Rui is from China, and has been studying for 30 weeks in our TOEFL preparation course. As a long term ELC student, Rui has participated in many activities around Boston and is known as a student who is fully engaged in social life at ELC. Rui hopes to continue making friends in Boston who she can explore the city with while sharing new experiences and creating lasting memories.
Where were you born and raised? Give us a mental picture of the place(s).
I was born in Jiangsu, south of China and I was raised in Beijing. I moved there when I was 8 years old. Beijing is the capital of China so it is a very big city. The weather is very dry and we have many famous and popular buildings like the Summer Palace and Tiananmen Square. These are close to where my family lives, only about 20 minutes by subway.
What do you do for fun? What are your hobbies?
I like a lot of things but my favorite are sports like badminton or just hanging out with my friends. Sometimes my friends and I have competitive badminton games and sometimes we play just for fun. I also like to play video games. I want to be a professional gamer. I play some Chinese video games and some global games like Unknown Player Battleground.
What is your special talent?
I like drawing, I achieved high level in pencil sketching back in China.
What is your profession? What do you like about it?
I am a student and I study biology. What I like most is that it’s interesting because biology students get to study at beautiful things like animals and plants. Biology is more fun than other subjects because it’s not just numbers or ideas, we work with real living things and we can use this knowledge in life.
Tell us about your family, do you have kids? Siblings? Pets? Do they live close to you?
I have an older brother who I live with here in Boston. My parents still live in China and we have no pets. I went home to China for the Spring Festival and got to spend time with my parents. My family is very close when we live near each other. We have dinner together often and we have a lot of small talks.
Why did you choose to study English in Boston? Did you consider other options?
The main reason is because my brother lives here in Boston so my parents wanted us to be together. Another reason is because I can’t take an SAT test in Beijing so my parents said I could go to an international school in China or a boarding school here in the USA. I chose the US because I thought a change in my environment would help me to improve my English more than staying in China.
What are all the ways that Boston is different than your city/town?
Boston is a little smaller and quieter than my home city. Because I am in school here I have made more friends and have found more things to do than when I first moved here. It’s much colder here in Boston than Beijing. In Boston, we have bigger parks than Beijing and the sky is bluer here than back home.
What were you most surprised to learn about the US or Boston? Did you experience any culture shock?
The first time I came to Boston was in 2017. The only culture shock I can think of is seeing all the people with tattoos. In China, this is not common. Some people have them, but not many. Also, the amount or volume of food served is huge here, which is very different than home.
What do you miss most about your country?
The thing I miss the most is my Chinese food, definitely! I miss all the dishes. We have duck eggs in China, I miss this a lot. When I really miss the food I go to the Chinese supermarket or H-Mart with my brother to get some food that reminds me of home. The Chinese food here is kind of close to my food, but still it is not the same.
What are your top three favorite places in Boston?
The Boston Common, Prudential Tower and the Boston Public Library are my favorite places in Boston. I like the Prudential Tower because you get the best view of Boston and it’s so beautiful. You can lay on the grass in the Boston Common and breathe fresh air. I like the Library because there are so many books so they have a good selection and it feels very academic.
Where have you found the best food from your country in Boston?
In Chinatown there is a hot pot place that is good. There is also a place, I think called Quick Pick Barbeque also in Chinatown and they cook duck there that is pretty good. I also found good milk tea in the food court or one other good place in Chinatown. I don’t remember the name, but it’s easy to find because there is always a line in front!
Favorite moment in class at ELC:
My favorite moment was with Dave in TOEFL class! Sometimes my classmates were very funny and they way the students interact with Dave is so funny.
Favorite activity at ELC:
Ice cream social! I like this because we got free ice cream and we got to try new flavors. I also like pot luck because I can try food from other countries and meet other students from different levels and classes.
What are some tips you have for people who want to learn English?
It’s best to talk with native speakers. Keep talking and do not stop if you have the opportunity. Avoid using your native language, especially at school where you have other people learning english. Mainly, just use your English and keep trying!
What are your plans after ELC?
I will go to high school in Downtown Boston. I have three years left of school then I will go to college. I’m not sure, but I think I want to go to another country for college, maybe in Europe. I want to move to another country so I can learn another language!