HOMETOWN: GUANGZHOU, CHINA
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LOS ANGELES
STUDYING: INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Why did you come to the U.S. to study?
While studying in the U.S., I would have time to experience the diverse culture and form friendships and connections with people with diverse cultural backgrounds. And I can practice speaking English in daily life.
Being of Asian descent, I’m inherently intrigued by the conflicts and resolutions that exist between my historical and current homes. I feel torn at times on tradition, philosophy, religion, perspective, and I hope to become a bridge between opposing cultures as I move through life. An education in the U.S. will fortify me with the intellectual tools to navigate difficult professional and personal situations that I will surely come across in this complex world.
How did you choose UCLA?
I took a six-week summer session program at UCLA. After exploring the campus, I realized that I really like the atmosphere here. I found that there are opportunities related to my academic interests, such as communications, international relations, international development studies, anthropology. The career center at UCLA provides enriching resources such as internship programs,.
And I want to experience the Los Angeles metropolitan lifestyle.
How did you choose your major?
I would like to become an international journalist in the future, and I believe that it is important to have knowledge of different subjects in order to have a broad world view and be open-minded. The International Development Studies major requires students to take classes from different disciplines in order to have a wide-range perspective.
Do you live on campus?
Yes, my dorm has 68 students on my floor. I have one roommate — a local student from Southern California.
Royce Hall is UCLA's performing arts center. (Courtesy UCLA)
Do you ever feel homesick?
I felt homesick when I first moved to college. My father works in Guangzhou, China, but he comes to the U.S. to visit me every year. In my first year of college, my father and I made phone calls almost every day. My father would encourage me and provided me with great suggestions to deal with difficulties.
My mom is living in Irvine, California, so we meet pretty often. If my mom is not busy with her business, she comes to visit me during weekends and brings healthy homemade food.
What do you think of American food?
I think American’s food is as diverse as its culture. I like the tuna sandwich. One time during my midterm week, I had tuna sandwiches every day for lunch. Vegetables and fruits are very fresh, especially in California. I have salad and fruit daily.
How do you spend your free time?
I like public speaking … and I joined the Bruin Toastmasters. This organization provides me opportunities to present speeches and have group discussions
I also like performing arts, so I joined the Chinese Cultural Dance Club on campus. My teammates and I are practicing a dance piece weekly. We will perform the dance at the cultural night (on campus).
To improve my leadership skills, I joined the Bruin Leader Program this year. While attending different workshops and seminars, I participate in different activities and discussions that provide opportunities to cooperate with other student leaders.
What’s your advice on the best way to make American friends?
My advice would be join the associations/clubs of the fields you are interested in, such as theater, art, sports, music, community service. It is also important to attend different activities on campus, including sports games, concerts and theater performances.
What surprised or disappointed you most about the U.S.?
I am kind of disappointed that it is not very convenient to go off campus to dining, shopping and traveling without driving a car. Even though I have a driver’s license, I do not really like driving, especially on freeways. It is not easy to drive on LA freeways during rush hours.
What’s the strangest or funniest thing that’s happened to you since coming to UCLA?
Before I entered college, I heard of “Freshman 15” (the number of pounds many freshman gain). However, I did not pay much attention to that because I thought my diet was very healthy and I did exercise regularly, such as dancing and swimming. Unfortunately, in my first year I did gain weight because it was kind of stressful to adjust to a new environment. I stayed up late, did not exercise enough and ate a lot of snacks and sweets.
What do you know now that you wish you had known before you came to America?
I wish I had known that public speaking is a very important skill. Public speaking is widely used in daily life in the U.S., from conversations to group discussions, from presentations to interviews. I wish I had spent more time practicing public speaking and put more efforts into correcting my pronunciation before I came to the U.S.
What are the 3 best pieces of advice you would give to students from your home country about studying in America and choosing a school?
1. While choosing a school, it is important to consider the major rather than only considering the school ranking.
2. Follow your passion and dreams.
3. Practice public speaking and learn team cooperation — not only because you need to do many presentations and group projects in college, but also because these are important skills for your social and career development.
What are your plans for after graduation?
I would like to pursue a career as an international journalist. I hope to travel to different places around the world and make TV programs and host an interview-type program so that I can hear people’s unique stories and communicate with audiences on a larger scale. I plan to look for jobs in Hong Kong or Beijing.