My name is Runnan Li, and I transferred from China in September 2012 as a senior student. I graduated in June 2013 on linguistic major with a TEF certificate. Now, I am working on my Master Degree in Education focusing on ESOL Endorsement. The U.S educational system is different from Chinese education, especially bilingual education. I would like to gain an accurate and deep understanding of American education, which is why I chose an education major.
This is my second year in the U.S., and I enjoy interacting with people, participating in community events, as well as doing research on my own topic. I was a performer in last Chinese Lunar New Year (CLNY), and then I become one of an organizer of CLNY 2014, because I think CLNY is a bridge to show Chinese cultures and to help people understand China. In addition, I enjoy attending “Friday Night,” which is a small international club based on Bible study and cultural sharing. We usually cook different kinds of food and share with each other. I learned many things through the Bible study. Although I am not a Christian, I believe that religions need to be respected due to the fact that it is a part of culture.
I gained a lot of experiences after I study in the U.S.. There are many volunteer opportunities on campus and off campus. I volunteered in WOU food pantry in Fall 2013, and knew how different organizations help solve hunger issue. This Winter term, I participated in many off campus volunteer jobs. I joined in MLK service day and went to Marion Polk Food Share in Salem. That was my first time to work in non-profit organization. Although it is only half day, I understood their mission and duty, which inspired me to get more involved in non-profit organizations. So, I keep my eyes on the Service Learning and Career Development Office where I can get volunteer opportunities immediately. I am so glad that I had opportunity to volunteer at Union Gospel Mission (UGM) on Feb. 22. We helped creating a video as a team, and then I got a tour at UGM. I think doing volunteer work is not only to help others, but also to understand missions and cultures behind organizations, as well as different issues in recent society. I have done a lot of volunteer works after I study in the U.S., which is my quick way to understand America, and I really love it. Last year, I became an mentor of the OSU Marion County Extension Service, and it really helped me to get more involved in community and different kinds of service, such as beach cleaning and youth farm project (a long project).
In addition, I works on campus. I was a volleyball referee in Fall 2013. Now, I am a freelancer for WOU Journal and student worker in Custodial service. I work on campus because I want to gain different kinds of working experiences and be practical. Also, I want to earn money to support my study. I obtained most of my experience through volunteer works and on-campus jobs. Those experiences helped me to develop my academic learning, especially for my graduate research. I got different opinions from different people and communities; the most important is that I have chance to observe different issues. My research question for my Master Degree is related to multicultural and bilingual education. I think education cannot depart from communication and interaction. I hope I can make full use of my time to gain more experiences and to do some little help for other people. I want to make my life meaningful.