|LSBE senior Jianli Yang is majoring in accounting with a minor in mathematics.|
Her love of math launched the adventure of a lifetime. Jianli Yang was well on her way to graduating with a degree in financial management from Ocean University of China when she became intrigued with a study abroad program some of her friends had completed. “I wanted to experience a totally different culture,” Yang said. So she decided to take a huge step and study accounting at UMD.
Living in Duluth has been exciting and challenging. “Everything is different – the work style, the lifestyle,” she said. Yang knew English but conversing wasn’t always easy. “People talk fast.” And, of course, there is the snow. “We seldom have snow back home,” she said.
But Yang felt bolstered by the strong Asian student and faculty community at UMD. She quickly immersed herself in campus life, and despite taking up to 21 credits per semester and working in the Food Court, she joined the International Club. “There are events almost every night,” she noted.
“I feel really happy when I’m doing calculations,” she said. But because not every UMD student finds math a joyful exercise, Yang was able to share her talent for numbers by tutoring in the Tutoring Center and the Multicultural Center. There she helped her fellow students with fractions and formulas and they, in turn, helped her to improve her English. Through the process, skills were enhanced and friendships were forged.
All of Yang's hard work was recently recognized when she received the Janet Jasper Scholarship, which is awarded to women majoring in accounting at UMD with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. “It’s an honor. It’s like a reward for my efforts. My parents are so happy,” she said.
Yang’s mother is a physician and her father teaches physics. They will be traveling from their home in Hangzhou, China, to Duluth in May for Yang’s graduation, and she will be able to share something of her home-away-from-home with them.
Yang could have comfortably graduated from Ocean University but by studying abroad at UMD, she’s added skills and multiplied friendships. Those who can, calculate the possibilities.
Written by Kathleen McQuillan-Hofmann, Dec. 2013