Where in the World is Miami Wednesday: Meet an International Student from Hong Kong

McNeil and her field hockey teammates

By Fatimata Ndiaye & Halie Best

In this week's, Where in the World is Miami Wednesday, we meet Kristen McNeil, a senior international student from Hong Kong. She's double majoring in Public Health and Geography.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I am Kirsten McNeil, a senior from Hong Kong double majoring in Public Health and Geography. I am a current member of the Miami Field Hockey Varsity Team as well as the Hong Kong Women’s National Hockey Team. I love adventures and trying new things! After graduation, my hope is to pursue my career in education and teach in the US.

How did you get to know about Miami University and what made you choose it?

I didn't know about Miami University until the opportunity of playing Field Hockey for the school came around, my recruitment process started and made a visit to campus in the fall during my senior year. Once I saw the campus, the people that I met, the environment, and faculty and education programs that are provided, I just knew that this place was going to be my home for the next four years. It felt right and MU felt like my home.

What has been your most memorable experience (s) at Miami University?

Winning the MAC Championships and Tournament and being able to go to the sweet 16 round of NCAA tournament two years in a row in 2017 and 2018! The feeling of hard work has paid off, representing Miami in the MAC and NCAA, and making school history, its best experience ever and there are no words to describe that feeling.

What has been the biggest difference between your home country and the U.S.?

The kindness and openness of American people for sure! Everyone in America is so nice and welcoming, things like the morning greetings, asking ‘how are you’, saying ‘have a great day!’ and opening the doors for people was a huge culture shock when I first came my freshman year. These gestures don’t really happen at home.

What has been the biggest similarity between your home country and the U.S.?

I believe it would be how we love to celebrate our festivals. We love to celebrate Chinese New Year and that goes on for a couple of days, or other Chinese festivals such as the Dragon Boat Festival. We do various different activities with friends and family, have a big dinner and gathering. It’s just like Thanksgiving, Christmas and 4th July in America.

What organizations are you involved with on campus, and why?

Kristen and two friendsI am a member of the Miami University Field Hockey Varsity Team, Best Buddies, OMA and International Leadership Council (ILC). I got recruited to play for Miami while I was in high school, and MUFH has been a part of me since then. I got involved with Best Buddies and Open Minds through Arts (OMA), as I wanted to be more involved with spreading awareness and educating the public about individuals suffering from Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD), and elders who suffer from dementia. ILC is still a new organization and I am lucky to be part of that, and our main purpose right now is to let other organizations on campus know that we can help offer funding and bridge the gaps between different international organizations.

What does Love & Honor mean to you?

Love means that I am able to pursue my passion while holding myself accountable. I honor the ‘Miami’ jersey that I put on before every game, practice by working hard, and make sure that myself and those around me succeed.

What do you like to do for fun?

I love hanging out with my friends and going on car ride adventures outside of Oxford. Sometimes just hanging out on the porch swing or watch reality TV is also a great ‘fun’ down time for me too, as it's a great way to relax and distressed from the senior academic life. I like to bake too, but I’m not the best baker so I don't bake as often as I would like.

What is your favorite place to eat on campus?

Haines’ in Armstrong for sure! I can make my own custom salad just the way I like it, and there are so many ingredients and choices to choose from. And of course, Starbucks at Withrow, who doesn't like a nice refreshing cup of coffee before the start of class?

How has Miami’s focus on a liberal arts-based education helped you?

Kristen and a friendMiami has helped and encouraged me to pursue my ideas and interest and any way possible, from my peers to my professors. Miami has taught me to think from various perspectives and think from both sides of the argument, which I absolutely love. My opinions and ideas are always respected, and I know I will always have the support from the faculty.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering pursuing their education at Miami University?

Go for it! Miami University is truly a unique place where all kinds of experience and opportunities are available to you. The types of organizations and opportunities available can be overwhelming, but if you do your research and know your interest, the experiences and friendships you’ll make will be life changing!


Catch us next week as we continue to travel around the world to feature the amazing opportunities that Miami students are taking and the experiences our alumni have had since graduating!

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