Joy Li


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Sixioa, or Joy as she is better known at Geneva, is a second semester freshman studying Computer Engineering. Coming from Shanghai, a city of 24 million, to Beaver Falls wasn’t too difficult for her. “I went to high school in New Zealand, which is a small place. Coming to Beaver Falls was smaller but I still like it.”

“When I came here, I was really glad to make friends that have the same faith. We can encourage each other and grow faith better because faith grows better when you are in a group, in a community.”

Joy finds that being in a small place fosters relationships that might not have gone anywhere in a bigger environment. She has both made friends with America and Chinese students she might not have otherwise. “That's one thing I appreciate about coming to a small college: you have to get to know people. You really know each other! And it just works really well for me.”

Going to high school in New Zealand was difficult. “the people were friendly, but that doesn’t mean you will have friends.” She was terribly homesick at times.

When she came to Geneva, she kept waiting for the night she would call her parents in tears, telling them how homesick she was. She says with a laugh, “it hasn’t happened.” She was also worried that coming to Geneva in January would be difficult, but she found it was “actually beneficial.” Because there were less new freshman coming in with her, “we had to talk to each other and we eventually became friends.”

Geneva appealed to Joy because she was looking for a Reformed Christian college. She wanted somewhere that would challenge her to think critically, and not just recite facts. After hearing about the school from someone in her church, she decided to look into Geneva. Though considering a couple of schools, Joy ultimately choose Geneva because the admissions team was the most prompt. “It's just the way we chose and I don't regret it,“ said Joy.

Joy has found the professors and students very welcoming. “Before holidays professors will reach out and say, ‘Hey, do you have a place to stay over break? Do you want to stay at my house?’” Joy appreciates how many activities Geneva provides, and the way that students make their own fun. “We went to free bowling last Friday and then … we went to Joseph’s place, to make dumplings!”

When thinking about why she is here at Geneva, Joy reflected on her upbringing. In China, she didn’t really know anyone who was a Christian. In New Zealand, some people said they were Christians, but only seem to be nominal ones. However, “When I came here, I was really glad to make friends that have the same faith. We can encourage each other and grow faith better because faith grows better when you are in a group, in a community.”

After graduation, Joy may go to graduate school, but ultimately plans to go back to China. “I want to go back to China to serve.”

~Annie Dawson 2020