BERKELEY, Calif. — At the National Student Leadership Conference at the University of California, Berkeley, there are 116 students attending the communications sessions. Of those, 12 are visiting from other countries— Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Panama and Sweden.
Brian Vu, 17, is one of them. He hails from Ontario, Canada, and took a seven-hour flight to get to San Francisco. Vu said there was not much of a difference between countries. He said only a few small details, such as cultural differences, are noticeable, such as Americans making stereotypes against other cultures.
The rest seems similar to him.
Vu is taking a class in professional newswriting in addition to leadership seminars. He says that this field of study is still available to him at home, and he can learn about newswriting at school or even by getting an internship at a local newspaper, as one of his friends has done before.
The best thing about America, he said, is the vastness of it. “Despite Canada being the world’s second-largest land mass, we have less than a quarter of [America's] population,” he said.
Kenneth Kuh, 15, comes to Berkeley from Taiwan. His flight was 13 hour. Kuh said that one of the biggest differences between his country and ours is our different languages, and added that switching languages was difficult for him.
He went on to say that here in America, the people are more open-minded. “We’re all people,” he said, but also said that many in Taiwan and China think Americans are racist.
Kuh is studying digital photography alongside his leadership courses.
He thinks that the best thing about America is that the architecture is more beautiful than in Taiwan and China.