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A Taste of Home

Two international students celebrate Chinese New Year

by Published: Feb 17, 2011

Two Chinese Ferris State inter­na­tional stu­dents were given a taste of home at FLITE’s Chinese New Year Celebration on Feb. 10.

Ferris mar­ket­ing major Xiao Gun Zhang, and biol­ogy major Xiaohua Li, were among a mixed crowd of local and inter­na­tional stu­dents enjoy­ing Chinese cul­ture in Big Rapids.

“This year I’m sur­prised to have a Chinese New Year cel­e­bra­tion. It’s good for the other cul­tures to learn more about China’s cul­ture,” said Li.

A native of Zhengzhou, China, Li has been in America for nearly two years. Li said her par­ents encour­aged her to come to America to pur­sue her edu­ca­tion. She said she was really excited to come to America and study abroad.

“I wanted to study abroad,” said Li. “America has a good edu­ca­tion and Ferris’ phar­macy pro­gram is bet­ter than other schools’.”

Among the foods served at the cel­e­bra­tion were crab ran­goons and Chinese dumplings called Jiaozi. Li said enjoy­ing the food at the Chinese New Year Celebration reminded her of how much she misses being in Zhengzhou.

“I miss my fam­ily and my friends so much,” said Li. “Big Rapids is a small town, but my home­town is a big city. I have a lot of fun being there.”

Chinese New Year, often referred to as Chinese Lunar New Year, is one of the most impor­tant Chinese hol­i­days. It can be cel­e­brated for up to 15 days with each day acknowl­edg­ing a dif­fer­ent aspect of Chinese cul­ture. This year, Chinese Lunar New Year started Feb. 3.

Traditional Chinese Lunar New Year foods include steamed wheat bread, rice pud­ding and a veg­e­tar­ian dish called jai com­posed of lotus seed and Ginkgo nut. These are just a few of the foods Gun Zhang enjoys in his home­town of Beijing.

Enjoying his first two months in America, Gun Zhang cel­e­brated last Chinese New Year in Dubai. Gun Zhang said cel­e­brat­ing with Ferris stu­dents has allowed him to expe­ri­ence dif­fer­ent cultures.

“It’s good,” said Gun Zhang. “There are other Chinese cul­tures and dif­fer­ent stu­dents here.”

Gun Zhang said cel­e­brat­ing Chinese New Year in Beijing is a great experience.

“Beijing is a big inter­na­tional city. There are very tra­di­tional build­ings there,” said Gun Zhang. “We enjoy dumplings and a lot of fire­works. Older peo­ple also give younger peo­ple money.”

Gun Zhang said much of the oils and sauces of American Chinese foods dif­fer from tra­di­tional Chinese foods. Still, Gun Zhang said he appre­ci­ates spend­ing time cel­e­brat­ing his Chinese culture.

“It’s good to cel­e­brate our Chinese roots,” said Gun Zhang.

Both Li and Gun Zhang said they plan to be at Ferris for the next cou­ple years. Gun Zhang said once he grad­u­ates, he plans to return to Dubai and work for his father’s pip­ing company.

The Chinese New Year cel­e­bra­tion was held by the Office of International Education in FLITE 404. n