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Morning Sun
  • SMALL WORLD: Ambassador's daughter

  • Chiluchile Mwape is unlike most other international students. When she goes to visit her family, she visits an entirely other country than where she is from. Her father is the Zambian ambassador to China. Do China and Zambia have many political ties?

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  • Chiluchile Mwape is unlike most other international students. When she goes to visit her family, she visits an entirely other country than where she is from. Her father is the Zambian ambassador to China. Do China and Zambia have many political ties?
    “I didn’t know they did, either until my dad got appointed,” Chiluchile said. “And then when I go to visit them, I go to China now and then I come straight here, which makes me even more homesick.”
    Chiluchile is the only student at Pittsburg State from her home country of Zambia. More than 40 international countries are represented at Pittsburg State.
    There are a lot of misconceptions about Africa that Mwape has had to fight. But one of the biggest problems is that few people have known much about her home country.
    “Zambia used to be known for copper,” she said. “I don’t know what it is known for now. People have asked me if we have animals all over the place and I say no. You’re not just going to walk outside and find animals running around.”
    Another problem is that most people don’t know much about African political geography.
    “Everybody thinks Africa is one big country,” she said. “There are some big differences between Kenya and Zambia. It’s not the same at all.”
    Mwape decided to come to PSU for an education experience that she could not get in Zambia.
    “I came for the school and education,” Mwape said. “It’s affordable, I think. The first reason you want to come to America is the cool factor. As compared to the schools back home, there are only two universities. There are a lot of places here.”
    She attended school at Crowder College in Neosho for a few years before coming to Pittsburg. She is studying biochemistry and plans to attend pharmacy school after she graduates in May.
    “I’d love to go back home. I feel they may need more help than here. I’ll be needed back home,” Chiluchile said. “They need doctors and nurses and pharmacists there. The health department is just short of people. The country needs so many people.”
    She’s noticed plenty of differences between America and Zambia.
    “Zambia is a very small country, ony 11 million,” she said. “So there are not to many places to visit. If you come here, there are so many options. You can go wherever you want to go.”
    Her hometown in Zambia is the capital, Lusaka. Pittsburg is a far cry from the capital.
    “The fact Pittsburg is kind of a little town is nice, so you mostly deal with students. There are no distractions. It’s a good school. It serves its purpose.”
    Page 2 of 2 - One of the biggest differences she has noticed is the education styles between the two countries.
    “We have very different educational systems. The teachers really help you here,” Mwape said. "Back home, the teachers come out and teach, and you have to do all your work on your own. I’m not complaining. The system back home is harder than here, I think.”
    The biggest complaint of international students is about the difference between food from their home country and food in America. Mwape is no exception.
    “We eat everything with nshima — a cornmeal of sorts. We eat it with chicken, beef, everything,” Chiluchile said. “There are no hamburgers or anything like that. We have pizza, we just don’t eat it every day.”
    Mwape has made a lot of friends here, many through the International Student Association. She said the group has helped her meet people with similar points of view.
    “It’s easier to relate to them than American students, because they know this is not home for you,” Chiluchile said. “I think everybody has their own different culture. There are jokes that I can say that no one will understand. In Zambia, somebody would get it, though.”
    Andrew Nash can be reached at andrew.nash@morningsun.net or by calling 231-2600 ext. 132.
     

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