Salt Lake City: I love Salt Lake City because it’s not that big, but it still has many things you can do. There is so much outdoor stuff. You can go on a hike, you can go rock climbing, you can go bouldering, you can go water-skiing during the summer and during winter you can go snowboard and snowshoeing. I really like it.
Advice: The biggest challenge for me was that there were not a lot of people that I know. My ideal situation was to come here and get to know a lot of people, but in reality it was like come here and study by myself. It was really hard to talk to some people and make friends.
Sometimes it takes time [to adjust], be patient and wait for it and still do your best. That helped me and I’m looking back at last year and compared to this year, it’s been a dramatic change. You don’t really see it when you’re in the time, but you’re looking back and it has been fantastic here and I really, really love it so much.
Undergraduate Research: UROP is a fantastic opportunity academic wise because you’re learning something in the classroom, but you don’t really have a chance to apply it. UROP motivates you to explore because you get the money, you get the experience, and you get the presenting experience. You get so much professional knowledge and attitude and demeanor from UROP. It’s a wonderful experience.
The University of Utah: I decided to come to the University of Utah because I wanted to major in science and I heard it’s a great university for science majors with research opportunities. After finishing my bachelors I want to apply for medical school, so I think it’s great to start at the University of Utah, better than other colleges.
Volunteering: The University of Utah is near the hospital and there are a lot of volunteer opportunities in the hospital. I volunteer in the emergency department. Patients come from different cities and even from different states and when they come in, volunteers transport patients to X-Ray and/or MRI, as requested.
Professors: As for chemistry classes, I really recommend Dr. John Heemstra for general and organic chemistry. I like his teaching style, and if there are questions in class he goes over it. Especially for these courses that are very tense, you have to find a good professor because sometimes a professor does not fit with your study habits.
Psychology & Sociology
Living on Campus: I loved living on campus and I would recommend everyone to live on campus the first year. I made most of my friends through classes, but I also made a lot of friends living in the dorms, so I am thinking that is a really good experience because not only are you close to your classes, which is convenient if you sleep in or something, but it is very convenient to live in the dorms and I would definitely recommend it as its close to the food, classes and you meet so many likeminded people and you also meet different people, it’s just this perfect mix and I think it’s a really nice thing to have your first semester.
Biggest Challenge: I would say my biggest challenge on campus was finding my way around! When I read about the University of Utah on Wikipedia it said it was like 30,000 students and you can’t quite comprehend that until you’re actually here because there are so many buildings, there are even shuttles designated to bring you around on campus and I just had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know it was going to be that big.
Advice: The first advice I would give to international students is that during the summer you actually get to pay in state tuition! So pack up your schedule because that is one way to save a lot of money because if you look at the prices out of state tuition can be very intimidating, so I would first try your local government or wherever you may be from to see if they offer any scholarships and also try to take summer classes. The biggest pro-tip I have!
Utah: Although you come to Salt Lake City, don’t just stay in Salt Lake City. Travel Around! Las Vegas is only five hours away, so I went there for my 21 birthday. I know it’s like cliché, but I absolutely loved it. And try and go to southern Utah! Moab is one of the friendliest, nicest, sportiest cities I have ever been in. People are just zip-lining and sky-diving. They are just so sporty down there. So just travel, explore because Utah is more than just Salt Lake City.
International Studies, Global Health
Minor in Business
The University of Utah: I wanted to study international studies at a university with a diverse student body, and as I researched colleges, I found the University of Utah and thought it appeared to be a good choice. Salt Lake City seemed like a comfortable and safe city to live in as well.
Favorite Spot on Campus: My favorite place on campus would depend on the season and the weather. On a warm and sunny day, being outside on the grass feels nice and relaxing. During winter, when it's snowing, or when it’s raining, I like being inside one of the buildings with big windows. I find the big and spacious campus very appealing.
The Hinckley Institute: I have done two internships with the Hinckley Institute. Spending last semester in Savusavu, Fiji as an intern with a nonprofit organization called Help International was one of the most exciting experiences. We worked on sustainable development projects with community partners. During our stay in Fiji, the country was hit and greatly damaged by the biggest cyclone in the history of the southern hemisphere, so we also got to be involved in disaster relief efforts.
Political Science & Business
Adaptation: When I came here everything was different, such as language, food, culture and customs. Various cultures are living in the United States, so that’s tough to adapt to living in United States because everything was different. It’s a very big challenge, but you need to adopt, just try to hang out with American friends, also respect the various cultures.
Salt Lake City: Best thing about Salt Lake City is it’s a cool place, people are nice, kind and quiet and clean, very clean. The environment is perfect, I can see the mountains and I can enjoy hiking, exercise, and skiing. I can focus on studying. So if you really want to study English and learn about American culture, Salt Lake City is the best place.
Living & Working On-Campus: One of my favorite things is living the dormitory. It’s very close to campus, so it’s very convenient and I can use the shuttle. Working on campus is really good experience. I’m not only working for money, I want to gain experience working in the United States. I have worked as security officer at Utah Museum of Fine Art (UMFA) for two years.
New Student: My hardest time was the first week and move-in day. It’s the time when you are trying to know people and you miss your family, so you’re homesick, but it’s also fun to meet people. I still had some language barriers, so it’s just kind of hard for people to fully understand me. Just for a couple of months and then after the first two months, I had my group of friends and then I definitely felt better.
Favorite Spot: My favorite place must be the library. Just chilling, do homework.
Get Involved: During freshman year try to get as much experience as you can, just like join a lot of clubs, go to some events. Try going to Crimson Night, it’s a really fun night to meet people and hang out. Try to get involved in a club that’s going to make you more positive and get you out of your bubble. Get out there and just meet people.
The University of Utah: In China you might not be able to choose your favorite major, so that might be the motivation that pushes me to apply for university in the US. The rank of the engineering, especially electrical engineering is pretty good [at the University of Utah], so that it why I chose this university for study undergraduate studies. I really want to have a strong background and this university will definitely give me that.
Research: I am a research assistant this my first time doing research. I have to say one class that is very useful is technical communication. It gave me the basic process to do research: how you find the paper, how you read it and how you summarize that. Those are the skills I use the most this summer for research.
Adapt: School is not totally about studying, you have to adapt to this country and this study environment. Sometimes the culture here also helps you to study better and no matter how much you have learned in high school, you have to just restart and empty your brain and accept new knowledge.
Advice: Don’t really focus on grades. Especially in China we are really focused on grades and the GPA and that’s really the only thing that you can judge how good you are. That’s a problem, but that’s necessary because in China there are many students. It’s a simple way to judge a student. But here in the US, it’s different because I realized we should pay more attention to the experience and the research skills. What grade you get doesn’t really matter. All my professors said that to me. When you are in an interview, no one will ask you the grade of a specific class, all they care is what you have learned. So that’s what you really need to focus on.
Get Involved: I feel like one of the things that I should have done earlier was get involved more on campus. They are going to be the people who help you out and even if after you get involved and you don’t like it, you can still hang out with the students you met. Just don’t be afraid to make new friends, because lots of the people that I met were super nice and they just want to help you out.
Advice: There is not going to be anybody to tell you what to do in college—like finish your assignment or go hang out with friends, so you have to balance it out. I think for most of the international students, it’s going to be their first place living away from their parents, so it sounds like a lot of freedom. So when you don’t have your parents around, take care of yourself.
Public Transportation: I really like it in Salt Lake City. I like how peaceful it is here and how nice the bus is. I come from a motorcycle country, so I don’t know how to drive a car and I don’t feel comfortable doing that, so the bus is kind of amazing and it’s free for students and it goes mostly everywhere you want to go to, like every corner of Utah. Even when I want to go to Provo, I can take the bus there, so it’s super nice.
Bennion Center: I first heard of the Bennion Center at orientation, so I went to the website and I applied. The first volunteer work that I did was at Re-Store (Habitat for Humanity) and I remember we were making capes for children. I brought my camera and I took some pictures. I showed the pictures to a staff member and she really liked them and then offered me a photography position, which I wasn’t expecting at all. At first I was a bit hesitant, because I was taking a lot of classes, but then I just started because I knew I wouldn’t get another opportunity like this. I went to nearly all of the events and did photo coverage and the experience was amazing. I made a lot of friends that way.
Winter: Salt Lake City has been pretty amazing actually. It’s pretty good here, despite the weather. When I first came here I was not expecting it to be that cold in the winter. It was my first real winter here. I didn’t know that it would get that cold.
Advice: I think the most important thing that incoming international students should know is that they should not take more than 15 credits. I took 17.5 credits and I realized later on that was a really bad idea.
Major: My major is Chemistry and I always wanted to study science, so it was not difficult for me to stick with science. I was in this program called Access Program for incoming freshman girls who were interested in science or engineering and they helped me get involved in a research lab during the second semester of freshman year.
Favorite Spot: I would say that Utah Museum of Fine Arts is my favorite spot. First of all, I think they have the best café on campus and it’s a nice environment to study. I also live on campus, so my apartment is obviously my number one favorite spot.
Speaking English: You just need to have the faith to believe in yourself that you speak good enough English to have somebody else to understand you. You might not speak perfect English, but you need to have the faith that you speak good enough that people will understand you and if you are brave enough to show what’s inside of you, you might find common ground and start a friendship.