Jessica Spillane- 1851 Staff
Betty “Xiaomin” Song, 20, is no stranger to Lasell College. Betty gets herself involved wherever she can and loves to make an impression on people. On campus, Betty is a second year RA in East Hall, works for Blue Key Society and loves to participate in Empty Bowls and Relay for Life. Before studying abroad in Switzerland, last semester, Betty was the international representation in Student Government Association. Betty is a Communications major with a concentration in entertainment media.
Q: Where are you from and how often do you go home?
A: I am from Guangzhou, China. I go home during summer and winter breaks. The flight is 16-17 hours. I came to America for the first time for my senior year of high school which was 2015. I moved in with my host family in East Lyme, Connecticut.
Q: Tell me a little bit about your host family.
A: My host family is loco white people. It was like living in a jungle but I loved it. I had a host mom, dad, brother, and sister and two puppies who I love so much. I loved to be able to explore American culture every day. They’re really nice to me, they called me family. My host mom pushed me to be really involved. I joined drama club, track, and marching band, in high school, because of her. She wanted me to enjoy American culture. I hate running but she pushed me to do two 5K’s!
Q: What made you decide to come to America?
A: The high school that I attended offered an exchange program. My mom was the one who convinced me to join it. I was scared to leave the country alone, at such a young age, but she thought it would help me to be independent before college. For my friends that didn’t come before college, it was harder for them to get settled but I was already used to it by then. The high school was called East Lyme High in Connecticut. I stayed after graduation because I made a lot of friends and I enjoyed the culture so I figured why not just stay here?
Q: Xiaomin, who gave you the name, Betty?
A: Betty is a name that my first English teacher gave me. I was six years old and I liked the name so it just stuck with me.
Q: Was is tough changing cultures for the first time?
A: Yeah a little bit. I had major culture shock in high school seeing how people’s relationships worked. Friends would just drive to each other’s houses and they were really close with their friend’s families, they even celebrate holidays together. They have more freedom to do what they want. In China, we’re more traditional. Holidays are spent with family only and friends weren’t really so close with other families. Also how they treated elders was different. In China, the oldest member always started eating first because it was polite. In America, people just started eating as soon as they got food. The city life is really different as well. I lived in a city in China and in America, and East Lyme, to me, is not the same kind of city. It is very small and homey.
Q: Why did you come to Lasell College after high school?
A: My host family wanted me to stay in America so that they can make sure I am okay if I need anything. My host mom had heard about Lasell and said that they were a good school so I did research and applied. I got in and that is when I visited the school. This was the only school I visited in America and I liked the campus and how small it is and how diverse it is so I came here.
Q: I’m sure it is hard for you being away from home for so long. What do you do to make that easier?
A: It was hard in the beginning. I cried all the time because I missed home and my family was there. It’s easier now because my friends are here. My freshman year I celebrated Thanksgiving with my host family or sometimes my friends bring me to their home for holidays. Also, some of my friends here are Chinese so I can talk to them in Chinese. I facetime my mom every day and my grandparents weekly so it’s easier now that it has been four years. Lasell is also very inclusive. The international program celebrates Chinese New Year so I don’t feel homesick. I can go to Chinatown in Boston, they have really good Chinese food. I go to the Chinese market and buy food to cook like at home.
Q: What do you miss most about China?
A: Food! Food and family. Chinese food is really delicious but American Chinese food is different than it is in China. It is still good but it’s not my real food. And of course, I miss my mom because I am an only child. I am really close with my grandparents, too, so it is hard being away from them.
Q: Do you want to stay in America after graduating?
A: Not really. I am thinking about doing the Disney College Program after graduation, stay here for that and then go home. It depends on who I find, though. If my boyfriend is American, I might stay in America but if not I might go home. English is my second language so it will be hard to find a good job with a Communications degree. I could get a good job in China with an American degree. It all depends!