When news first broke of the seven-point-nine magnitude earthquake, Cusheng Tan says he quickly took out his cell phone to call his wife and eight year old son back in China. But for several harrowing minutes, he couldn’t get through.
"So I redialed again and again until I get a connection and I heard my wife’s voice. She’s okay. I called to my parents and to my brothers and my sisters and they are all okay."
Tan is among 18 accountants and tax collectors from China’s Hubei province. They’re spending a year in Sacramento, learning the US tax system at Sac State.
Tan says even though Hubei is about 800 miles away from the quake’s epicenter, his wife could feel the shaking…
"…also my son experienced the shaking at school but the instructor ordered all the students ‘go out, go out’. So all the students came out to the playground so they are safe."
Tan says it’s been hard to watch images of the disaster on TV.
"I looked upon the victims as my own relatives…my parents, my kids."
The Hubei students live together in recently built lofts close to Sac State. Yang Liu, another student, says they’re eager to help the victims.
"We’re very worried about those people in those affected areas and we are considering contributions whatever we can do for them."
The Hubei students are mobilizing to set up a disaster relief fund. One of the other students, Ceng Xiang, says they’re anxious to get back to China.
"We are missing home now very much…we want to get home."
The students finish their studies at Sacramento State this summer. They’re scheduled to return to China on July 12th.