Xiaoyi Ma, also known as Simon by his friends, was qualified for the Future Problem Solvers International Conference at the University of La Crosse in Wisconsin. Following a 13 hour flight, he was introduced to a new place with a new culture and new people. Like the 11 hour time difference, the transition from China to the United States needed some time to get used to. Even while jet-lagged, Simon experienced what he called a “culture shock” that made him realize the societal differences between his hometown of Shanghai, China and La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Over the course of five days, he discovered what it’s really like in the United States and was able to practice his English more with one-on-one interactions with native speakers. He claimed that the people that he talked to in America were more blunt in comparison to others in China. From his own experience, he noticed that the social climate regarding education was a lot more tense in China than in the United States. He also expressed his favor of how the American education system stressed the importance of arts and physical activity more than the Chinese one he went through back home.

With big dreams, Simon explained his future plans when he moves to Alabama for school. Due to his interest in science, he hopes to go to medical school and become a doctor. Based on this, he saw America as the land of hopes and dreams. Studying English in school, Simon was ready to take on the Western world by storm.