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Top 8 tips for studying abroad in the U.S.

 

  • Know Your Personality and Find a Balance

It is essential that you know what kind of person you are before you go to study in another country. While some people think that extroverted people might be easier and quicker to adapt to a new environment than introverted people, it does not matter too much whether you are extroverted or introverted. What really matters is how to overcome challenges and how to cope with hard times, especially when you are alone without your family and friends. In order to gain a rewarding study abroad experience, you need to find a balance in your life. For example, have a plan in your mind on how to balance academic work and extracurricular activities, etc. Last but not least, talk to yourself whenever is needed. Ask yourself before you go to sleep what I did today, what I need, or anything that makes you feel comfortable.

 

  • Be Open Minded and Learn from the People Around You

In order to know yourself better, you might try out new things and learn from the people around you. Get more exposure to people who are different from you. Don’t limit your perspective merely on your judgment. For example, if you were a Chinese international student, you might find a “Free Hug” sign is strange and would not accept it. However, some Americans might be offended by this reaction and think you are rude. This is very relevant because you encounter different cultures during you study abroad experience.

 

  • Know what you are looking for in your major 

While most of studies are internationally recognized, some do not. For instance, if you study law in the US and want to go back to your own country after you graduate, you might consider whether what you’ve learned and the policies in these two countries are compatible or not. Before deciding to choose your major, you might ask yourself whether you want to work in your country or find a job in the US after you finish your studies.

 

  • Know the Culture

It is always beneficial for you to know the culture of another country before you go. For example, watch football or basketball even if you do not play them. Talking about sports in the US is an icebreaker in a conversation and may also help you get involved with your American peers.

 

  • Learn to be independent

Studying abroad may be the first time you travel far away from your home and leave your parents and friends for a long time. Your parents could help you whenever you need when you are with them. However, in a foreign country, you have to do most of the things by yourself, such as moving your stuff to a new apartment, taking care of yourself while you are sick, and etc. Homesickness is common especially during a holiday or a festival, but do not let homesickness be your burden and prohibit you from looking forward. To cope with homesickness, like what I did the first time I came to the US, I talked a lot to my counselor and set up some meetings with her. After a week, I felt better and could focus on my studies. Also, try to make new friends during your lunchtime or dinnertime, get more involved with your studies, and find a hobby through playing sports or music, etc.

 

  • Be Yourself and Don’t Assimilate

While this topic is controversial, my opinion is that to find an eclectic way in the culture where you come and the culture where you are.  It is unnecessary to force yourself to be Americanized and forget your own cultural root.  Rather, be yourself and don’t assimilate. Challenge yourself anyhow and tell your American peers that you are equally good. We are no different.

 

  • Language is not a Barrier  

While you might concern, “My English is not fluent”, “I cannot write well in English”, “I feel difficult to understand lectures in English”, how could I resolve these difficulties?  Here are some suggestions:

  1. Don’t feel embarrassed if your English is not good.
  2. Say something! – No matter how your accent sounds.
  3. Don’t feel frustrated if someone said your English is awkward.
  4. Practice writing in English as much as you can in your journal.
  5. Learn cultural idioms and jokes. See more on this page: wspucla.wordpress.com
  6. Be proud of your study abroad experience since not many get the opportunity. You are at least a bilingual speaker!

 

  • Have a Dream and Focus on the Present

Many people have great ambitions and expectations before they study abroad. However, after they experience the reality of studying abroad, they may find that there is a huge gap between their expectations and reality. Although it sounds somehow disappointing, still many people gain a fuller experience of studying abroad. Your thoughts and your dream might change with the influence of the cultural differences, your immediate circle, and the time you spend with yourself when you are alone. Focus on the present, adjust your changes, and embrace your dream to support you during hard times.

6,589 total views, 20 views today

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A statement from Asian Pacific Coalition at UCLA:

“On Wednesday, February 5, 2014, students were alerted of an anonymous document sent to the UCLA Asian American Studies Center containing what can only be described as a collage of sexist slurs and racial epithets. Referencing language and imagery from an incident during Fall Quarter 2012, where a sign stating “asian women R Honkie white-boy worshipping Whores” was posted outside the UCLA Vietnamese Student Union Office, the document makes a deliberate effort to induce hurt and to provoke a response. It would be foolish to assume otherwise.

So, here is our response.

This is not merely a reaction to the specific document sent to the UCLA Asian American Studies Center; it is a response to the wider and more troubling issues of campus climate here at UCLA. At what point must we decide that we have ignored ample incidents of harassment, profiling, and discrimination to act upon our outrage? Why, when the Asian Pacific Islander community at UCLA has been targeted time and time again, has the University made no significant actions to demonstrate its commitment to supporting its students?”

Press Release: DisturbingCollagePressRelease-4

 

6,809 total views, 14 views today

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Stuck on gift-giving ideas? Low on money, but still want to show someone that you care about them during the holiday season? Have no fear! Luckily, from surveying different students on campus, it’s usually not the price tag that counts. You don’t have to buy anything fancy, so long as you plan ahead and get creative!

This is the second of a series of questions to come under a new survey started by Pacific Ties. Our goal with this project is to collect a variety of responses that represent the diversity of Asian Pacific Islander students on UCLA campus, providing insight into the present lives of API students and how cultural influences or other factors play a role in their lives. We seek to de-stigmatize students of color and to challenge common stereotypes surrounding Asian American identity. Our purpose is to form a strong connection with and between different Asian American communities and to project the voices of Asian Pacific Islander students at UCLA.

Question of the week: “What’s the best gift you ever gave?”

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Here are the responses we collected:

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Andy Le, first-year Business/Economics student

“A sense of pride for my family for being the first one to go to college. But if it was a material gift, it would be Roshe shoes.”

Christina Lim, fourth-year, International Development Studies student
Christina Lim, fourth-year, International Development Studies student

“In my staff, we were having Secret Santa. [The person I got] she’s the kind of person that always wanted to start card-making or scrapbooking, but she never had the time to go out and buy it. So, [for me] it was the perfect time to actually buy everything. I went to Michael’s and got a box and filled it with stamps, card-making, and scrapbook making stuff. And then when she got it, she was very surprised. It was so cute ’cause you could tell now she could start it. That would be the best present I gave. It was the thought that was in it.”

Carter Kim, fourth-year Political Science student
Carter Kim, fourth-year Political Science student

“I folded a thousand cranes to my girlfriend, and I gave it to her in a really big jar. It was for Valentine’s Day. I started folding from Christmas to Valentine’s Day, and I finished it in two months.”

Kristeen Chu, fourth-year Sociology student
Kristeen Chu, fourth-year Sociology student

“The best gift I’ve ever given was a blanket that I made (so it’s the first time I ever made this blanket). I’ve always wanted to make it, so I made it for my boyfriend for Christmas.”

John Murphy, first-year graduate student in Statistics
John Murphy, first-year graduate student in Statistics

“I think maybe a computer. I gave it to my friend as his birthday gift. I just knew he wanted a new computer. His old one was broke and no good.”

We’re also interested in hearing what you think! Leave a response in the comments below, or suggest a question to ask. The question(s) can be something you want to ask the current Asian American population on campus (what they think about a certain issue or topic). If we choose to use your question, we will credit you at the beginning of that post. Stay tuned for our next round. This is a bi-weekly project and survey of Asian American students on UCLA campus.

**In order to produce a more accurate representation, we collect all responses to show the diversity and/or uniformity of Asian American students at UCLA and what they think about a certain issue or topic.

48,787 total views, 26 views today

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Gobble gobble! Hope everyone’s enjoying their Thanksgiving, a much needed break to rejoice in the company of the people you care about or even to have a moment to yourself. This is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the things we appreciate, the big and the little things we have that not everyone else may have. Some people are able to have the day off of school or off of work, which means that they are fortunate to be in school or to be employed. Some people don’t even have this day off, especially with Black Friday sales starting earlier than ever (Walmart opens at 6:00pm Thursday). So, we at Pacific Ties thought it’d be a good gest to find out what Asian Pacific Islander (API) students on UCLA campus appreciate on a random day basis. By interviewing different API students at UCLA, the Pacific Ties team found that there’s a lot of things to be grateful for.

This is the first of many questions to come under a new survey started by Pacific Ties. Our goal with this project is to collect a variety of responses that represent the diversity of Asian Pacific Islander students on UCLA campus, providing insight into the present lives of API students and how cultural influences or other factors play a role in their lives. We seek to de-stigmatize students of color and to challenge common stereotypes surrounding Asian American identity. Our purpose is to form a strong connection with and between different Asian American communities and to project the voices of Asian Pacific Islander students at UCLA.

Question of the week: “What are you grateful for today?”

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Here are the responses we collected:

Bay Bui, fifth-year Sociology student
Bay Bui, fifth-year Sociology student

“Today? I just kind of try to live life in the present. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of existentialism. Pretty much my philosophy in life: I try to give thanks everyday to the ordinary things ’cause I feel like not a lot of people give thanks, and I just try to be grateful for all the minor things - not the big things. I mean, just the fact that I broke my leg twice at UCLA, so I was using the OSD van and it’s really rough cause y’know the whole campus is a hill. So, I give thanks that I can walk every day; I give thanks I can see every day; I give thanks I can hear every day. Once you give thanks to the minor things, all the non-minor things become irrelevant, pretty much. I’m a total hippie, huh.”

Julia Tran, third-year MIMG student
Julia Tran, third-year MIMG student

“I think especially with the typhoon that just happened and also some posts I’ve seen on Facebook talking about how a lot of people’s family members have died, I think right now I’m most thankful for my family members and my friends who are with me right now just because I know they might not be there all the time every single day. So, it’s something that people lose track of on a day-to-day basis just because they’re caught up with midterms and stuff like that.”

Kenji Chawla, first-year undeclared Political Science student
Kenji Chawla, first-year undeclared Political Science student

“I like this weather. I mean, I like the fact that I get to be in a good college in a nice place. All my friends are dealing with snow back home [in New Jersey]. It hit 90 today so that’s chill. I’m just glad that I can have a stable sort of life as opposed to some people who can’t.”

Jessica Nyon, a first-year Bio-chemistry student
Jessica Nyon, first-year Bio-chemistry student

 “I think I’m most grateful for my roommates on campus and because things have been going on in my home and they’ve been there, and also I guess all the stuff that we have on UCLA that I don’t really know about ’cause I just found out about these services that I have access to. And it’s really nice cause it helps me feel set for the future.”

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Thien Truong, third-year Biology student

“I’m grateful to have an opportunity to go to school.”

Erika Yoon, first-year Math / Applied Science student
Erika Yoon, first-year Math / Applied Science student

 “I’m grateful for friends and family who are with me even though they’re far away. And I’m grateful for their support and helping me study – cause I just had a midterm today!”

James Lin, second-year Psychobiology student
James Lin, second-year Psychobiology student

“Today I’m grateful that I have very good friends and my family who support me, especially when there’s a lot of stress going on. I feel like having good friends makes life worth doing.”

Amy Lee, first-year undeclared Engineering student
Amy Lee, first-year undeclared Engineering student

“I’m always grateful for my family. They’re always really loving and supportive in everything I do.”

We’re also interested in hearing what you think! Leave a response in the comments below, or suggest a question to ask. The question(s) can be something you want to ask the current Asian American population on campus (what they think about a certain issue or topic). If we choose to use your question, we will credit you at the beginning of that post. Stay tuned for our next round. This is a bi-weekly project and survey of Asian American students on UCLA campus.

**In order to produce a more accurate representation, we collect all responses to show the diversity and/or uniformity of Asian American students at UCLA and what they think about a certain issue or topic.

175,516 total views, 62 views today

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On the evening of November 22, 2013, the Typhoon Haiyan Relief Committee – comprised of the Mabuhay Collective, various student organizations on campus, the USAC Office of the President, and various Pilipino UCLA faculty members – banded together to put on the Typhoon Relief Benefit Show. After a long week of fundraising for victims of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda on Bruin Walk, students, faculty members, alumni, and families alike gathered together on Friday night at Covel Grand Horizon to enjoy performances from various students and organizations on campus to culminate their week’s worth of hard work.

The set list included a diverse melange of spoken word performers, various dance groups, solo vocal artists, acapella groups, and storytellers who were all rallying for the relief effort for people affected by the typhoon. Some performances lamented for the victims of the storm while others urged for fortitude for the survivors and for the community that had been formed in response to the typhoon. Each performer had a personal story to share with the audience, and they all shared bravely through various creative outlets.

Nicole Ngaosi, a member of the financial committee of the relief collaboration, commented on the impact of the show on her: “The most beautiful part of the show for me was seeing performers allow themselves to be vulnerable. Regardless of how prepared they were – nothing is more powerful than having someone share something so intimate with complete strangers and to have strangers be so receptive to it – to be so moved because they took their performances and stories as their own.”

Performances were all in the name of the relief effort that UCLA students have been working diligently for as, though admission was free, donations were being graciously accepted near the entrance of the ballroom. As one looked around the ballroom of the event, one could see people of varying ages, ethnicities, and statuses, all gathering for a single cause.

This event was not the climactic end of a relief campaign but rather the mellifluous battle cry, rallying the beginning of a collective struggle. As Ngaosi declares, “it’s easy to give up, but it’s important to realize that we need to take it upon ourselves and really embody the resilience of the Filipino people – to maintain that warrior spirit in times of tragedy and come together”.

Promo video for the Benefit Concert:

 

56,136 total views, 12 views today

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Early this morning at UCLA, student groups Vietnamese Student Union (VSU) and American Red Cross at UCLA have gathered on Bruin walk to fundraise for Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) relief aid.

Considered a category 5 with the most dangerous wind speed, Typhoon Haiyan is recorded as one of the strongest cyclones to hit land. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, more than 10,000 casualties have resulted from Typhoon Haiyan hitting the Philippines and entering into Southeast Asia, leaving millions of people without homes, food, or water.

To help raise relief aid for the people and families afflicted by this natural disaster, VSU is selling “Vietnam ♥” jars. Each jar is designed with a hand-painted drawing of Vietnam, laced with a red ribbon, and topped off with a bamboo hat. Further, the purpose of the jar is for the donor to collect more money for relief aid. VSU proceeds will go toward GlobalGiving Foundation and provide emergency disaster care and long-term relief for victims.

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In addition, the American Red Cross at UCLA are on Bruin walk with posters and donation boxes to collect relief fund that will go towards food, clean water, shelter, and other necessities. 

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To learn more about how to help, visit this article posted by the New York Times.

93,124 total views, 54 views today

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