By Elise Crosley | Reporter
Pamela Wei arrived at Baylor knowing no one but slowly made friends over time through her church and other events. Wei is a Baylor graduate student and part of the five-year accounting program that allows her to graduate with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. She is also minoring in German and Music.
“When you see an international student at an event, they already went out of their comfort zone to be there. Recognize that.” Wei said. That person has already made their effort to be there. It’s already hard for them. If you’re willing to, go out of your way to talk to them.”
Born in Japan, her parents hoped to keep up her Japanese culture when they moved to Shanghai when she was 3-years-old. However, she became much more immersed in Chinese culture. She’s fluent in Mandarin and English, as well as conversational in German. She only remembers a little Japanese.
“My childhood was actually a lot different than the majority of Chinese students because there’s this universal Asian parent pressure on their kids expectation-wise,” Wei said. My dad has been very liberal on that regard. All he cared about was if I was having fun and if I was happy, so that’s really cute. My mom made me play the piano and do my homework on time. It was a good balance between them.”
Wei said her mother hoped she would attend a Chinese college, but Wei had another idea in mind. She wanted to study abroad to pursue her passion in music. Her parents told her they wouldn’t pay for her college if she went out of China. Wei applied to 18 colleges in the United States, but Baylor offered the most scholarships.
Although scholarships were given, she did not receive a full ride like she had hoped. When she went back to tell her parents, her mother replied, “We love you. We saw how hard you worked, so we’re going to support you.”
Wei discovered that making friends is a bit different in every place. She realized the diverse social culture between China and America.
“It’s really easy to make friends real fast [in America],” Wei said. “You go to an event and suddenly you have 10 more friends. When you first make them, it’s really easy to have a conversation with them. At the moment, you feel like you’re going to be friends with them for the next four years, but then you never talk to them again. That’s really sad. In China, you don’t make friends that quickly, but once you do, they’re long-lasting.”
Wei’s friend, fellow classmate, and Taiwan graduate Jamie Wong, spoke of her and her impact on others.
“Pamela is full of joy and passion. She has a bright, bubbly personality that draws people into easy, genuine friendship. She celebrates people so well and makes them feel loved. Pamela deeply loves Jesus and, as a result, is quick to extend a hand and serve those around her,” Wong said.
While Baylor provided many resources for Wei’s transition from Shanghai to Waco, she said the biggest impact on her college years was her relationship with Jesus and wants every international student to experience the same relationship.
“Very few Chinese students have heard of Jesus before they came here, so please talk to them about it. You could very well be the first person who has ever had that conversation with them.”