Kelsey Evans, an International Studies major with
dual minors in Political Science and Chinese studies, was one of the first American
student to study at ICB in Beijing. Her great passion for Chinese culture
encouraged Kelsey to extend her stay for a second semester. Kelsey is now back in
Denver, working as an intern in CU Denver’s Office of Global Education to
promote the Semester in Beijing (at ICB) program to other Americans students.
Let’s get to know her stories in Beijing.
Q: Hello, Kelsey! Can you talk about yourself first for our audience?
A: Hi, everyone! 你好！My name is Kelsey Evans, my Chinese name is 潘可溪 (Pan Kexi). And I also have a Japanese name, it is エバンス ケルシ(Ebansu
Kerushi). I use the 3 names because I
have studied Mandarin Chinese and Japanese. I was born the year of the dragon,
and under the sign of Cancer, the crab.
But I follow the Chinese zodiac more than the Western one. My favorite quote is from Gandhi, “An eye for
an eye leaves the whole world blind.” I
like reading “Queen of the Damned” by Anne Rice, but my favorite book series is
the “Otherland” series by Tad Williams. My favorite movie is 赤壁 (Red Cliff), the Chinese version, NOT the American version. My favorite bands are 花儿乐队, from Beijing, 2NE1 from South Korea, Dir en Grey
from Japan and Muse from the UK. I enjoy
reading, playing video games, making costumes, Karaoke and hanging out with my
did you get your Chinese name?
A: I am the one who choose it. My first Chinese name was 宜可均，except the 均had a
water radical, not an earth one. That
name was given to me by my Chinese professor.
I asked for a water name because I am year of the dragon, and the
traditional Chinese dragon brought rain.
I changed my name to 潘可均
because 潘 has a water
radical and because it fits with my Japanese last name eBANsu. Ban turning into 潘. I was using the 均 with
the earth radical at that point because no one knew it with the water radical. I
ended up changing it to 可溪because
that is more feminine, has the water radical, and sounds like my English name
Kelsey. I like it even though it sounds
like 可惜, which refers to
did you get to know about the ICB program? Why did you want to go to Beijing
A: I had taken 2 years of Japanese and 2 years of
Mandarin Chinese at Auraria campus in Denver, Colorado, but no more classes
were offered at that campus. So I
decided that I should study abroad to continue learning Chinese. I also wanted to learn more about the Chinese
world view, and make Chinese friends. I
looked into it, and learned that my school, CU Denver has the partnership with
CAU. To be honest, I didn’t understand
the difference between ICB and CAU until after I had landed.
Q: What do you like most during your time in Beijing?
A: The three favorite things
that I like the most about Beijing: my Chinese friends, the food, and the
sites. My friends are amazing; I miss
them so much and talk to many of them on 微信 (“we chat”) every day. The
food is delicious. (American food is greasy and has no flavor when compared to
Chinese food.) It was amazing seeing
brand new buildings and skyscrapers next to buildings that were hundreds of
years old. We don’t have that in the
Q: What is the biggest challenge in your life (living and/or studying)
after you came to Beijing? How did you
A: My biggest challenge was
my shyness. I am a very shy person, so I
thought I wouldn’t be able to make new friends because I would be too scared to
start a conversation. Fortunately, when
I was in China, my hair was either pink or purple so I stood out and people
would just start talking to me. Once the
conversation had begun, I was no longer shy.
Also I got QQ, 人人 (“ren
ren”/Chinese Facebook), 微博
(“weibo”/Chinese Twitter), and 微信 (“we
chat”). So I could talk to people
Q: How do you communicate with Chinese students? How did you get along with them?
A: 中文和英文，都可以 (“in
Chinese and in English”)。Since
I am studying Chinese, I try to speak Chinese with my friends; however my
Chinese isn’t very good, so I often switch back to English. I also use all the Chinese social media, (QQ, 人人, 微博, and 微信) in order to
talk to people, especially since I have returned back to Denver. To be honest, sometimes I was very close to
my Chinese friends, and sometimes I felt a little left out. For example, people would tell jokes in Chinese
that I couldn’t understand. The language
barrier is a very difficult barrier to overcome. But I feel like I have succeeded to some
Q: What is your most
memorable experience in Beijing?
A: I can only choose one? I have so
many!! Here are a few: the play I was
in, doing KTV, going to birthday parties, and seeing the sites of Beijing. It was all a blast! I literally have over 7000 photos that I took
over the 8 months that I was there.
do you highly recommend doing while living in Beijing?
A: KTV. It
was so much fun!!! It is now one of my
Q: What do you hope to do after you graduate? What
are your long-range career goals?
A: I hope that I will have a
career that involves China. If it
doesn’t, my personal life will definitely involve China. I want to help others, travel and experience
new things. Regardless of what I do, I
know I will go back to China. My best
friend is Chinese, my boyfriend is Chinese, and I have been blessed with
Chinese friends around the world.
Q: Why do you think it’s important
to have a global education and a better understanding of another country?
A: Studying abroad is very important.
When you study abroad, you can see the world through a different point
of view. What is more important is you
can learn more about your own culture. Some
little things that you never thought about before, you will see with new eyes. For instance, westerners almost always eat
food only from their own plate; they rarely serve others. Chinese eat from a common plate and often put
food on my own plate. After awhile, I learned that sharing food made
me feel closer to the people I was eating with.
I would have never considered that small detail if I hadn’t gone
Thank Kelsey Evans for accepting the interview. Aside
from Kelsey, there are more and more American students interested in
experiencing life in Beijing and traditional Chinese cultures.