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Paying It Forward

Dec. 17, 2010

By John McEntire


Evan Choi's high school ambitions are evident in his résumé; in addition to being a rigorous academic, he also served as head prefect and treasurer at Pui Ching Middle School in Hong Kong and still found time to volunteer with the Red Cross.

At Baylor, his collegiate ambitions are no less impressive. A dedicated student, Choi pours himself into his classes, but he's equally concerned with making the most of every moment he has here in the United States.

The energetic, self-proclaimed explorer is just as likely to be found at a nearby ranch learning from the Baylor Riding Association or boating at the Baylor Marina as he is tucked away in the library. "I really enjoy Baylor and I like almost everything here," Choi says. "I can read a lot and learn about different subjects. I try to go everywhere, meet new people, learn new things, join different clubs, just try to do something I haven't done before."

Choi found his way to Baylor thanks to another Pui Ching and Baylor graduate, Dr. James Wong, BA '60. Wong recently returned to his high school in Hong Kong to provide a student with the same opportunity he had been given: the chance to attend Baylor. Choi, a sophomore psychology major this fall, is as worthy a student as his benefactor.

Choi could not speak more highly of Wong and his gift that allowed Choi to attend Baylor. "It gives me a new life," he said. "I always wanted to study abroad, but I never dreamed of really studying abroad. Now I am in the United States; now I am at Baylor. It seems to me there is a new road before me with a lot of chances and opportunities that I have never seen or experienced before. There are many, many doors that I can explore more and more."

Choi came to Baylor with a desire for learning and a love for others; in fact, he uses many of the doors that have opened for him to help his fellow students. In both his psychology courses and core classes, he applies what he learns to understanding how people grow, how they develop themselves, and why they react differently. Outside of the classroom, Choi spends his time as a member of a Chinese church in Waco assisting the new exchange students in getting situated and acquainted with the city and university, just as a Hong Kong students' organization did for him last year.

Baylor's focus on a well-rounded education is an important aspect of college for Choi. Already he has immersed himself in philosophy, history, theology and literature, widely reading books of any discipline in his spare time. "Hong Kong universities are focused on a degree, but I prefer the liberal arts. I have a general interest in everything and I don't want to be bound or limited in one area or field. I want to learn everything."

Choi has his sights set high to enter a career as a researcher, counselor or clinical psychologist and to work in the United States, Europe and back in Hong Kong. As a man half a world away from his home, he stresses the importance of a multicultural education, not just for psychologists, but everyone.

"Everyone has their own perspective. By attending a multicultural place or leaving your environment, you can learn from other people and it makes you realize you are not the center of the world."

Today, Choi is one of about 500 international students at Baylor; together, they represent more than 70 foreign countries. China is the number one home country, with about 100 students at BU; other top countries of citizenship include South Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Canada and India. For more on Baylor's offerings for international students, visit www.baylor.edu/cie.

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