Pei tells us why she loves Philly Restaurant Week, what she misses about China, and why everyone should try her favorite Chinese meal.
NAME: Pei Du
HOMETOWN: Chengdu, China
PROGRAM: Access Temple
IELP: Are you a Temple student now? What do you plan to study?
PEI: I am an Access Temple student. I want to study music at Boyer – the clarinet. I have been playing for 10 years now.
IELP: Tell me about the time you first arrived in the United States. What was the experience like?
PEI: I came to the U.S. in August 2017. When I first came here it was a little scary, because I lost my baggage. So I had three days with no baggage, I just had my clarinet. If I had lost my clarinet, I would have gone right back to China and never left again!
IELP: Do you ever feel homesick? What advice can you give to other international students about dealing with homesickness?
PEI: I just really miss the food. I think you should hang out with your friends and eat your home food to help with homesickness. In Philadelphia, I like Hot Pot. There is one near UPenn that is very good. In Chinatown, the food is made a little more to fit the American taste. It’s not as spicy and a little bit sweet.
IELP: If I only had 24 hours to spend in your home country, what would you tell me to see or do?
PEI: I would tell you to have Hot Pot! There is a spicy and normal soup. You can put anything you want in it. Under the bowl, there is a fire and everyone shares from the same bowl.
IELP: What was your first impression of Philadelphia?
PEI: I thought the people were very friendly. When I first got here, I went into a hair shop near Temple and asked for directions to the Fresh Grocer, and they led me there.
IELP: What’s the best thing you’ve seen or done in the U.S. so far?
PEI: Center City Restaurant Week is my favorite. Last year I tried one restaurant, and this year I tried three. I went to Oyster House and two sushi restaurants.
IELP: Can you teach me to say a phrase in your native language?
PEI: I will teach you how to say the name of a Marvel movie. Do you know Thor? In Chinese, it’s written like this: 雷神. Pronounced “Léishén.”
IELP: What’s your favorite meal from your home country?
PEI: Hot Pot is my favorite. In my city we like spicy, so almost all things we eat taste spicy. Hot Pot is very famous in China. You can put vegetables, meat, rabbit, lamb, pig meat, beef, and chicken, and seafood in it. The chili pepper makes it spicy.
(Pei is clearly Hot Pot’s #1 fan).
IELP: What are some of the things you’ve learned from going to school with people from so many different countries?
PEI: I think just to be nice. I’ve made friends from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Vietnam.
IELP: What are your plans for after graduation?
PEI: I hope to eventually go back to China because I want to move to Hangzhou. It’s a good place for music. I want to play in an orchestra or become a teacher. Or both!
IELP: What do you think has been the most rewarding part of studying in a different country?
PEI: I think it has given me more confidence and helped me make more friends. And when you are on your own, you can do more of what you want and be more independent.
Thanks, Pei. We’ll remember two things from this conversation: 1. Pei would make a great spokesperson for Hot Pot, and 2. A nice Hot Pot can pretty much cure anything. Until next time!