International Student Jessica Wu Faces Challenge of Cultural Differences


Lauren Van Gheem, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Every year Notre Dame Academy welcomes many exchange students from all around the world. This year students from China, South Korea, Italy, Vietnam, Czech Republic and Spain attend Notre Dame.

One student Notre Dame welcomes from China this school year is Jessica Wu. She lived in Ohio last year and chose to attend Notre Dame to receive her diploma.

“I became an international student because I want to go to an American university in the future. I chose Notre Dame because there are a lot of different types of classes,” Wu said.

Jessica finds the challenge of making friends while at Notre Dame a difficult part of her experience.  

Wu said, “In China it is very easy to make friends. Here is very different. It is very hard to make nice friends.”

Wu loves preparing different kinds of food and drawing anime.  Unlike many teenagers, she does not listen to music frequently.

“I think she is very brave. She came to a country she knows very little about and to a school where she knows no one at such a young age. I think that is amazing,” said one of Jessica’s classmates, Melanie Luna Guerrero.

Jessica’s travel experiences includes the United States and England.  She has also explored many places in China including Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou, Guangzhou and more.

“It is super different here.  We do not just say ‘hi’ in China. It is just so weird to say ‘hi.’ We smile if we are not very close friends.  We do not say ‘hi,’” she reiterated.

Wu explained how life in China is different than in the United States.

“A few differences are that we do not hug, just shake hands. Another big difference is school.  In high school you wake up at five a.m. and fall asleep the next day at one a.m. We study in school and not at home. One class had 60 students, and the teacher leaves the room.   The students remain in the same room.”

“When I met Jessica I thought she was going to be a little shy, knowing she is an international student. It took me by surprise with how friendly, outgoing and open-minded she was about her surroundings,” said Luna Guerrero.