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GLOBAL UMD: A Global Living Experience

UMD student Sirui Lu and Rebecca Mathison  
Sirui Lu and Rebecca Mathison both like the British actor Benedict Cumberbatch. Watching Benedict's movies and TV shows is part of their dorm life at UMD.  

Global UMD is a new podcast series for Spring 2015. Follow the episodes on the UMD Homepage.

Radio Transcript

(Intro Music)

Narrator Jiaxun Fan: This is Global UMD, presenting you stories about the diverse voices on the University of Minnesota Duluth campus.

Fan: About 95 percent of UMD freshmen choose to live on campus every year. Among them, two percent have roommates from a different country. Having an international roommate not only means you have to adapt to another person you don’t know, but also another culture that is new to you. Today, you are going to hear about stories inside two UMD residence halls, where students from different countries live and grow together.

Fan: Rebecca Mathison and her Chinese roommate Sirui Lu have been living in Burnside Hall since their freshman year. For them, the biggest challenge, and also the most interesting part of their dorm life, is to try new things.

Mathison: Like, you know, I have never ever had medicine besides you know from the U.S., so that was interesting. I don’t really remember the taste or anything. It did make me feel like I was extremely, like, sweating, so I was in my bed, sweating my butt off.

Fan: Upon receiving an invitation from Mathison, Lu celebrated her first Thanksgiving with Mathison and her family.

Lu: She invites me to her family on Thanksgiving day. I lived her family five days and experienced the traditional Thanksgiving day in American culture. I think it is very interesting and different from China.

Fan: Over in Vermilion Hall, when Thomas Bouta tried the ramen noodles offered to him by his Korean roommate Daewhan Kim, he remembered it was a lot spicier than he had expected.

Bouta: It was a lot spicier than I expected.

Daewhan: It’s not spicy, man.

Bouta: It was not spicy for you, but for me it was really spicy.

Fan: Even though there were many personal and cultural differences, Mathison, Lu, Bouta and Kim, all appreciate this global living experience at UMD.

Mathison: I learned even more patience. Sometimes, it’s frustrating to wanna say something and not be able to, like, have the other understand. I have gone through that with learning disabilities. I feel very similar, from her side because, you know, she is from China, and she is trying her best to, like, learn American culture and to speak English as much as possible.

Lu: Some words I can’t pronounce well she can teach me, and some written sentences I can’t understand, she can help me understand it.

Bouta: It is interesting because next door we have two other Koreans, and then and like, so they come in and talk sometimes. It is interesting to, kind of, hearing them talk.

Kim: I think I like it. To better than living with the same culture person because I can learn other cultures and learn more English.

Fan: For more episodes of Global UMD, please check UMD news on our homepage. This is podcast Global UMD, and we tell you many voices on our campus.


UMD student Sirui Lu with doll UMD students Tom Bouta and Daewhan Kim
During the 2014 Thanksgiving break, Sirui Lu was invited to visit Rebecca Mathison's family to celebrate her first Thanksgiving in America. The doll Lu is holding is a gift from Mathison's mother. Video games are the most common topic between Thomas Bouta and Daewhan Kim. Bouta learned from Kim that the internet speed in Korea is a lot faster than in the U.S.

Listen to other episodes of Global UMD:

Internships in America

Celebrating the Chinese New Year

A Warmer Campus

A Global Living Experience


Podcast and story by Jiaxun Fan, March, 2015.

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