Just Visiting

A photo story from the Fences: Faces of Migration Photojournalism Workshop

BInge Yan heads towards the stairs in Herring Hall on October 29, 2015. She lives on the third floor with three other international students from China.

Central Michigan University is a diverse school that includes many different races and ethnicities. Thousands of miles from home, these students strive to acclimate themselves with American culture, work hard in their classes, and keep in touch with family and friends. Some hope to go back, while others hope to stay here. They have each made a bold choice to study so far from home, and their courage and determination are tools that help them navigate the ups and downs of being an international student.

Binge Yan is a junior exchange student from Zhengzhou, Henan, China. Yan is a Graphic Design major taking classes in English writing, grammar, and auditory comprehension. She is the only child in her family and doesn’t have much contact with her parents. Yan explained, “Having too much contact with my family is awkward because I’ve been on my own since my senior year of high school.”

Yukun Wang is a senior from Zhengzhou, Henan, China and is the president of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association. As president, Wang has advised other students to make American friends during their time here. She says, "It is important to not just stay in our own culture. We are in America, and we have to interact with people who are different then ourselves."

Maricruz Patino is a first-generation American studying photojournalism. Her parents crossed the American border from Guanajuato, Mexico in their late teens and early twenties. The first few years of school were difficult because her first language is Spanish. She says, “My parents never were able to help with homework because they didn't understand the language, and any sort of legal document or social event I had to translate for them."

These three students are unique individuals who are sharing a profound experience as they live and learn at Central Michigan University.

Photos and Story by Chelsea Grobelny