Coming to America quot I thought lsquo Wow This place is so friendly and nice quot

Coming to America
"I thought, ‘Wow! This place is so friendly and nice"

GUILDERLAND — Piecing his life back together after false federal allegations, Jun Wang told The Enterprise last week why he came to America in the first place and why he plans on staying.

Wang, a microbiologist, born in Beijing, is not the only scientist in his family. Both of Wang’s parents are also microbiologists and they came to the United States in the 1980’s, when Ronald Reagan was President. They worked on the West Coast and then returned to China.
"They came here and told me great things about this country in the early ’80’s," said Wang.

Wang and his wife, Yu Zhao, met in Beijing.
"She worked with my brother’s friend," said Wang.
"We met when he came back to China to visit," said Yu Zhao.
His brother owns factories in Beijing, says Wang, adding that the only way to make money in China is through business. "My brother has his own business; he’s a businessman," Wang said.

Wang completed his undergraduate studies at the Peking University in Beijing before going to the University of Illinois to pursue a master’s degree and doctoral degree in microbiology.
"I came to this country with $30 in my pocket," said Wang, who managed to enter into a fellowship program in Illinois. "Without the fellowship, I couldn’t get a visa here."

Applying for permanent residency in 2001, Wang was in the final steps of becoming an American. As part of his fellowship, Wang taught undergraduate courses for a year at the University of Illinois.
"It was cool; I got to learn a lot of things," Wang said about his experience there. "I came here as a young man of 23 with my eyes wide open."

When Wang first came to the United States and arrived at his first American college campus, the University of Illinois, he said he instantly fell in love with the place. Remembering his first college experience in the States, Wang recalled walking around a giant campus and not knowing where he was going. With a little help from some friendly Americans, Wang was given a map and sent in the right direction.
"I thought, ‘Wow! This place is so friendly and nice,’" said Wang.

The first American meal that Wang ate was a hamburger.
"I ate at Burger King," said Wang. "I couldn’t even finish one Whopper. Now I can finish two"I love cheeseburgers."

Every St. Patrick’s Day, Wang enjoys sights like the green river in Chicago and a pint or two of green beer, just like most other Americans. This year, however, Wang was being detained by federal agents on March 17, and as he sat in his cell, alone with his thoughts, the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations were a distant memory.
Wang has not been to his native land in six or seven years, he said. Discussing his home-city of Beijing, Wang said it is a very large city that is geographically smaller than New York City, but has a denser population. "It’s like downtown Manhattan with the very tall buildings everywhere.
"With the Olympics coming in 2008, there is a lot of building going on in Beijing right now. It’s modernizing very quickly," said Wang. "I wouldn’t be able to find my way home by myself if I tried."

Wang and his wife, Yu Zhao, have a seven-month-old daughter and will be celebrating their seventh-year anniversary on June 8.
"We’ve been married for almost seven years. See, I remember what day it was," Wang teased his wife, who responded with a grin, "You’d better!"

On a more somber note, Yu Zhao told The Enterprise she was upset about the possibility of being deported, saying, "We just got settled down with our house, and our baby."

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