An International Freshman’s Reflections on Life at Berkeley

An International Freshman’s Reflections on Life at Berkeley

One of the best ways to figure out what school is right for you is to hear from other students about their experiences. I interviewed Zhoushu, a student at University of California – Berkeley, who told me about the incredibly diverse campus, his inspiring classes, and his best advice for aspiring applicants.  Here is the full interview: Name: Zhoushu Country: Japan College: University of California – Berkeley Class: Freshman (Class of 2017) Why did you decide to come to college in the United States? I honestly do not know what I want to do with my life yet, so I wanted to keep expanding my horizon and explore the many disciplines offered at a liberal arts college.  Pursuing multiple interests is something you cannot really do in Japanese universities (not as freely anyway). Why did you choose Berkeley? The diversity and its liberal attitude really appealed to me.  I heard that many things were very cutting-edge, which is something that I have found true being here and am enjoying very much.  Imagination, creativity and pro-activeness are encouraged a lot.  I like the daring attitude here.  When I heard the opening speech at the orientation, I really felt like I belonged here. What do you like/dislike about attending a large public university? I had mixed feelings about attending a large public university having been at a very small high school, but I have come to really like it.  You meet so many interesting people!  It is quite refreshing and stimulating. Did you experience any culture shock in the United States? I did not really experience any particular culture shock since I knew more or less...
Texas A&M University: An Interview with a Current Freshman

Texas A&M University: An Interview with a Current Freshman

Want to know your chances? Find out here. In this new student profile series, I will be interviewing current students at universities around the country. In this first installment, we’ll hear from Songyang, a freshman from China at Texas A&M University. She tells us about her impressions of Texas, student life, her classes, and the cultural differences she has observed going to college in the US. Name: Songyang Country: China College: Texas A&M University Class: Freshman (Class of 2017)   Why did you choose Texas A&M? Texas A&M has strong engineering programs and at the time when I applied for colleges, I was highly interested in Computer Engineering. Moreover, I was deeply fascinated by the southern environment and the somewhat exotic culture when I traveled to Texas. What do you like/dislike about attending a large public university? Being a huge public school with sufficient funds, A&M provides students with numerous fantastic academic and extracurricular activities. However, I simply do not have enough time and energy to explore every opportunity offered to me, and the choice can be extremely difficult. Did you experience any culture shock in the United States? If so, what? Americans love to compliment on other people and they typically expect “Thank you!” as a response while in China it’s unusual to give compliments, and willingly accepting a compliment may be considered condescending. What do you think of Texas? Do you think this is a good area of the country to attend college? College Station, TX is to some extent excluded from the outside world and therefore offers a great academic environment. On the other hand, it...
Boston University: A Vibrant Private Research University in an Awesome City

Boston University: A Vibrant Private Research University in an Awesome City

  I’ve lived in Boston for almost eight years, but I’ve never really had a clear impression of Boston University. I’ve known that it is located in a bustling part of the city and that it has solid academic offerings in a wide variety of fields (living in this city you can’t help but run into BU graduates all the time), but I wasn’t really sure how it stood out. I finally took my first campus tour last week, and now I get it. BU fits into a particular brand of school that a lot of students are looking for. It is a big, private school with an almost overwhelming number of academic and extracurricular offerings. If you want a school that offers just about every academic program you could possibly be interested in (and does most of them well), it fits the bill. Furthermore, I think a huge draw to the university is its urban campus, in the middle of what is perhaps the best college town in the world. And finally, the university has made an enormous effort to attract international students to the school, and today it stands out as one of the best schools in the country to meet students from around the world. Campus I visited Boston University on a sunny winter day. It was absolutely freezing, but you would have thought the students hadn’t noticed. I passed thousands of students walking down Commonwealth Avenue, which runs straight through the middle of the campus. Many of them stopping to talk to friends passing by in the other direction and a few student groups were selling...
Profile: Carleton College

Profile: Carleton College

If you are interested in a small liberal arts college with top notch academics and resources, it would be a mistake not to consider Carleton. Yes I know there are a lot of great liberal arts schools, especially on the coasts. It would be easy to dismiss Carleton as being in the “Midwest” or “the middle of nowhere” and “too cold.” I’ve seen it nixed off of many college lists for just these reasons. Now that I’ve been to Carleton, I realize that this school is something special, and I think all of the fantastic things about it can make it stand above almost any other small liberal arts college in this country for the right student. The students I met were quirky but brilliant, the campus and surrounding town charming and naturally stunning, and the sense of community among students, faculty, and townspeople clearly apparent. Living in Northfield, MN It took me about 40 minutes to get to Northfield, MN from Minneapolis where I was staying. Minneapolis-St Paul is one of the biggest metro areas in the United States so it goes without saying that there’s a lot to do there – great restaurants, great art, and plenty of museums. But once I got on the highway, within a few minutes I was looking out at cornfields. When I saw a sign for Carleton, I got off the highway and still all I could see were farms. But I drove down the road for a few minutes, and suddenly, I was in the center of a quaint and bustling little town. Northfield, home to both Carleton and St...
Profile: The University of Chicago

Profile: The University of Chicago

I know a lot of people that have a “What if?” school. A “What if?” school is a college that you almost chose but didn’t. It is a school loved but for whatever reason turned down. For me, that school was the University of Chicago. I went back to the University of Chicago last week, and I couldn’t help but imagine my life had I gone there. I picked out the dorm I would have lived in, the clubs I would have joined, some of the classes I would have take. I really love the place. I kind of wish I could go to college again. From the moment I parked along the Midway (a giant park that runs through the two halves of the campus) and glanced up at the Gothic towers ahead, I started running. I couldn’t wait to get back to that gorgeous quad. It was a beautiful day, basically perfect, and students were outside everywhere. At lots of schools you might catch the occasional outdoor class but for some reason at the U of C students love doing class outside, and all throughout the quad circles of students having seminars were sitting in the grass. I ran into archways, took pictures of ivy climbing up the walls, listened to an organ playing in a tiny chapel, and of course bought some coffee! I am not a big coffee drinker but when I’m at this school, I can’t resist. Basically every academic building has some coffee shop with character, charm, and delicious coffee. The Divinity School coffee shop’s motto is “Where God drinks coffee” which gives...
Profile: Penn State University

Profile: Penn State University

Penn State was awesome. And I don’t say that lightly. I have visited over 100 colleges and though I often see features that I find impressive, I’m not often floored by a school. Penn State floored me – I’ve never seen anything like it. Campus For two hours we drove through nothingness. At Penn State’s founding, it was decided that Penn State should be literally in the middle of the state geographically. As the state’s flagship public university, a central location seemed to make the most sense so that students from all over could attend. But look at a map. What is in the middle of the state? Basically nothing. With rolling hills and forests it is certainly gorgeous but in terms of civilization there isn’t much more than the occasional gas station. The uneventful drive added to the drama when we finally we saw the sign for State College, PA. Named after the college itself, the town lives and breathes the university. At first you see the massive stadium that trumps the stadiums of professional teams in major cities. Turns out, it is actually the second largest stadium in the country (capacity 106, 572) and the fourth largest stadium in the world. Next to it, there is a major indoor arena advertising concerts by national acts. Then you enter the university which in and of itself looks like a city. It would take an hour to walk from one side to another, and it would seem nearly impossible to see the whole thing even after going to school there for four years. Just to give you an idea,...