Chinese import shines

The change from high school to college can mark the beginning of a lot of firsts for the average student. For some, it is the first time they are living away from their parents, for others it is the first time they are able to drive to school, but for one student, the firsts are a little bit more drastic.

Hui Ping Huang is a freshman student from Shanghai, China and is the first volleyball player to be recruited directly from China to St. John’s. Huang has had to deal with both cultural differences, as well as language barriers.

“In China, the culture is more reserved, and America is more liberal,” Huang said. “At first it was very difficult, but Bernadette Lee who is the director of Asian studies [at St. John’s], helped a lot with my off-campus life.”

In addition to being helped by Lee, Huang is also helped by mentors who have become more of a second family to her. Her primary mentor is Marcus Cheung, and he has been by her side to assist her in assimilating American language and society since the middle of August.

“I see how far she has progressed,” said Cheung. “At first I had to help her with basic things like spelling and pronunciation.”

With everything seeming to be so new and different, one would think that the lone constant would be volleyball. Huang has even noticed a change in the style of play between the two countries though.

“In China, they stress the mental aspect of the game,” Huang said. … “Over here they stress the team aspect more, and I think that it has helped me become a more complete player.”

The 6-foot-2 Huang has registered double-digit kills and points in three of the last four matches, and led the team in scoring against DePaul (18.0), Notre Dame (26.0), Seton Hall (23.5).

“I spend most of my time in training and improving myself,” Huang said. “Studying is my major concern, and that goes for school, and game film-I just want to make everyone proud of me.”