Campus Celebrity: Patrick Lung ‘16

After growing up in Toronto, Canada and coming to the South for college, computer science major Patrick Lung is hoping to reconnect with his Chinese heritage and improve his Mandarin through his study abroad experience in Beijing, China this semester. In his interview, the Morehead-Cain scholar opens up about study abroad, his work in entrepreneurship, and his plans for his senior year!

How are you enjoying your study abroad experience so far?

It’s pretty good. Since I was born in Canada to an Asian family, so aside from Asian food I don’t really have really have the Asian culture most people expect me to have. There’s a lot of misconceptions in American western media about China that are totally wrong, and China too. They have a lot of misconceptions about the U.S. When you get to interact and bridge the gap between the two, it’s pretty cool.

What are some of those misconceptions?

Some of my friends ask me, “Do I carry a gun around cause it’s really dangerous?” The only news they get about the U.S. is about the shootings in colleges. The first weekend we went out to the bars and my friend said, “Don’t worry it’s safer in Beijing. No one gets shot in Beijing; it’s fine.”

How are you going to use what you’ve learned from study abroad?

I’ve been learning Mandarin for nine years now. When you only spend two hours a week learning Mandarin, you don’t really get to practice it, so although I know a lot of vocabulary I can’t really think in Chinese. So when I speak Chinese I have to translate [my thoughts] into Chinese and that results in very awkward speaking and very awkward understanding. Since coming to China and speaking Chinese 24/7, I can think in Mandarin. My roommate told me I was sleep talking in Mandarin. That made me really happy. The reason I went abroad was to immerse myself in a new place and have a purpose. I do enjoy technology and hopefully in the future I can work for a Chinese startup.

Patrick at the Li River in China

How are you going to continue doing entrepreneurial work after you graduate?

I think you don’t plan on doing on Entrepreneurship. But yes, there are patterns. It’s one of those things where you find a problem and you just can’t help but want to solve it. I like college because it gives you that kind of safety net. I can go build something and still know that I have classes to go to.

I like product management. That’s something I got to do this summer and I really liked it. It’s where you get to visualize the whole product and make everything come together. That’s something I really enjoy.

What are you going to do make the most out of your last three semesters?

The thing that leaves the most impact on me whenever I leave a new place are the connections I make. I feel like I’m reevaluating my priorities. Sometimes I do close myself off and work on stuff, and I want to make those relationships a bit deeper. I just want to hang out with people, get to know them, and make those relationships more solid.