Chinese student finds Portales friendly

Editor’s note: This is the first in a weekly series about Portales transplants.

 By Eric Norwood Jr.

PNT staff writer

enorwood@pntonline.com

Every year, new people move to Portales from all over in hopes of attaining a degree, or due to them serving their country, or even for work.

Meiqi Zhao, 20, who goes by the name Acelin, is one of those students. Her voyage to Portales came to life last year while she was a music student in her native China. After a year of attending Sichuan Conservatory of Music in Chengdu, Sichuan, China, she decided to transfer to America.

Eric Norwood Jr.; Portales News-Tribune Meiqi Zhao, 20, who goes by the name Acelin, works at the office of San Juan Village on the campus of Eastern New Mexico University. Acelin is a transfer student from China who has been living in Portales for a year. She also works as a resident assistant on campus.

Eric Norwood Jr.; Portales News-Tribune
Meiqi Zhao, 20, who goes by the name Acelin, works at the office of San Juan Village on the campus of Eastern New Mexico University. Acelin is a transfer student from China who has been living in Portales for a year. She also works as a resident assistant on campus.

“Sichuan is the province and Chengdu is the city. Chengdu is the sixth or seventh biggest city in China,” said Zhao.

Zhao said when she first came to Portales for school in August 2012, it was her first time in America.

“I departed from Shanghai, which is my favorite city by the way,” said Zhao.

Most parents would be nervous allowing their only child to move away to another country for school. But Zhao said there was no crying when she left the airport.

“My parents were there keeping me company. We were not crying at all, and no one was sad. My parents said, ‘Good luck, bye.’ They think I am strong enough to live by myself,” Zhao said.

A 20-hour flight later, and Zhao landed in San Francisco.

“My first thought was, ‘The air is so fresh,’” said Zhao.

Zhao was picked up from the Lubbock airport by an American student.

“I don’t remember his name, but he played music in his car really loud,” she said.

Zhao has now had a year to get adjusted to American college life. She lives inan apartment on campus and also works as a resident assistant. She also works at the KENW station on campus, where she is the floor director for the student news.

“My major is broadcast production. I want to study journalism in graduate school,” said Zhao.

Zhao said the biggest difference from college in China and college in America is the degree plans.

“In China, if you and I have the same major for example, we take all the same classes. In America, the degree plan is individualized,” said Zhao.

Zhao has visited many America cities since she has been here.

Her favorite place in America?

“Times Square. It’s so amazing,” she said excitedly.

What does Zhao like about Portales?

“Americans are friendly. If I’m walking down the street people smile at me. That was one of the first thing I noticed.”

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