and cultural differences aside, why would someone want to move from China to CTW of all places? Good question says Duan.

“Kearney is a small town. Nebraska is not famous for international student programs so I thought there would be really few international people here. I wanted to be closer to American culture and to practice English.”

Wait…American culture? To Duan, America has a lot of culture, such as major sports like basketball. He says that in China, basketball stars, like Kobe Bryant, are huge celebrities. “Chinese people are crazier than Americans about NBA,” Duan said.

Duan is a basketball fan also and even started a team at UNK last year. “I was the captain of the Chinese Basketball team and we would practice and have training on Saturday and Thursday. We also played intramurals.”

Since moving to Kearney in January 2007, Duan has had the opportunity to learn about American traditions, such as the election of a president. During last year’s election, he noticed the differences between American and Chinese government.

“The biggest difference is we have only one party, Communism. Democracy is not as good there, especially in that we have no rights to vote. We have a chairman and a few people to represent. Democracy is not really good over there. I paid a lot of attention with Barack Obama. I love politics.”

Over the nearly three-year span of living in America, Duan has gone home to China only once. That was during the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, which, Duan says, were great for his country.

Duan is set to graduate next year and has big plans for his future. “Well in 5 years I will go to a big city like Los Angeles or New York to work and eventually get my masters degree, which requires me to have work experience.

The United States has the best education in the world. That’s why I want to stay over here to work.”


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