Name: Rentong Wang.
Place of birth: Yuanshi County in Hebei Province, China.
Date of birth: June 10, 1972.
First language: Mandarin Chinese.
Title: Technical specialist in structural and dynamic analysis in heavy-duty engineering at Cummins Inc.
Job duties include: Parts simulation to see what kinds of stresses parts are exposed to so that we can optimize the parts’ functionality and durability.
Came to the U.S. in: 1999 to attend Ohio State University.
Moved to Columbus in: 2004.
Education: Bachelor’s degree from University of Science and Technology in Beijing, master’s degree from Tsinghua University in Beijing and doctorate degree from Ohio State, all in mechanical engineering.
Family: Wife, Fengmin Zhou; two sons, both students at Parkside Elementary School.
Hobbies: I like playing and watching sports. I play badminton, tennis and volleyball, and I like watching soccer and American football, especially Buckeyes and Colts games. We usually get together for the Super Bowl for a party, and we have a little wager to see who can guess the score. I also watch some TV, like “Big Bang Theory,” and I like to read Chinese literature. I also do calligraphy after work to relax.
Q: What was your first job?
The summer after I finished my bachelor’s I worked for an uncle’s construction company, lifting bricks and mixing concrete. It was very labor intensive, and it was basically a way for me to get some exercise over the summer.
Q: How did you come to study in the U.S.?
A lot of my friends had gone to the U.S. to study, so I was curious. The plan was to get an education first, then some work experience and see from there. I got married right before I moved to the U.S.
Q: When you came to the U.S., what did you immediately notice as different from where you had grown up?
I landed in Columbus, Ohio, and was picked up in a car, and the first thing I noticed was that the U.S. is very spacious and not nearly as crowded as China. And that the sky is very clear.
Q: What major challenges did you have to overcome after your move to the U.S.?
When I was in high school and college in China I didn’t have a lot of interest in learning English, and although I studied before I came to the U.S., it was a very difficult adjustment. I could get along in one-on-one conversations, but I probably understood only about 30 to 40 percent of what was on television.
Q: How have you adjusted culturally?
A: My sons are both Americans because they were born here, so they have more readily adopted American holidays, such as Christmas, while to my wife and me, traditional Chinese holidays still hold more meaning. During Chinese holidays we get together with friends and have traditional Chinese food. At Thanksgiving, our kids wanted turkey, so we fixed some. Sometimes we get together with friends during American holidays, and sometimes we also travel. I try to go back to China every other year, and it’s been easier since I’ve gotten a permanent resident card. But it’s more difficult for my sons, because they’re both Americans.
Q: How do you like living in Columbus?
A: I grew up on a farm in a quiet place, and I really like Columbus. Despite its small size, it has a large Chinese community, but not too big. Most people in the Chinese community know one another through Cummins. People in Columbus are very nice and they don’t discriminate against people from other places. And despite its size, it has a lot to offer, such as the architecture. It’s also very neat and organized. The Columbus community is a big part of what keeps me here.
Q: What advice do you have for internationals who are just now moving to Columbus?
A: Get involved in the community, whether through sports or ethnic organizations, because it will help you get to know a lot of people.
Q: Where have you traveled within the U.S?
A: We like to travel a lot, especially into nature. We’ve traveled to Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, Texas, Louisiana, Glacier National Park and Yellowstone, which is my favorite.
Global Columbus is a twice monthly Q&A with members of Columbus’ international workforce. If you know someone we should talk to, contact Boris Ladwig at 379-5712 or firstname.lastname@example.org.