Yingqing Lai (Class of 2019)

photo of Yingqing LaiYingqing Lai, a student from Shenzhen, China, had her sights set on the Farmer School of Business at Miami University while she was looking at universities in high school.

"I am from a big city, so I wanted to stay in a small place," Lai explains. "I am surprised at how small it is."

While Farmer was the initial draw to Miami University for Lai, she also loves that Oxford is a small city and that it snows here! Prior to coming to America, Lai had never seen snow and wanted to attend a school that has both good academics and snow.

"At the beginning of my time here, I knew I wanted to be in FSB, so they gave me a plan and I was able to know what are my strengths and my weaknesses," Lai explains of her plan to success. "I did a lot of research and kept to the plan."

Now, in her junior year in Farmer School of Business, Lai admits she did not declare her accounting major until her sophomore year at Miami.

"The people are so nice, especially the professors," Lai smiles. "I had a lot of problems when I was a freshman and they gave me a lot of support when I really needed to talk. They were very willing to talk to me, especially in class."

Beyond the classroom, Lai has been involved in connecting with students, both domestic and international, at Miami.

"I am very outgoing, I will talk to anyone," Lai says of a trait that has helped her succeed. "If I don't like something I will just tell them, or ask them 'why?' It is not hard for me. I remember, when I first came here I would just knock on people's doors."

Lai says that she has not let being an international student hold her back from making friends from all countries and backgrounds.

"My sophomore year I got an American roommate, she was so good," Lai says of her favorite experience at Miami. "We were very close, I spent a lot of holidays with her and her family. She is from Ohio so I went home with her for Thanksgiving and Easter."

Lai admits that most international students room with other international students, but she believes having a domestic roommate broadened her horizons at Miami and in America.

"Last semester I was a part of the global buddy system," Lai says. "My buddy was American but she was adopted from Vietnam."

This year, Lai has been selected to be a Peer Advocate and Student Success (PASS) mentor. Pass mentors help first-year students succeed at Miami by offering advice in navigating resources and classes.

"This semester I am a [Peer Advocate and Student Success] PASS mentor, I start next week," Lai says excitedly of the opportunity. "So, I work with domestic students and we hold office hours to welcome anyone who has questions to help them."

While Lai has made many friends at Miami, she admits that she does not plan to stay in America after she finishes school at Miami.

"I'm not from here, so this is just a lot of experience for me," Lai explains. "The best experience I have gained so far is the culture difference. Now I know how people's personalities differ from us. Before I came here I didn't get to know people and I didn't know why the Western culture and why the Asian culture are different, but I get it now.

While Lai loves Farmer School of Business and the people she has met, she credits the American Culture and English Program as her favorite part about her experience at Miami.

"The ACE program definitely helped me improve my English and learn about American culture," Lai says. "Also, Carol [the director of the ACE program], is the most important person to me here at Miami."

The professors, the ACE program, and the other students have all helped Lai feel comfortable and acclimated at Miami. However, Lai has said that being an outgoing person and outspoken has also helped her succeed.

"Don't be afraid to ask questions," Lai says to incoming international students. "Don't stress out, people will always be willing to help you, you just need to speak out. Time management is very important in college, that is a key point, if you don’t plan for everything you will get lost, especially for freshmen, it is very easy to get lost and give up."

[by Katy O'Neill, January 2019]