There is a famous quote by Pliny the Elder that says: “home is where the heart is”. Qian Zhang can prove it. Born in Wuhan, China, she crossed the world to study in the USA ten years ago. Now she is a successful young woman living in State College.

Qian came to the USA for the first time in 2009, when she was still a college student to participate in a Model United Nations Competition in New York. After her graduation she worked for two years in Beijing. Then she decided to move to the USA for a master’s degree and, in her own words, also an adventure in a foreign land”! “I am glad I decided to do that. I met my husband, the love of my life, found my way into a fulfilling (even though challenging) career, and met so many wonderful friends!”

When she remembers the beginning of her life living abroad, she says that her first impression of New York was very different from her first impression of State College. “New York in 2009 reminded me of Beijing, but with even more billboards and skyscrapers. Very interesting! My first impression of State College is – it is beautiful! As a person who always lived in big cities, I felt intrigued by all the nature and cute houses surrounding us. There are also deers, groundhogs, squirrels… It’s a very lovely place to live.”

Her path in the USA was not only surrounded by good feelings. For some time she felt lonely. “I did not have a lot of friends in State College when I first came here. Even though I had coworkers and my husband, there was still something missing in my life. Later, I started my group, the Culture Exchange Group, in order to welcome friends of different backgrounds. I slowly got a chance to meet so many wonderful friends! I also enjoyed collaborations with Global Connections. Through the collaboration, I built even more connections and found more lovely people. I feel very grateful for that.” Now she is feeling at home. “I feel home is a place where we build our career and family. It can be anywhere we chose it to be.”

About her collaborations with Global Connections, she remembers that she met the organization in a seminar, where she also met her friend Hilary. “She was hosting an international women’s book club for Global Connections. I thought that was very interesting, so I joined her and enjoyed a wonderful session.” Now Qian coordinates the Cultural Exchange Group and sees with good eyes the collaboration with Global Connections. “I really enjoyed that! It helped me get to know more interesting people and also build a more connected community! I really enjoyed all the collaborations between Culture Exchange Group and Global Connections! Both groups look for ways to create a loving environment for people of different backgrounds. It is so wonderful!”