Dr. Li Reflects On Moving To U.S.

Missy Jones, Guest Contributor • mmjones@ehc.edu

Dr. Xiaoxue Li, a mathematics professor at Emory & Henry College, who is originally from Xi’an China, reflected on her experience coming to the US.

After receiving a scholarship to study for a year, Li attended Lehigh University in Pennsylvania to study mathematics. Li said, “I wasn’t homesick, I was excited.

Li describes her father who was one of her biggest influences. His philosophy was that “children needed to go far away and explore.”

She was also comforted by the Buddhist saying, “Wherever you go, you feel peace even beyond your comfort zone.” Although she doesn’t feel as if she has accomplished this in its entirety, it has still brought her a large amount of comfort.

Li talked about her time at Lehigh University: “I thought I was smart … and in graduate school I learned I wasn’t smart. Smartness was not something I could count on, which is a good lesson that I had to develop other strengths in order to get through.”

Li found her greatest challenge was missing her son.

When she first left for the US, her son stayed behind in China. Li said, “He was with me all the time [before I left].”

Another challenge Li talked about was that she was learning the mathematical concepts in a second language.

“I could not participate in student discussion when they were working together”

After working “like a clock” for two years, Li said her “brain was just different.”

During the rest of her time in graduate school, learning became easier to Li, and she was able to become more focused on whatever she was doing.

Li is excited about continuing her learning and expanding her English. Although, this has proven to be slightly difficult.

Li explains, “If I say something wrong, no one says anything… I don’t want to say the wrong thing a hundred times.”

When talking about E&H, Li said that she “feels home.”

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