international student spotlight

Xiaoxiao Lu '16

Canton (Guangzhou), China
Undeclared Major

What made you want to study in the U.S.?

I knew I wanted to study in the States since high school. The thought of learning about my own culture and the rest of the world through a completely different set of lenses really intrigued me.

How did you hear about Colby-Sawyer?

I first learned about Colby-Sawyer through a forum called “Chinese Undergraduates in the United States.” The forum had active students who were studying at Colby-Sawyer at that time, and they had written intros about the college, which got me really interested. I also used to learn more about Colby-Sawyer.

Why did you choose Colby-Sawyer?

Colby-Sawyer is everything that I am not familiar with. There are so many new things for me to experience here! I absolutely love Mountain Day! And honestly, tie-dye T-shirts don't really exist in China! I come from Southern China, and snow had never been a big part of my life, but now I absolutely love it! The picture above was taken when I first learned to ski and I ended up skiing all the way down the mountain from the highest trail! Colby-Sawyer is such a small and tight-knit community compared to my high school (which was twice the size of CSC!)—I am really enjoying the fresh experiences I am getting here at Colby-Sawyer, and I am really glad that I took the chance to come to a school that was completely different from what my comfort zone had been like.

What is something that surprised you about campus once you were a student?

I was amazed at the fact that the professors would actually get to know you! And they are such amazing and wonderful intellectual people that I can talk to them about anything! I have gone to them for various things, sometimes to just talk about an experience that I wanted to share. They are really open minded and really care about you and want you to have the best experience here possible.

Where's your favorite place to visit in town?

I love Pleasant Lake. What can be better than a relaxing afternoon doing homework while enjoying the gorgeous scenery?

What is one thing you want an international student to know about campus life?

Do not be afraid to mingle. Everyone is so friendly and so accepting that the only way to be lonely here is if you shut yourself out...

What has been your most memorable experience at Colby-Sawyer?

To have successfully planned and held the Lunar Chinese New Year Celebration and have about 200 people celebrating with us. It meant a lot to me, to be able to hold a large, formal and fun celebration for the most important holiday for the Chinese, Vietnamese, and people from all other Asian cultures that celebrate it. (It is as important to us as Thanksgiving is to Americans). I am most grateful and happy for the support that I have received here on campus.

What has been the biggest challenge so far?

I have been constantly readjusting the set of lenses - my perspectives and views - that I look through when talking about cultural and political issues. Though it is hard for me to acknowledge it, but having lived in China for so long, I admit that I do see things sort of one-sided without realizing it. So having taken a good number of political science and history classes here, I have learned about some "Western views", and have been constantly breaking down my old mindsets while trying to establish new ones through rigorous research and seeing new perspectives. So far, I still don't think I am quite there yet. The growth and the new perspectives I'm gaining will continue to challenge my views and perspectives while studying here in the US, but I am happy to be going through such a process in the first place so I can learn all different angles to a situation and form my own ideas.