Crystal (Zhi-Sin Lin) and Ruby (Rou-Yu Ye) are living their best lives here at APSU. Transplanted from their college in Taiwan, they have been taking classes here at APSU for the past two semesters.

Determined to explore America, these two brave and ambitious women, barely in their 20s, are taking advantage of a tuition swap agreement with their home college and have creatively expanded their course of study to include English here in Clarksville.

Ye (Ruby) is studying Psychology and expects to take a position as a school-based counselor when she graduates. Lin (Crystal) is an engineering student who will likely work in a manufacturing environment, programming machines used in the assembly of circuit and computer boards.

But for now, they are learning and living in the U.S. and collecting memories of a lifetime. Both recalled with a smile the sleep-over at their host family’s home for Christmas. Here they were included in a traditional morning filled with little ones opening gifts.

Zhi-Sin Lin (Crystal) in Houston, Texas on the Alternative Break trip. SEAN SIPLE | THE ALL STATE

During school breaks and on the weekends, these two have discovered all sorts of ways to see the country. For Ye, it was her trip to Fiery Gizzard Trail and Foster Falls in Sequatchie County. Lin recounted an early morning sun rising on a Tennessee lake during an Outdoor Living excursion organized by the Foy.

Lin also signed up for a Service Learning Alternative Winter Break in Houston where she learned drywall finishing skills while repairing a home damaged by Hurricane Harvey.

“I improved my English the most,” Lin said. The friends she made while traveling and working together have endured as well.

Regular haunts on campus for Lin include the ceramic studio in Art and Design, where she is afforded the time and the space to explore her creative side. For Ye, it is the Foy.

“Our gymnasium at home is so much more crowded, and I love working out,” Ye said.

If there were some struggles, it was finding ways to break up the menu monotony, or sometimes encountering a fellow student harried by exams who lost patience with the command of their second language.

In regards to campus food and stressed out students, Lin said: “I am not sure it would be that different for an APSU student in Taiwan.”

“In looking at the good and the bad, I would definitely recommend students back home consider coming to APSU,” Lin said.

There are currently exchange programs between APSU and campuses in Sweden, Taiwan, Spain, Italy, The Netherlands, France and South Korea, according to the Director of Study Abroad and International Exchange, Marissa Chandler.

Rou-Yu Ye (Ruby) in San Francisco at the Golden Gate bridge. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: ROU-YU YE

 “We have been hosting international students here at APSU for over 25 years,” Chandler said.

This year the activities offered our visiting classmates included group tours of Clarksville, Nashville (including a Predator’s game and a cruise on the General Jackson), an overnight in Paris and Memphis, Tennessee and so much more.

The stated mission of the International Exchange program is to foster mutual understanding and respect between cultures. This program allows these adventurous students to experience the United States and for APSU,  as a community, to learn from these ambassadors from another culture.