From China to Cornell
Professor Cheng and all people in the lab were so kind. They explained principles, taught us procedures, and answered every single question we had.
Describe a typical day for you on the Cornell campus.
I went to Cornell as a summer intern with nine other students from Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University who were in the program, where we were assigned to a laboratory. A student named Tianrun Li and I were assigned to Professor Lailiang Cheng's laboratory; we went to lab together every weekday morning. We usually assisted scientists and post-doctors with experiments, varying from picking apple leaves and grinding them to analyze physicochemical properties of these samples.
Professor Cheng and all people in the lab were so kind that they explained principles, taught us procedures, and answered every single little question we had. We gained professional skills, certainly. We also liked chatting when we cleaned and cut apples, and I learned the most popular restaurants in Ithaca and everyone's weekends plan. It was amazing for me to find the details of experiment methods and culture differences through the conversations and experiments in the lab.
What was something surprising that you saw, learned, or experienced at Cornell?
It must be the party held by a professor of horticulture. The party was in the backyard of the professor's house. Almost all the faculty in Horticulture and their families were invited—while the host prepared abundant delicious food and drink, guests also brought various dishes. People ate, drink, chatted, laughed, swam in the pool, played volleyball or other games, and we even exploded fireworks. Sun was setting, torches were burning, children were playing all around. We students were all like children, the air was full of laughter and the atmosphere was so relaxing. I have never been to parties like this in China, as the relationships between faculty and students are never so close. Even now, I can still recall the scene that day.
What’s one of the best things you experienced at Cornell?
Definitely the Falling Water Sampler that I attended on July 18. It was the most wonderful chamber music I had ever taken in. The folk the musicians played was so euphonious, and the passion and enthusiasm of the musicians affected everyone. Their love of music was told by the music as well as their words. It was so fascinating to see a group of excellent musicians sit together, sharing their favorite songs and the stories behind them.
How do you expect your Cornell experience will affect your future?
It is hard to say whether the experience itself will impact my future education or not, though I do believe it can partly prove my capability. The more important things I gained are what I saw and heard in Cornell. The one-month summer experience strengthens my determination to study abroad, while also helping me to face the tasks I must clear.
What advice would you give other international students who are thinking about studying at Cornell?
Just one sentence: Feel free to ask for help and try to build a relationship with the new environment.