L(U)CY Visits Yale

At any given time, the campus has so many visitors and guests coming and going for a million different reasons: going on a tour, staying over for a football game, giving a guest lecture, attending a professional workshop, etc. Last week, I welcomed a group of visitors special to me! These people are 18 Chinese business students from Guangzhou with whom 11 fellow Yale students and I are learning and investigating social entrepreneurship and technology. As a spring break exchange program, the L(U)CY program for Lingnan (University) College gives us the opportunity to peek into the world of a Chinese college student, learn together, and share experiences. The culmination comes in the form of group presentations on social enterprise case studies in Guangzhou, and I am very excited to explore thriving port city come March.

Coinciding with the end of the spring shopping period, L(U)CY’s visit to Yale was preceded by much anticipation and excitement on our part. The twelve of us Yalies, with help from the Yale-China Association, had been planning every detail of their visit, from a speed-dating breakfast with student entrepreneurs on campus to a short lecture on the Chinese economy by our resident China expert, Professor Roach.

I first met my project team over dinner in Morse dining hall, and they recognized me instantly. Quickly warming up to them, we chatted about everything from common love for street food to differences in classes to their take on current events. Over the course of the four days, I showed them around Yale, worked on our projects together, and explored Thai food next to campus. My favorite part of the whole experience is stepping in their shoes and seeing Yale, New Haven, and the US with fresh eyes. I realized that although we have different views on pizza or US politics, fundamentally, we share so much in common as college students and young people who are optimistic and energetic.

the LUCY group getting frozen yogurt.

I remember a conversation we had just as we headed out of the Center for Engineering Innovation and Design (CEID) at Yale. I asked them whether there are good hiking spots around their college. They said yes, there is nature in their backyard! However, they’ve never really ventured into the wild because they had to be chaperoned by their faculty at Lingnan College to fend against the snakes and poisonous plants. Independence, I realized, is enjoyed asymmetrically. Embedded in that idea are elements of differences in family relations and responsibilities transferred to young people. It was these conversations that I appreciated, and our March reunion cannot come soon enough.