Authors publish journal on assimilating in America

By Kennedy Dendy | Broadcast Reporter

Studying abroad is a popular option for students who wish to immerse themselves in a culture different than their own. One Baylor senior and two recent graduates began writing about their study abroad experiences on campus and then made their plans into a publication of their own.

After two years of writing and designing, Esther Zhao, Jinni Tang and Sky Gao published “My U.S. Study Journal,” which is now available to buy in China.

Shanghai, China senior Jinni Tang shared her thoughts on becoming a published author.

“It’s a really interesting process,” Tang said. “When I first heard of this opportunity, I was just really excited that I could share my experiences here as international students to the students who are still trying to apply to schools in the States. It’s been a self-learning process, as well.”

Esther Zhao is from Wenzhou, China and recently graduated from Baylor. She currently works at Baylor International Admissions.

“As a worker at Baylor International Admissions, I really want more students to know, especially from my home country to know how Baylor is a good school,” Zhao said. “Baylor is amazing, and I want to expand the Baylor brand for the future.”

The study abroad journal includes pictures and words combined, with illustrations designed by Chenchen Hu, who also graduated from Baylor. The authors said that their favorite part of their publication is the personal experiences that were shared.

“Personal sharing is my favorite park of the book,” Tang said. “Our book is combined with two different parts. The first one is to teach a student how to apply to school. We will get them information about the documents and files that they need to apply to schools in the States. The second part is our personal experiences on campus, like how to communicate with American students or how to talk with professors and how to actually pay in the supermarkets.”

Tang provided one example of a personal experience included in the book that may help an international student adjust to American culture.

“For example, in H-E-B, you need to swipe the card by yourself,” Tang said. “Actually, back in China, you always hand the card to the cashier and they will swipe in and give you the amount of money. They will never check your name.”

The authors also included the perspectives of a variety of students on campus.

“We separated the chapters, and each of us have a leading role for each chapter that we begin writing,” Tang said. “It’s a team job, because we all have different experiences at Baylor and have a different heart that we want to share. We just write the book together.”

Tang and Zhao explained that applying to school in the United States is very different than what many international students are used to. Tang said her mom encouraged her throughout the process of writing the book.

“We really see a difference in how Baylor is changing and how Baylor is very welcoming for international students,” Tang said.” Both of us have volunteered as CGE ambassadors to help for international students during global orientation week. We have seen that as international students here, we can help the incoming freshmen, equip them to get involved on campus and have a better chance to succeed.”

The authors said they hope that the journal provides international students with the tools to adjust and make the most of their study abroad experiences.

“I really want to serve as a connector for the students on campus here and the students back in China who want to achieve their dream to study abroad,” Tang said.

My U.S. Study Journal can be purchased online or at local bookstores in China.