Elyssa Tang ’24
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Elyssa Tang

Future English teacher

Most of Elyssa’s classmates in Malaysia spoke Mandarin as their first language, but classes were taught in English. If they struggled with English, then they struggled with all the other subjects. Witnessing her friends’ frustrations led Elyssa to choose English teaching for her major. She plans to become an English or ESL teacher and is open to teaching in whatever country where God leads her. While at Northwestern, she has been involved in the Intercultural Club, NEXT program, discipleship groups, theatre and Summer of Service.


Far from home

Transitioning to Northwestern had its ups and downs, but my experiences helped me grow. Sometimes I did not feel like myself because I was away from home. Thankfully, I could keep in touch with my family and friends through video calls. Distance from home helped me learn that my identity ultimately lies not in what I do or where I am but in Christ. As long as God is with me, I am home.

Gaining understanding

Taking the Introduction to American Culture class helped me process my experience. My professors walked us through the cultural values of the U.S., as well as the countries of my fellow international students. These values have helped me understand why people do certain things and how I can adjust the way I communicate with people here. Because I grew up in a suburban area, attending college in a small town in Iowa was not a problem. I have really enjoyed the safe environment and beautiful scenery. 

Roommate friendship

My roommate is amazing! She loves spending time with people and is a good communicator. Being someone who tends to shut people out when I’m struggling and to keep a lot of things to myself, I really appreciate how she initiated random conversations and affirmed that she was there for me. Building a relationship took time, but now she has become my family, and that has helped in my adjustment to the U.S.

Approachable professors

My professors have been such a blessing to me! Because they are very knowledgeable and approachable, I have enjoyed staying back after class to talk with them or listen to the conversations they have with other students or professors. They constantly encouraged us students to reach out to them if we had any questions about what we are learning or the assignments. When we see each other outside of classes, we wave at each other or have conversations. I feel like I have many dads and moms at Northwestern because I know that my professors care for me.

A second family

My host family has been eager to learn more about me, my family, and how we are doing. Even when we do not see each other often, they constantly check on me through messaging and pray for me. They have also been very supportive of what I do. Whenever they invite me over for meals, they encourage me to bring some friends too. This means a lot to me because they are so generous with what they have and care for my friends. I am very grateful for my host family.

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