Yuxin "Elizabeth" Chen
What is your favorite campus tradition?
I love the Thanksgiving Dinner Notre Dame gives every year. It's during the break so not a lot of students are on campus, but it seems as if the rest of South Bend is here sharing the meal. I have never had similar events back home, and this is when it feels like the whole city is brought together. And of course the food is the greatest on that day.
What is your favorite spot on campus?
I used to love taking a nap in the Debart lounge though I'm not sure if they are still open from this year on. It takes a great deal to get through a whole day of classes and it's nice to see people piling up on the bean bags feeling the same. It stopped being my favorite when I broke my glasses when napping last year.
What is your best Notre Dame memory?
Going to my first formal with my best friend, and finding out it's not what I expected at all.
What is your favorite Dining Hall Meal?
DEFINITELY NDH. Dumplings once in quite a while, and Spring Festival Dinner in February, thanks to our beloved Taiwan cook.
What is your favorite thing about dorm life?
Having wonderful RAs and kindest rectors. Missed them the most when I moved off-campus and had to fix everything on my own.
What clubs/activities are you involved in?
Chinese Students & Scholars Association (CSSA), Student Union Board (SUB), Student International Business Council (SIBC)
What made you choose Notre Dame?
Greatest motive was the kindest and thickest welcome kit I have ever received. The hand-written postcard, the welcome brochure, a clumsy but sweetest Chinese note by someone I couldn't remember, and the kindest phone call only to be picked up by my dad and end in bewilderment.
What is your favorite part about being an international student at Notre Dame?
I used to get so nervous about not fitting in as an international and a non-religious, but I came here finding myself in a completely opposite environment. The community sticks together and I realize a lot of my friends are actually very curious about where I'm from and what we do back home. We listen to each other and share stories, and there would not be a better experience.
How did you adjust to life on campus?
Making friends would make the whole adjustment issue much easier. It was hard at first, calling my parents almost every night, frightened about being apart. But spending time with your friends, going shopping every Friday at the mall, really helps you digest the whole newness very well. Also, the burden of academics weighs you down so fast before you even realize it.
How do you celebrate your culture/heritage at ND?
We have a Spring Festival Gala every spring, making up for the biggest gathering back home. I missed that the most when I first came here and that was the first time I spent it with a different family. We also have that dinner at NDH, and it's always shocking to see how many people other than Chinese actually enjoy the meal every year.
What advice do you have for international students?
Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. We all come from that stage so we all know how it has been feeling different and not fitting in. We adapt, but we don't forget who we are. In fact, there are more people extremely interested in who you really are and how your culture is different from theirs. Talk to them and go have dinner. Before you know it, you ARE a part of a family.