Today I had the unique opportunity to have a little taste of Lafayette in Shanghai. I was invited by one of our admissions directors, Eugene Gabay, to an admitted students reception, my favorite! (I’m not being sarcastic). I think it’s safe to say that I’m Lafayette’s #1 fan. I applied to Lafayette and only Lafayette after visiting 6 times and interviewing. In addition I have been a tour guide for a little over 2 years now and have had the honor of getting involved with the admissions office in many ways. I attended many accepted students events over the summer, so I was more than enthused to be able to help Eugene out and meet some of the potential incoming freshman.
It was truly an amazing experience being able to interact with the Chinese students and their parents. One of the most interesting parts about it was hearing the questions that they asked compared to the questions asked in the United States. The Chinese parents cared a lot about rankings and safety, more so than personal experience and social life. In the United States a lot of parents care about rankings and academics, but they also care about the social aspects of college life and whether or not their son or daughter is going to fit in and be happy.
I met two perspective students in Shanghai today. One was a bright, sweet girl who had a lot of questions about what a liberal arts education really means, about study abroad, and about Lafayette’s campus. I did my best to answer her questions, making me realize how hard it would be to make a decision without ever going to visit a college campus. The other student I met brought along his two parents. He was really composed, had great questions, and came prepared. It was a pleasure to meet them and to work with Eugene to represent Lafayette all the way from Shanghai.
As it came close to the end of the reception we were informed that a mother of an accepted student had been running late and she would be there shortly. We were unsure whether or not she could speak English, but Eugene and I were ready to go with whatever came our way. This Chinese woman was very traditional and quite concerned about her daughters’ potential interaction with boys, therefore leading her to ask about residence life options and safety on campus.
We answered her questions as best as we could and all of a sudden she was gone. Five minutes later she came back, and she was bearing gifts for all of us. Quite to our surprise we all received famous Chinese tea and in a blink of an eye this mysterious lady was gone. That’s not all though, we were then informed that on her way out this mother picked up our tables’ bill, which included our juices, tea, and our dinner! Needless to say we were all a little surprised and confused, but then again, anything can happen in China.
Overall I had a really nice day. It was great to see Eugene and it was refreshing to talk about Lafayette and to get other students excited about Lafayette too! Looking forward to more Lafayette events in the future =)