Published: Sept. 14, 2018

‘Maineland’ screening and filmmaker visit to highlight Chinese student experience

Contact(s): Rachel Warner International Studies and Programs office: (517) 884-2134, Elizabeth Matthews Office for International Students and Scholars office: (517) 432-8241

Michigan State University is home to more than 5,000 international students from China, each with their own unique story. The MSU campus and community is invited to take a peek into the Chinese student experience at a film screening of “Maineland” and discussion with the filmmaker Miao Wang 7-9:30 p.m. Monday in Wilson Hall Auditorium C102.

Wang filmed the award-winning “Maineland” over three years in China and the U.S., telling the story of two Chinese teenagers as they settle into boarding school in a rural, blue-collar community in Maine. The film follows their experience with culture shock, friendships and wrestling with family expectations as they pursue their education abroad. Stella Xinyi Zhu, one of the featured students in the film, attended MSU and graduated with a degree in supply chain management.

“What’s special about this film is it highlights an experience very common to so many of our international students,” said Elizabeth Matthews, assistant director of the Office for International Students and Scholars.

Each year MSU welcomes a number of international students who have done exchange programs at American high school; however, the majority of new international students and scholars mark MSU as their first experience in the United States. 

“Whether students or scholars come to MSU after a few years of experience in the U.S. or if this is their first time, there is still so much to learn,” Matthews said. “The conversations we hope to start as a result of Wang’s visit are related to the idea that it’s important to recognize the impact prior life experiences have on each of our unique perceptions of the world. One of the first steps towards adapting to one another is developing empathy for each other’s experiences.”

The screening and Wang’s visit is co-sponsored by the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education, MSU Libraries, the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, Asian Pacific American Studies Program, Office for International Students and Scholars, Visiting International Professional Program and Residence Education and Housing Services.

"Maineland" tells the story of two Chinese teenagers as they settle in the United States.