You May is happy to interview 35-year-old Zhang Qian (Maggie Zhang) from Qingdao. She moved to the United States with her parents when she was 14 years old and lived in different cities in the United States. Although she has returned to China, her experience in the United States is worth learning from.
You May: How did you adjust to life when you first arrived in the U.S. as a teenager?
Maggie: When I came to the United States, I often moved and changed schools. As soon as I made friends, I had to adapt to the new environment again. I often felt very lonely. The language barrier is also a big problem. One day, I saw an Asian girl communicating with an American fluently in English in a public library in New York. After that, I was very envious and determined to learn English well. American high schools end at 2:30 pm every day, therefore I watched American TV every day when I came home from school, forcing myself into an English learning environment. English radio and TV are my friends and teachers. In the end, I not only learned English well, but also became an English news anchor in a TV station.
You May: What was your occupation in the United States before returning to China? Have you encountered any difficulties?
Maggie: Before returning to China, I was a lecturer in the Department of Journalism at Temple University in Philadelphia, also worked as an English news anchor, a radio host on a Chinese radio station, and an operator in multimedia. When I was a lecturer, I taught 400 students of different races, backgrounds, and age groups. At that time, I felt I did not understand the students well, i.e, I couldn’t put myself in their shoes. And when I was an anchor, I was not happy with my accent. Besides, I have high expectations of myself so at that time I did not enjoy my work well. Now, I am a mom, I understand that I have to learn to let go.
You May: What were the difficulties you faced in the US? How did you overcome them?
Maggie: The most difficult thing about living in the United States was overcoming the language barrier. At that time I was afraid of speaking English. However, my parents’ English was not very good. So since I was 15 years old, I had to deal with everything that needed to be handled in English. What I was most afraid of was talking on the phone in English, I had no choice but to bite the bullet. After numerous practices, making an English phone call was a piece of cake.
You May: Why did you move back to China?
Maggie: My husband and I are both only child, and we hope to be closer to our parents in China. Moreover, as far as we are concerned, the job and promotion opportunities in China are better than in the United States. The safety environment in China is indeed much better than that in the United States. I have lived in Philadelphia for more than five years, and the crime problems there did haunt us.
You May: What is your plan for the next 5 years?
Maggie: At the end of 2022, I became a content creator. I want to interview 100 mothers in the next five years. Because I became a mother in 2020, I often feel alone and vulnerable. I feel like many new moms have these experiences and moments, and I want to help all moms of all ages be better moms by interviewing them and writing their stories out.
You May: What is your advice to Chinese women in the USA
Maggie: My advice is to make more friends and get involved in the community. Also, don’t forget to keep in touch with friends back home from time to time. There are no limits in life, don’t limit yourself. My English has an accent, which makes me self-doubt and feel that I was not qualified to be an English news anchor. But my university tutor said that my accent was my characteristic, everyone had an accent. He was right, I was successfully selected for the position.
You May look forward to Maggie’s interview with moms kicking off!