Leaving home or a homecoming?
By Josephine McLaughlin
For many incoming college students, picking a college that is any distance that’s over 2 hours away from home is a thought-out decision.
One has to factor in how homesick they may get. Consider if they think they can be okay being far away from home.
It is not uncommon for a new college student to have a hard time saying goodbye to their parents when they go to college. In most cases, a students home is just a few hours or a short plane ride away.
For Kevin Lin, that is not the case. Many complain about the struggles of going to school out of state. Try dealing with going to school out of the country!
Kevin Lin, a freshman at Wheaton College is from a place towards the south of Taiwan, called Kaohsiung, a place in which he describes as “very rural with some city-like areas.” Lin heard about Wheaton College through one of his teachers at school. One of the teacher’s sons had attended. Going to college out of the country was not a new concept to Lin or his family. He has two older siblings, one at Liberty and one at Duke.
Once Lin’s decision to go to Wheaton was set, he explained that “my school in Taiwan actually gave me a crash course to help when it came to interacting with this new culture.”
Based on interactions with Lin, one may say the course was very successful. He seems very adjusted to American tendencies. For example, when the interview started, he responded to my “hello” with a “sup.” A very typical American male response.
As the interview continued, it turned out that his teacher wasn’t his only connection to his interest in going to school in Illinois. There was also a family connection. Not only do his grandparents still live here, but both his parents are from the US. Kevin Lin was actually born in Chicago. Although he was born here, his family moved to Taiwan when he was one year old. They moved to Taiwan because his Dad “felt a call to ministry there.” His parents are both missionaries there now.
Because his grandparents have always lived here, this fall was not his first time visiting Illinois since he left here when he was one. He has visited a few times to see his family. Since he had been here a few times and has the comfort of knowing his grandparents are near, it seems that the transition hasn’t been too difficult for Lin. As much as he enjoys the city environment Illinois offers, he does have hopes to “go back to Taiwan for the summer if he can find a job there.” This shows that Taiwan does seem to still have his heart, but he also has a realistic mindset.
When asked what his plans were for the holidays, Kevin Lin “plans to be with his grandparents downtown Chicago.” Which sounds like the next best thing to being at home with his parents no? Kevin Lin seems to have the ideal set up for a student that is from out of the country. While it must be hard being away from his parents, he still has the close comfort of his grandparents. He gets the best of both worlds, a Taiwan upbringing, with sprinkles of visits to the U.S., which is then continued more as he comes here for college.
To once more prove that Kevin Lin is a well balanced international student, when he was asked what his favorite food was here, the response was “I love meatball sandwiches.”
His parents can rest easy, Kevin Lin is more than well adjusted. However, would it even be considered an adjustment?
Or just his becoming familiarized with his second home? Illinois, a new yet familiar place. A place where Kevin Lin was born, his parents were raised, and his where his grandparents remain.