Junior Christina Gu may have grown up thousands of miles away, but Arkansas is as much a home to her today as her birthplace is.
Gu has been a student at UA Little Rock since August of 2016 and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in accounting and is set to graduate in May of 2020.
Originally from Jiaxing, China, a large city with a population of over 4 million, Gu enrolled in a foreign exchange program when she was in high school and soon left for the United States. The host family that chose her lived in Prattsville, a small town in Grant County with a population of about 300. They had a daughter the same age as Gu, and both girls attended high school in nearby Poyen.
“My host family is my second family. My host sister is my sister,” said Gu. “I still go home to China for holidays, but while I’m here they are my home.”
In her first year in Arkansas, Gu developed an interest in accounting from her host mom, a CPA, who introduced her both to what she does in her career as well as how taxes and other financial systems operate in the United States. At Poyen High School, Gu also was mentored by her guidance counselor, who happens to be the mother of UA Little Rock Chancellor’s Leadership Corps Program Coordinator Amber Wolf. Gu soon decided that UA Little Rock was where she wanted to go.
“She told me about UA Little Rock and CLC, and about what her daughter did. When I got here they made everything so easy. Amber, in particular, has made everything less stressful for me, and I’m really lucky to have her here,” said Gu. “I got in touch with International Student Services next. They’re really sweet and they know what they’re doing, and Miss Chloe is my fave!”
At UA Little Rock, Gu has found a place where she can develop academically, professionally, and personally. Aside from CLC, she also joined Chi Omega, which she describes as “the best sisterhood I could ask for.” She has served as president of the Chinese Student and Scholars Association and is currently working toward membership in Beta Alpha Psi, the accounting honor society.
“UA Little Rock is a small campus, but everyone is very kind and welcoming,” Gu said. “I also enjoy the multiculturalism and how everyone here is from a different background. I think it’s great how not everyone here is a traditional student. I’ve gotten to meet so many kinds of people because of that.”
Although her major is in accounting and finance, Gu says that her true passion lies in fashion, in which she hopes to build a career.
“This may sound weird, but I just love fashion,” Gu said. “I love everything from streetwear to high-end things. I’m hoping that one day I can use my business background that I’m getting here to work in marketing or something similar in the fashion industry.”
In her relatively short time here, Gu says that above all else the state of Arkansas continues to impress her, and she plans on staying as long as she can.
“Growing up in a big, crowded city in China I had never seen nature like we have in Arkansas,” she said. “I’m still seeing things every day that really put things into perspective. Little Rock is such a great city, and I’m thankful that I get to study here. I plan on staying involved for as long as and in any way that I can.”