Ten thousand miles away from his home in Beijing, student Pei Li sits in the office for graduate assistants and interns on the third floor of the Cronkite building, getting ready for a day of video shooting at the Japanese Friendship Gardens.
For international journalism graduate student, Li, this is his new reality.
He packed his bags back in August, 2012, embarking on a journey from China to starting an adventure in Arizona. He came as one of a few Chinese international students to ASU’s journalism graduate program.
“Of course I had a little bit of a culture shock when I first came,” Li says. “Everything is so different because everyone has different lifestyles. I’ve never had the experience of speaking English for 24 hours every day.”
Between the two different lifestyles of China and America, Li says he has had to form a relationship with someone who is in a different walk of life.
He found his roommate off Craigslist: a 55-year-old man who enjoys doing early laundry on the weekends, Li says.
Li says he still enjoys the time he’s had in Arizona despite challenges and cultural differences. Currently, Li is waiting to take his driver’s permit test. And despite the distance, he spends his free time catching up with friends through Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.
Before deciding to attend graduate school in the states, Li studied English with a concentration in mass media at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.
But with hopes of one day becoming a journalist in China, Li says he takes his passion for learning new things everyday and channels it into his work as a student.
In pursuit of his dream to be a journalist, his determination and drive made the hardships of the journey easier to overcome, Li says.
“Being a journalist is a really good job for me because you can learn something new everyday,” he says.