By Lynn Reutens ‘23
Wai Sum Fung ‘23 is a junior international student from Hong Kong pursuing his major in medical laboratory science with a minor in German. Fung, also known as Vincent, was quick to say, “Mount Union has a good academic atmosphere and really interesting majors, that’s why I came here because I want to be part of its success.”
“It was my mom, Fan Piao Xue, who supported me to come to the United States and she continues to support me a lot,” Fung, who was awarded the International Distinction Scholarship, touchingly shared. “I look at her and see a woman of strength and determination. She truly impacted my life.”
Fung is a resident assistant in Miller Hall and was happy to offer an insight into his ambitions, the highest of which is to visit Finland.
“I enjoy being around people and I want to travel around the world, but I must really go to Finland,” he said. “This place sounds so mysterious to me and because I know nothing about it except for the war it was in and the amazing Northern Lights, I must go here.”
When asked about his thoughts on education, Fung acknowledged, “Education helps us achieve what we want to be. But, as an international student, we must not be scared, and it is good to make some American friends. Maybe thirty years from today, I will see myself happy with life. Doing the things I like doing and traveling the world.”
Fung was happy to voice his Mount Union experience and the relationships he has formed with faculty and staff on campus, and how they have been important to his journey.
“I enjoy being at Mount Union. I’ve learned a lot since I arrived, and the professors and faculty are very caring about their students,” he said. “Dr. Jean Deok-Im was my chemistry professor, and she is amazing. She would always take the time to explain things to us if we were uncertain and she would go out of her way to help us. It is truly a good academic atmosphere here. Dawn Adams, the international student services director, has helped me a lot since I began as a freshman. She listens to students’ opinions, exposes international students’ cultures to the American students and she was so helpful during the Covid lockdown. She is a really nice person.”
Fung smiled when I asked him about his free time, saying that his junior year has not provided him with much, but he still finds time to relax and participate in his favorite hobbies.
“I like realistic pencil drawing. I mean it gives me a feeling of pure satisfaction and allows me to relax too,” he said. “I also like cooking Chinese food over the weekends and my friends say my Angel Fluff Birthday Cake is a force to be reckoned with. I also occasionally make Hong Kong style egg tarts for my American friends so they can taste a bit of my country and will remember me when we part ways after graduation.”
When I asked him about his plans after graduation, Fung expressed some bittersweet emotions.
“In a strange way I feel sad when I think about this,” he said. “I mean I’m happy to obtain my degree, but it just means I’ve come to the end of this road and will go on a new adventure. Maybe I should be happier about this special time. I’ll always remember Mount Union.”
Fung did profoundly say that while 2020 was a rough year for everyone, it taught him a lot about what he hopes for his future and offered him a renewed sense of dedication.
“I’m really passionate about what I do but I admit, procrastination does happen, so I have stopped procrastinating,” he said. “The word career often seems unpredictable to me, but there is something powerful and unique about it. It becomes an adult’s goal and I feel that I’m growing up. It’s quite amazing and I believe I will be ready when my time comes. Mount Union has prepared me well.”
Education is profound, but truly grasping it in all its entirety marks a gift in life. As beautifully voiced by former First Lady, Michelle Obama, “Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own,” and this is exactly what Wai Sum Fung holds.