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A Partner Assignment: How it Opened My Eyes

Last week, in my ART 255 (digital imaging) class, the professor assigned everyone a random partner to interview and take photos of. I was paired up with an international student – which honestly seemed nerve-wracking at first. I’m from a small town that encompasses limited diversity, so this project definitely introduced a fresh challenge.


I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome.


                                         (photo by Johnny)


We exchanged numbers and decided to meet at his favorite place on campus – the Upham Arch. I approached the situation as just another hang out session between a close friend. Yes, it was awkward for a while – but during genuine attempts to thoroughly engage and ask meaningful questions he became noticeably comfortable. Two hours later, we were in King Library laughing about how greasy, delicious, and unhealthy American food is. He said I was the first American student at Miami University to converse with him for an extended period of time.

I learned so many interesting things pertaining to my new friend, Johnny.



  • born and raised in China

  • he can play the guitar like nobody’s business (even took the time to actually play a few songs for me)

  • IMS major striving to be a video game designer

  • appreciates newfound freedom in America

  • went into detail about native culture

  • cat person (same)

  • misses his mom’s cooking

  • has traveled all over the world (jealous af)

  • loves calm, soft Chinese music


Life Advice: Avoid placing human beings in a box.

Homework: Initiate a raw conversation with someone unfamiliar. Get away from your comfort zone. Your soul will melt with happiness – well, mine certainly did.


Can you imagine walking into Armstrong and spotting mixed cultural friend groups? Maybe one day. Do what scares you. Make a change!


Feature Photo: http://sayquotable.com/images/quotes-images/2-quote-about-the-eyes-are-u…




Sydney Richardson

Miami (OH) '20

An undergraduate student at Miami University (OH) studying media and culture + psychology.
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