Lindai Xie: SOE international student ambassador

Her work with the International Educational Studies Center is helping her and others increase their multicultural competency.

Lindai Xie is an international student in the VCU School of Education’s Counselor Education program. Originally from Guiyang, the capital city of Guizhou province in southwestern China, she earned her undergraduate degree in applied psychology from BNU-HKBU United International College in Zhuhai, China, and will soon earn her M.Ed. in Counselor Education from SOE. She begins the Ph.D. in Education, concentration in counselor education and supervision program in the fall.

Casual outdoor headshot of Lindai Xie, international student in the VCU School of Education.
Lindai Xie, SOE international ambassador (Courtesy Photo).

What was it like growing up in Guiyang and the Guizhou province?

People call Guiyang the City of Forests. It is famous for its wide forest coverage, diverse ethnic customs, and spring-like seasons. The pleasant weather also makes it one of the best summer resorts. Guizhou province is characterized by Huaxi National Wetland Park, its karst landscape (shaped by the erosion of limestone, and often containing many caves and sinkholes) and its wine culture. Now, Guizhou is home to China’s first big data pilot zone.

Why did you choose VCU SOE?

While I was attending a conference in New York during my junior year as an undergrad, I received a card from Dr. Yaoying Xu. That was the first time I had ever heard about VCU. The second time was when VCU SOE came to my college in Zhuhai for a recruitment visit. That’s when I decided to apply. I got offers from other schools, but I chose VCU because I already had a connection with some of the faculty. I also had an opportunity to work on campus at VCU at the International Educational Studies Center (IESC).

What impressed you most about your M.Ed. in Counselor Education program?

All my professors and classmates are counselors, so they understand me and help me when I encounter difficulties that many international students face, such as culture shock and language barriers. The caring and warm atmosphere has impressed me most about this program.

What led you to pursue your Ph.D. in Counselor Education at VCU SOE?

The quality of the program and the professors' research interests. I already knew how good the counselor education program was from my master's studies. In addition, my research interests are similar to my professors’ interests. I am already working with one of my professors on a research project called Experiences of Students from China Studying at Universities in the United States in 2020.

How did you get involved with the IESC? What activities have you led with the center?

When the SOE faculty recruitment group visited my college in China, they mentioned this new center. Since I am in the college counseling and student affairs track in the counselor education program – and my major is related to higher education and student services – Dean Daire said that I might be able to work at the center. After I came to the U.S., I began volunteering there. Later, I became a student worker helping to recruit international students and acclimate them to life at VCU.

Now I meet with SOE international students and help them overcome academic issues, emotional concerns, or culture shock that they may be experiencing. I work in a peer-mentor program that helps to enable more students to become mentors. It provides new students a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and offers additional resources when they need help. It is a great platform for education majors to practice what they’re learning, to increase their multicultural competency, and to prepare for an increasingly more diverse work environment.

As soon as the spring semester ends, I will return to my home country. Since SOE faculty and recruiters are not able to visit China for international student recruitment due to COVID, I will visit some Chinese universities as a SOE student ambassador and IESC member, to help recruit more international students for the school.

Related article: VCU School of Education strengthening ties with universities in China