Name: Vicky Sun
Hometown: Beijing, China
BS: How did you come to the University of Dallas?
VS: I was in a top law school in Beijing, in education, and two years ago, I joined a summer program at Georgetown Law School that was focused on the Constitution and American economics. I met Justice [Antonin] Scalia in the program as well, which is one of the reasons that I came to the States: for the Constitution and Justice Scalia’s originalism. I fell in love with The Federalist Papers. I talked with the professors there and told them that that was what I wanted to learn because it seems like truth. One of the professors, John Baker … said, “Why don’t you study in America?” I said, “I don’t know, I’ve never thought about studying abroad.” I was learning German, and I planned to settle in Germany later. But he told me about a liberal arts school that he, his wife and his family all graduated from. And it was UD! So he led me here. I am so happy to be here. I finished my sophomore year in the law school in Beijing, so then I will finish here.
BS: Tell us about your family.
VS: My mom is becoming a judge; I’m so happy about that. She is working in a small town in China. My dad is a businessman. And I have a little brother, who is a freshman in a Chinese college, studying Chinese literature.
BS: What are your impressions of UD?
VS: The north and south of America are really different. When I came [south], I felt so comfortable, so relaxed. People are very friendly. Last fall, I spent my summer in Maryland and D.C. to learn English, so I got used to the northern culture. And then when I came here, I thought, “This is good, people are so nice.” At the time, I had a lot of luggage, because I’m [an] Asian girl, it’s a habit. People helped me with all of my luggage, and I did nothing, literally!
I feel like I belong here, especially when I started taking the classes last semester. I love the intellectual culture, it’s so exciting. It still involves a foreigner living in a different country, so I had to do all these things, like move to an apartment, and then I needed a car, and I needed to learn to drive. It was pretty exhausting. I am blessed because I got a lot of help. Although I live in America, which is a 14-hour time difference from China, I still feel very close to my family and my peers in China.
And the professors are so kind. Tiffany Schubert invited me on Thanksgiving day to have dinner with her family. And my [Understanding the] Bible professor Dr. [Schuyler] Watley, is so good … I have so many doubts about religion, because I learned nothing about religion in China. I only know Jesus Christ, and He loves us, but there are a lot of theories behind that that I do not know. So we talk about religion a lot together. He helped me so much. When I learned in the Old Testament that God ordered them to kill the pagans, I thought, “Why? We don’t need wars, we don’t need to kill people.” I felt so angry. But he calmed me down and opened the New Testament and read this paragraph. And I thought, this is awesome. I feel so blessed. Even though I have to deal with the problems and the mess in life, I’m still very happy.
UD is a minority of America. The culture I grew up in stressed the value of family and friends and being honest and sincere to each other, so this doesn’t feel like America. The impression I got from America was from the TV shows: gun violence and everything. So when I came, I thought, “This is much better than I thought.”
BS: What are some of the most striking differences between the U.S. and China?
VS: Christianity, definitely. In China, the mainstream thing is atheism. We learn little about Christianity. When I came here, that was a big culture shock for me. The progressiveness in China is big, because of the urbanization. People become very proud of themselves, they think that they can control everything. But on the contrary, they have a lot of fear. Without God, people are not happy at all — that’s from Augustine. Especially for those people who are lost in their desires and the progressiveness. Once they find God, or Christianity, they find real love. And they’re shocked and change their lives. I’m one of them. I’m glad I found this in my early twenties. Once you’re free of the materialism, you can be happy. There is peace and joy. You can admire the beauty of life.