Qianyi Luo says she came to Earlham “looking for a new me.”
“Earlham has really changed me,” she says. “Most Chinese students who want to study in the U.S. are used to the big schools and take it for granted that they should go to a large U.S. university.” Luo, however, searched for an academically challenging liberal arts school in the U.S.
“A liberal arts education is special. It suits me because I wanted to study a lot of different subjects that interest me; I really enjoy this kind of learning,” she says. “I have too many interests, and all of these interests will help shape me to be a better me.”
Luo is considering history and environmental science majors and says Earlham has given her the challenges she was looking for.
“English is my second language, I strive for a high G.P.A. in my academics, and I am an RA (Resident Assistant),” she says. “I really enjoy the pressure because it is the pressure that pushes me forward.”
Thus far, Luo has taken a lot of biology courses.
“One of the reasons Earlham is so strong in biology is because the teaching of biology is so different here,” she says. “We are outside and go to forests and back campus. In China we are all in big cities, and we don’t get to be out in the environment. The environment is a global issue, and I think it would be good if I major in something in the environment so that I could be helpful in the future.”
Studying history, however, may have the strongest pull.
“I love history,” she exclaims. “Everyday is history. We can learn everything from history — how we think, how we act, an how we can become better people.”
Luo was both frightened and excited to leave the comforts of home and family to study in a new country.
In particular Luo notes being surprised by the sky, squirrels and by the church service she occasionally visits with friends.
“The sky at home is never so blue as it is here, and I had never seen a squirrel before,” she says. “Also, a few times my friends and I went to a Christian church near here, and I was surprised and impressed. There was rock music and I never thought going to church would be a rock and roll experience.”
Luo says that after arriving on campus she noted a striking difference in people’s interactions with others.
“I am not very outgoing, which is typical of people back home,” she says. “I tend to be very shy, so it was a bit shocking that so many here are outgoing. I love the people who are outgoing, and I will try to be more like them.”
Becoming an RA has facilitated this transition.
“Being an RA has helped me to become more outgoing,” she says. “I love this job actually — I look at it as a wonderful opportunity to get to know other people.”
Luo says she also appreciates the campus’ international population.
“There are so many international students at Earlham that I don’t feel too unique here,” she explains. “At home I can’t imagine how my life would be now. Here at Earlham everything is broader. I can see the world here at Earlham in this small place.”