Xiaoxuan Cheng is a graduate student from China. She is known as Ria and completing her MBA program in May. Ria has been in Springfield for more than three years. She completed her B.S. degree in entrepreneurship in Missouri State. Currently, she is looking forward to graduate and work within her field of study.
All the way from Shenyang, China to Springfield, Missouri!
Ria came to Springfield as a transfer student from the Dalian campus in China. She says Springfield is quite different from back home. In her hometown, it is more crowded, and they use public transportation much more than cars. “Of course the culture is different, but Springfield gives me this warm feeling of a small town” Ria says. On Missouri State, she says it was like the Dalian campus, as it is the same university.
Graduate vs undergraduate courses
Ria believes graduate classes are different from undergraduate ones. Graduate courses need more critical thinking and they are much smaller in size. She mentioned she had a class with 200 students in her undergraduate degree. Likewise, she views the graduate level is more like what you do on your own than what the professor requires you to do. She believes that graduate professors tend to supervise the student’s work (the way the student wishes to complete the assignment).
Ria asserts that Missouri State staff helped her plan for her graduate studies. The Business Advisement Center helped her choose the MBA program for a bright future she shared with them. Ria is applying the practical skills she learned in her undergraduate to the MBA program she is currently pursuing.
Building connections with Missouri State Staff & Faculty
She has great connections with her professor. Ria says her favorite professor is Dr. Penny Clayton. She was her finance professor and encouraged her in different ways. Ria says she visited her office many times and Dr. Clayton was patient with her. Ria was worried about passing the course, but Dr. Clayton motivated her that she can do it with an A. “She is an amazing professor and an amazing person.”
Ria is also engaged in the Missouri State community. She started by becoming a member of the Association of International Students (AIS). The next yea
r, she decided to run and play a part in the executive board. She was elected to represent AIS in the Student Government Association. Ria says she was happy to help to bring changes to campus through the SGA council. She was elected to be the treasurer in AIS the very next year. She also was a part of the vision the association has created to guide its executive board and general members.
Ria did not only involve herself in AIS but also in many other associations. Including the Portuguese Club, Korean Students Club and the Japanese Club. Ria asserts that being part of an executive board helped her to be skillful in time management. It also connected her with many Missouri State staff and departments. She gives credit to the associations’ requirements for volunteering hours. That exposed her to volunteering opportunities on and off-campus.
Diversity in Missouri State
“Cultural Competence is actually one of the three pillars in Missouri State… I love it!”
Currently, Ria works as a tour guide in the ELI Special Programs. She leads international student groups in their short-term sessions in Missouri State. Ria is the type of person that tries to meet more people every time. She also tries to understand the different cultures and traditions “There are a lot of fun things to do and fun people to meet” she says.
Ria loves the fact that the university included a larger global concept in its main pillars. Also, she likes how Missouri State appreciates different cultures. She sees many cultural events taking place on campus. “I think it is a chance for both international students and domestic students to explore the world without actually travelling abroad”, Ria says.
Ria is planning to apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Then, plans to find a job related to her field of study. She believes there are lots of opportunities for her here and she wishes to get the best use out of them.
“Step out of your comfort zone, talk to your professors and get to know more people! There are a lot of amazing people here and if you do not make the move, you will never get to know them.” – Ria Cheng