Qing Qing Li, from China, is taking a Master’s Degree program in Physics at the University of South Dakota

Qing Qing Li, from China, is taking a Master’s Degree program in Physics at the University of South Dakota

Why did you decide to study in the USA?

Studying abroad has always been a part of my bucket list.

Why did you choose this particular college or university?

I knew about the University of South Dakota (USD) through a professor who visited my university in Jing Zhou. I was attracted to USD because it had a program that would allow me to complete a bachelor’s and master’s degree in 5 years.

What do you like best about your university?

It has a peaceful environment and it suits me well, and it does not have the hustle and bustle of a big city.

What do you miss most about home?

My parents’ home-cooked meals. Even though I try to cook with recipes and all the listed ingredients, something is still missing. I also miss public transportation.  I used to take buses, trains, and taxis at home to travel from one spot to another. However, the public transportation in this town in not as developed. Therefore, I have to either walk or ask for a ride.

What was your biggest surprise about U.S. life and education?

I am taking an online class this semester. This is my first experience learning through a screen and without any classmates. It was difficult at first, but once I learned to communicate with professors and classmates with emails and texts, the experience was quite pleasant.

... your biggest disappointment?

The public transportation system and the weather. Since I come from the south, it took some time for me to get used to the cold weather.

How have you handled:
... language differences?

 I am handling the classes well thus far. However, I have to work hard and prep for classes that are heavy with technical terms.

... finances?

I will start to work as a lab assistant in the summer. It comes with a stipend that covers the majority of my expenses living in this town; therefore, I am supported financially by the Department of Physics at USD.

... adjusting to a different educational system?

The education system in China is less demanding than classes in the US system. Friends at home can miss classes on a regular basis and still pass the class if they do well in the comprehensive final test. However, I have to work diligently over here because homework, quizzes, and attendance are assigned throughout the semester.

What are your activities?

I used to visit schools in nearby towns with teachers when I was in the Intensive English Program. We interacted with and learned from the students. I also participated in events hosted by the International Office. However, my schedule keeps me busy this semester. As much as I want to be involved, I placed my priorities in studying.

How easy or difficult is making friends in the USA?

Since I have only been here for a semester, I’ve made a lot of friends in the classes that I’m taking. I enjoy learning and studying with them.

What are your career goals?

I wish to be a physicist and a computer scientist. I have been a physics student, but I have expanded my expertise to computer science as well since I’ve come to the US. I hope to have a career that can integrate knowledge from both fields, but I am open to any working opportunities.

What is your advice to other students from your country who are considering a U.S. education?

I think studying abroad is a great experience for me, and I learn a lot more things than just acquiring knowledge, so if you want to go abroad and have the same experience that I’ve had, you should give it a try!

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