International graduate student (Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science) Qianran Zhang shares her thoughts on what inspires her outside of the classroom at Memorial. Whether she is at a Remembrance Day ceremony at the War Memorial in downtown St. John’s, participating in a Community Garden event on campus as part of I Love MUNdays, or attending a doctoral oral defense in numerical analysis in hydromatics, you can read more about Qianran’s enlightening experiences on her blog.
I feel lucky to be part of the teaching and learning community at Memorial University, because of all of the different kinds of learning I can be exposed to.
I am an international graduate student in Engineering, but there are so many other events that inspire me and help me grow my learning in other ways.
I sometimes become frustrated because my English writing seems childish, and I do not write in the way of western people express. That is also a problem I have found in my academic writing. The Writing Centre and my classmates help me with academic writing; many university and community events help me with my journals and stories that I write, such as Writers in the Round, which was part of this year’s I Love MUNdays.
Writers in the Round happened on one Saturday evening. The host was local actress and playwright Amy House, and the guests were authors Jessica Grant and Kevin Major, actor comedian and writer Andy Jones, and TV writer Perry Chafe. One interesting question that the audience asked was, ‘Why are there so many great writers in Newfoundland?’
That was also my question.
I have to say that after more than a year living here, I realize that people here love reading. Whenever I take a bus, sit in the café, or window shop in the bookstore, there are always people reading. I like reading too. It makes me peaceful, indeed.
Some of the guests say they write every day. That is the spirit I am looking for. I am now reading Jessica’s novel, Come, Thou Tortoise. I really like it. The language she uses is fabulous, which is mentioned by many reviewers. There are many metaphors and similes that I find very interesting. For example, in a scene where the swan put its head in the water of Mundy Pond, the author describes that it is like a small iceberg, which is the simile I never thought about. Since I read the line in the book, whenever I pass by the Mundy Pond and see swans, I think of the iceberg line.
Jessica feels that she needs a process, and she needs to write every day. She said as a child, she was solitary and always played dolls by herself, making scenes and stories of them. That’s how she enjoys reading, writing, and creating great stories, I guess.
I felt so lucky to be there, even though no one knows me. I had a good time and was inspired by those writers. I learned a lot.
Going to events like these allows me to make some new friends, and improve my collaboration and communication skills. I look forward to next year’s I Love MUNdays events, and am excited to take part in even more!