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Interview with an International Student (Part 1: How I got here)

The University of Rochester takes immense pride in its title as a global university. When we say that the world is in Rochester, we really mean it. There are over 4,800 international students at the university who come from over 120 different countries. Not only will you be able to experience life in a different country, but you will also be able to seek out mini-communities that remind you of home as you complete your studies. But what is the international student experience like? In this post, I will be interviewing an international student from Xiamen, China who will be graduating this semester to reflect on their experience at the University of Rochester from their unique perspective.

Flags displayed in Hirst Lounge in Wilson Commons representing the citizenships of matriculated students, the sovereign nations of Native American students, the United States and its territories are photographed May 16, 2019. // photo by J. Adam Fenster / University of Rochester

What made you decide to attend university in the United States/internationally?

I decided to study abroad in 2014. This was a little over seven years ago; I was in the 10th grade (high school). I initially thought that I would go to a good university in China. My experiences in high school, however, ignited my desire to seek out different methods of learning and instruction. I was under the impression that education abroad would allow me to enjoy more freedom in terms of choosing the methods that I learn. I happen to go to the U.K for a 15-day trip for a culture/language exchange and I quickly realized that it was not the place for me. Since English was my second language, it was difficult for me to adjust to the U.K accent. Based on this experience, I decided that the U.S would be my best option.

How did you find out about the University?

While I was in high school, I was trying to study English. However, the curriculum at my school was not enough to help me get to the level of fluency that I desired. I joined an organization that is dedicated to teaching English to students who were aiming to study abroad as a result. There is also a section of that organization that helps students with the admissions process for studying abroad. They keep records of what schools’ Chinese students apply to most frequently and the University of Rochester was on that list. This was my first introduction to the University.

When you started researching the university, what caught your attention the most?

I was not 100 percent sure of what I wanted to do yet, so it was ideal for me that the University of Rochester appeared to have a well-rounded social science program. In addition, the science programs seemed good as well. Professor-student interaction was also something I was interested in so the mid to small size of the University of Rochester would allow me to have that one on one experience. Finally, the ranking of the university helped solidify my interest in applying. Of course, rank is not everything but for me, it served as validation for all of the advertised benefits and opportunities the university claimed to have.

Did you visit before you accepted the offer?

I had actually never been to the U.S at all until I started as an incoming first year. I felt confident in my ability to succeed and adapt regardless of what I might have encountered.

I hope this post has gotten you excited to learn more about what the international student experience is like at the University of Rochester. Check back later for the second part of this discussion. While you wait, feel free to follow in the footsteps of this student and do your own research by checking out the University of Rochester website. Whether you decide to attend the University of Rochester or any other intuition, I wish you the best in all of your future endeavors.

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