The Vol State Family: Meiyi-Xie

Vol State graduateImagine practicing English, learning how to drive, taking Anatomy and Physiology, working full -time and navigating a new culture, all at once. That was just one semester for Meiyi-Xie of Hendersonville.  She moved to the Nashville area five years ago from Fujian Province in Southern China.

“I remember the first day I came here I was at the airport,” she said. “I couldn’t speak English, I just had a dictionary and I was trying to find my luggage. I was trying to talk to people using my dictionary. Now I feel like my English has improved.”

And improve it has. Xie graduated from Vol State a few weeks ago and is headed next year to Union University to study nursing. She began her American education by taking English courses. She soon realized there would be advantages to doing that at Vol State.

“At college you can meet more people and with more people it’s a good environment to improve my English.”

She enrolled in ESOL classes, which are designed to get English language learners up to speed, so they can tackle college courses.

“After two semesters I started taking college classes, biology and all this stuff. I felt like I could understand what my professors were saying.”

The hard work clearly paid off. “For most of my science classes I had mostly As. There was one semester when I was trying to do Anatomy and Physiology II and Microbiology at the same time.”

For Xie, that was the tough semester. She had just learned to drive and had to juggle full-time work, school and family life. “Every morning I would get up early to take my brother to high school. And then I would be in class by 8 a.m. It was very stressful. I was taking very hard classes. I still made a good grade.”

Many people seek out a nursing career. Service to others is a common reason cited. But Xie also has a particularly Chinese reason for studying health care.

“I always care for my family and parents,” she said. “My parents are hardworking, so I want to let them know how they can take care of themselves. I eventually want to be a nurse practioner.”

Xie is taking a little time off from school to pursue another passion, music. It was actually her original educational path, when she was in high school in China.

“I am trying to do a video covering a song. I watch a lot of You Tube videos.”

She lists Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson and Pink as some of her favorite artists.

Popular music may bridge cultures, but there are still some differences between life in China and the United States.

“The air. The air is so clean here.”