1. Why did you decide to study in the USA?
I went to high school in the USA. So, when I graduated from high school, I started looking for universities in the USA. Also, I am interested in the medical and healthcare field, so the USA was a good option.
2. Why did you choose Marian University? What attracted you to the school? What is special about Marian and the Indianapolis area?
When I was looking at schools, I was looking for a small university that was located in a city. I wanted to have small size classrooms and really get to know my professors rather being in a lecture hall with 100 or even 200 students. When I was doing my research, I learned that Marian University is a ten-minute drive from the downtown area of Indianapolis. The average class size is around 20 students, and it has the dual degree engineering program for me to study both Engineering and Biology.
3. What do you like best about your Biology and Biomedical Engineering programs, or Marian University overall?
I really enjoy the class size. In my classes, I personally know my classmates and professors and feel comfortable to stop by office hours for any questions. I also really enjoy the program that I’m in. Marian University has a partnership with IUPUI for a five-year Dual Degree Engineering Program. So, in five years I will receive two diplomas, one from Marian University, and one from Purdue University. Within this program, I am a student at both Marian and IUPUI, so I am able to make personal connections and utilize resources from two very different universities.
4. What do you miss most about China?
The number one thing I miss from home would be the food. Today’s technology is advanced enough to make connecting with families very easy. But nothing is like a good home-country meal after a stressful week. Luckily, there is enough international markets in the Indianapolis area that I can get a quick fix that is similar to my home-country food. But I still miss the environment and the authentic dishes compared to my home-country.
5. What was your biggest surprise about U.S. life and education?
One big thing that I realized was the amount of workload for different majors. I have friends who are majoring in all kind of different fields. But for me personally, I know as a student majoring in Biology and Biomedical Engineering, there is an expectation of my academic performance, I spend hours and hours outside of classes to work on homework, reports, or design projects.
6. ... your biggest disappointment?
This would depend on the location. But I was disappointed in the public transporting system when I first started college. It is very easy to take the train, bus, or taxi in my hometown if I needed to go to places close or far. But the local transportation system is still developing and not as efficient as I was used to. During my time in college, there have been more options in the past few years; shared bikes, shared electric cars, and shared scooters are all additional options.
7. How have you handled:
... language differences?
I personally didn’t experience as bad of language differences as most international students. When you don’t use a language often, the word bank gets a little rusty. But it definitely got easier in couple of weeks with basic communication. If there was any word, phrase, or slang that I’m wasn’t sure of the meaning, I would always ask people around me or just do a quick search on Google.
It is very expansive to study internationally. From tuition, travel, books, and cost of living. Personally, I applied to many scholarships (private or from the school) to help with tuition and other expenses. I’ve worked regularly on campus since freshman year and applied for internships during breaks to gain extra income, but also for the experience.
... adjusting to a different educational system?
No matter where you are from, the transition from high school to college is very different. Secondary education is required to attend classes from around 8 am to 3 pm and often would have homework regularly. However, in college, it is very self-managed. Going to classes or deciding whether or not to study is up to the student. So, it requires more self-discipline and organization skills.
8. What are your activities?
I have been working for 10-20 hours weekly since freshman year (depending on workload and class schedule) with various on campus employments (university library, admission’s office, and student tutor). I am involved in student organization, the international club, the honor society for math and science, and service base club. And I received a grant and participated in a summer study abroad program in South Korea.
9. How easy or difficult is making friends in the USA?
There is no definite ‘easy or hard’ for making friends. It depends on your personality and the people that you meet. From my experience, most people are very friendly and approachable. Also new friends are not limited to USA students, I have decent relationships with my professors, advisors, and fellow international classmates.
10. What are your career goals? How is your U.S. education relevant to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
My ultimate career goal is to work with something that I enjoy doing. As of now, I am very interested in the medical field, problem solving, and how things work. So, with my education in the USA majoring in Biology and Biomedical engineering, I believe that I can contribute my knowledge in the future no matter if the job position is in Asia, Europe, or the Americas.
11. What is your advice to other students from your country who are considering a U.S. education?
Know yourself. Know your plans and goal. Time as an undergraduate student really goes by fast. Before going to college, decide on a major. Explore the major or the field that might interest you, so you don’t have to change majors so many times and risk not graduating in four years. Be dedicated. If you choose to study in another country, it means a lot of self-responsibilities in financial and social aspects. Don’t be shy, people are very nice. Branch out and meet new people, from other countries or from the USA. Don’t just make connections with people from your home country. And most of all, enjoy it. College is short, so study hard but also slow down to smell the roses.