From China to Michigan: Yaqin Wang’s Story

For Yaqin Wang, music goes beyond the four walls of a university; it connects her to family and provides a platform to create and experience new opportunities.

Like most of her generation, Wang was the only child in her family. Her mother was a high school English teacher and her father was an accountant.

Her father loved music, but when he was young his family didn’t have the money to give him piano lessons. When Yaqin was born he made sure she would have the chance that he did not.

At just 5-years-old, Wang was introduced to piano. She says it was difficult because she was so young.

“The period was tough because the average child wants to play outside,” she said.  “No child wants to always sit on the bench and practice piano all day.”

After graduating from high school, Wang completed her undergraduate studies in Shanghai. During that time she was trying to figure out what she wanted to do with her career. She applied to schools in Germany and learned German, but her efforts were to no avail.

“It’s a long story, but instead of going to Germany I came here to the U.S.,” she said. “But, there is another reason I am here at Central Michigan University.”

Wang had applied to many schools in Michigan; however Central Michigan was the only university to offer her full assistance.

“If I would have gone to another university it would have cost my family a lot of money,” she said. “I am lucky because everyone here is nice to me.”

Wang has had great experiences within the School of Music, but after having problems with her hand, she was unsure if she’d be able to continue.

“Recently I’ve experienced a problem with tendonitis in my finger,” she said. “It started during practice and it would begin to hurt.”

Wang rested for a few weeks by taking a break from her job and the piano. She was afraid she wouldn’t be able to play anymore, but after seeing her doctor and taking proper precaution, she was able to recover. Her family couldn’t be more proud of her persistence and determination. Wang says her parents are extremely supportive.

“My parents support me the most and are happy with the career I’ve chosen,” she said.

Wang says she also has support from Dr. Zhi-Hua Tang, a Central Michigan music professor who reached out to her.

“When I first arrived she picked me up from the airport and I stayed with her for a week,” Wang said. “To me, it’s not hard to fit in another country if you have someone take care of you.”

After obtaining her master’s degree, Wang plans on pursuing a doctorate’s degree. She loves living in the United States and plans on staying here.

“I don’t want to go back (to China).  I love it here and plan on moving my parents here once I get settled,” she said.

What she loves most about living here is the freedom.

“I believe I can live on my own, work and have my own car,” she said. “The air is fresh and people can get more chances at a fair opportunity, I can also have a big family.”

Through every challenge Wang has faced, she says life is too short to give up on dreams.

“Life is short. We should feel lucky that we are young and still have some time left. We need to grab time,” she said. “When I was a kid I started to have many many dreams.  We can never forget our dreams and should work hard to make them true.”