Meet Your Fellow International Anteater

The International Center is committed to facilitating an enriching college experience for the international community at UC Irvine. Meet Your Fellow Anteater is an opportunity for us to connect international students by highlighting the involvements, accomplishments, and experiences of the outstanding students in our community. Don't be afraid to say "hi" when you see your fellow anteater around campus. 


Max Li

Year: 2nd Year (Class of 2018)
Major: Art
Home Country: China
Native Language: Mandarin Chinese

1. What is your favorite American food/snack?

My favorite American food is Taco. I love how they are small but very different in flavors, and content inside of them. The first city I lived in the US was San Diego, so there were a lot of nice taco places for me to experiment.

2. If you could have a conversation with one person (fictional, living, deceased) who would it be and why?

I would like to have a conversation with Robert Frank, one of the most famous American Photographer who documented the American people at different classes and their sides of living. He is a master in not only street photography, but also being a insightful observer to the world.

3. What are three words you would use to describe yourself and why?

I would use:

Crazy: I am crazy in a way that I would do something right when it comes to my mind. I would jump on a train to Tibet an hour after I thought about it. I am a really improvisor, and would love to put my concepts into action, and start working on them right away. This always make people think I am crazy, and I am crazy in what I love to do.

Adventurous: I love traveling, since I have driven 60 thousand miles in a year an half, cruising all around America. I have visited more than 20 National parks when I traveled in different weather.

Sensitive: I seem crazy, but I am very sensitive about the subtle details about each individual that I confront, and I am very sensitive about the differences between cultures and traditions. I have been working on a photo project that involves spending time with a stranger and taking photos of them and their environments. I have realized how life is amazing but we human are so vulnerable when confronting the aspects of life.

3. Why did you choose to come to UCI for college?

I choose to come to UCI because this is the most ideal school out of the universities that I was accepted. Because of that, I really enjoy the city of Irvine. It is very safe, clean, and filled with Asian food.

4. Who or what inspires/motivates you?

I do have a quote, from the movie Into the Wild, it is:

“And I also know how important it is in life not necessarily to be strong but to feel strong. To measure yourself at least once. To find yourself at least once in the most ancient of human conditions. Facing the blind death stone alone, with nothing to help you but your hands and your own head.” -Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

It pushes me forward to seek for the true passion of my life, and not give up in this process.

5. What are some of your involvements here at UCI?

My involvement will be my photography projects. I have conducted many photo projects, such as giving out disposable film camera and let strangers take photos, then return to me, or setting up photo booth take portraits for strangers and so on. I have a few friends helping me with setting all these projects up, and running them properly. I think being an Art major really helps me to excel in these projects, since I am trained stronger mentally from my courses.

6. What are some similarities and differences that you’ve noticed between your home country and the U.S.?

I have noticed countless differences and similarities between home and US in the past five years of living and studying in the US. One of the most important part is how different people consider “being nice” in the two cultures. Also the evaluation to a person’s characteristics is often very different between the two cultures.

7. What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

I think the challenges that I had was adjusting myself to this world, and open myself up to people, and really start to seek for help in getting me prepared for America. Sometimes we really cannot take care of everything ourselves, and by guessing, or researching will not help us to adapt easier, but only more confused. That’s why I think reaching out to anyone who you think would be helpful, will make things much easier.

8. What is your favorite experience in the U.S. so far?

My favorite experience should be the national parks that I have traveled. I really appreciate the fact that the natural resources are so well taken care of in the US. I could just drive to a remote place and enjoy the tranquil, and peaceful world.

9. What would people be surprised to know about you?

They should be surprised about my photography projects and the miles I have driven.

10. As an international student, what have you learned (or are learning) that has made a difference in your life?

I think what I get the most out of this experience of being in the US, I really get the opportunities of combining the view of this culture to my own Chinese culture. I can looking and evaluate any situations according to my experiences, and make my decisions more precisely. I am more respectful to cultures and the differences of them.

11. What do you want your legacy to be after you graduate from UCI?

I want people to know that one of the greatest story teller, and photographer has studied in UCI. Like Chris Burden, haha!


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