February 2012 Archives

Take advantage of the Metro system.

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Today, I would like to talk about Metro system in Twin Cities. Public transportation plays an important role in a student life. You know owning a car costs a lot for a student, especially for an international student who intends to stay in Twin Cities temporarily to complete a degree. By using a public transportation, you can save tons of money including a cost for a car, gas, fixing & maintenance, parking, insurance and more. Good thing is that we have a good coverage of metro transit around the city.

When I first moved to the U.S. (not to Twin Cities, but Seattle, WA), I was surprised that there is NO train or subway connecting places in the city. Don't worry! You still have a great bus system here.

What I like the most is Trip Planner on Metro Transit's website. Here, you can look up how to get to your destination by simply typing in where you are starting and where you want to go. Trip Planner will give you what time and where you need to take which bus, where and what time you need to transfer to which bus, and what time you will get to your destination. You can also click a link to each bus line to look up a bus route & a bus schedule.

The other thing I like is express buses. An express bus runs only rush time - mornings and evenings. It connects residential suburbs to downtown or U campus making only a few stops. Because a bus can run on carpool lanes on highways, commuting by an express bus is quick and easy!

One more thing that I MUST mention. As a U student, you can get such a great discount on bus fee. The university offers U-Pass to currently registered students. It currently costs $97/semester. You can take any bus and go any where with it, no matter how many times you transfer.

Until next time!

My favorite place

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Boynton health service at the U of M east bank, or "East Bank Clinic" becomes one favorite place these days! My good friend/colleague and I just recently discover this gem on campus. Not only Boynton is the place where we have an access to improve our health but also it is almost free of cost for anyone who carries some kind of Student Health Benefits!

As a Graduate Assistant, the U of M provides a Graduate Assistant health plan that covers the primary clinic, eye exam, and dental check. For me, working as a school's pianist involves with a long period of piano playing and sitting at the piano bench---how long I play the piano a day?; about five to eight hours a day. This routine easily leads to repetitive use of muscle. I later realized I got a serious health issue regarding a muscle tension and body alignment which easily effects my mood when coaching or losing focus when playing piano.

It started with making an appointment with the Primary Care to see a doctor to examine your health situation. The doctor has prescribed me a weekly consultation with a physical therapy. I am happy and more optimistic now that I have the access to consult about how to improve the using my body. Until my physical therapists see a sign that my health is improved.

The other thing I recently took advantage from this health plan is the eye clinic for an eye examination. I recently had an eye exam which they cover 100% for the glasses exam. Though there is a cost for the contact lens fitting. In addition, I also have a schedule with the dental clinic after the spring break. Let's see how much I will collect the cavity!

The Boynton Health Service
is located on the east bank near the Coffman student union with many health facilities in one building.

Massage Therapy
Mental Health Services
Nicotine Dependence Counseling
Nursing Mothers' Room
Nutrition Services
Physical Therapy
Primary Care
Urgent Care
Women's Clinic
Yoga, Tai Chi, and Pilates
Alcohol Services
Biometric Health Screening
CPR and First Aid Classes
Dental Clinic
Eye Clinic
Financial Counseling
Face-to-Face Health Coaching
Gopher Quick Clinic
HIV Testing and Counseling
Immunization Clinic
International Travel Clinic

Whenever you do not feel well while studying at the U of M, I really encourage you not to hesitate ---not like me before--- but to start making an appointment with the Boynton. Let's start getting healthy at the U of M!

By the way, no picture today...

See you soon,

Graduation... Is it happening?

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I just got notification from the Graduate School that...

I am graduating from the School of Social Work!!!!

I will have to make sure that I send in all of my forms (just one paper), and buy my graduation gown and tassel.

I am quite excited about this - I will be graduating with a MSW degree (a master's in social work).

What are my plans?
Right now, I am trying to get all of my social work licensure figured out. Once I graduate, I will be able to apply for a LGSW or a LISW , which usually requires for one to have received a master's degree in social work.

How am I feeling? I am not quite sure how to describe it. I feel like I want to go on more schooling! Which has made me realize, maybe I want to do another degree? I will find out in a couple of months whether I got in this program I want to get in....

Wish me luck!

In the meantime, as we all become stressed over mid-terms, I want to send you some Elmo-love

"Multitask", the key word for a PhD student

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At a social occasion, people always ask me "So, what do you do?". When I answer "Oh, I'm a PhD student.", most of the time, they say "You are smart." or "You really like studying". But they are not exactly true. What is really required to survive (and complete) as a PhD student is "being persistent" and "being multitask". Today, I want to show you how multitasking goes on and never ends as we pursuit our life as a PhD student and a researcher afterward.

Basics: Heavy class loads
PhD students usually start from completing classes required for the degree. Even though you have 11+ credits in a semester, you still can focus on class work (although we already fell overwhelmed...). Just simple.

+ work
Most PhD students work part-time or full-time, which usually covers tuition, insurance and life costs. Being a teaching assistant often takes up lots of your time.

+ publication
Keeping constant history of publication is very important.

+ conference presentation
Keeping a constant history of conference presentation is also important.

+ preparation for preliminary exams
You need to find time to study to prepare for preliminary exams in a timely manner.

+ social life
You don't want to just keep studying. Of course you need a social life, too!

+ private (family) life
4+ years (sometimes 7+ years) as a PhD student is a long period in your life. Many PhD students get married and starting their family during the program. Then your life just gets sooo busy...

+ dissertation
If your work is not related to your dissertation, your life gets busy more.

+ paper review
As you publish your papers, you will be asked to review manuscripts from the journal. You could say "No", but you are theoretically supposed to contribute to the research field by reviewing other folks' manuscripts.

+ service work
As you advance, you may want to be involved in service work for your task, for your interest, for your resume or whatever...

The point is that you HAVE TO be multitask if you want to complete the PhD degree. That also means that being organized is a necessary quality to be a researcher.

Please don't take this massage in a wrong way. It is not negative. As a comment from a prefessor I work with ("It will never end and keep getting more and more. You will be amazed how much work you can handle at the same time!"), you will keep growing and someday, realize you are VERY multitask.

Interestingly, some people can be very multitask and organized at work, but not in their private lives. For example, my husband (former PhD student) is very multitask at work, but he can't even drive a car and talk at the same time...or eat dinner and watch TV at the same time.



I tweet... You tweet.... We tweet.....

Shouldn't it be time for the Ambassadors to get a Twitter account?

I think so too!

Follow us:

Still Feel Like Summer


While I put my thought to write this week blog, I could feel this is about to make me feel homesick. In anyhow, this week I am sharing everyone about my experience during the past winter break in my hometown Bangkok, Thailand. This is gonna be very random blog with lots of photographs, by the way. :D

Here were my checklist that I made from my trip:

-visited Phnom Penh, Cambodia and attend a Cambodian friend (of my family) wedding.


sightseeing at S-21 Genocide camp in Phnom penh


group dancing in the wedding I attended

-visited Northern Thailand including four provinces Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phrae, and Lumphang to meet my old roommate family (and she just delivered her baby!) Also visited my uncle and my aunt. Visited my parents' hometown.


sightseeing at Baan Si Dum (Black House), Chiang Rai


Meet a craftman while he was working


The craftman's work will become at part of this sculpture


Inside the main gallery of Baan Si Dum


Four-people shot: My friend, my ex-roommate, Maple (in her belly at that time), and me

-visited the border of Thailand-Myanmar called "the golden triangle."


The golden triangle gate to Myanmar


Crowded market at the golden triangle

-visited two music colleges in Bangkok as a guest-lecturer

-visited temple to have the Buddhist ceremony for 100-year anniversary the pass-away of my great grand-mother (she was 102, by the way.)

-visited my grand-mother and other familty members(my father's side)

-spent time with my BIG FAT thai-chinese family(my mother's side) on Pre-chinese new year day.


my BIG FAT thai-chinese family (I try to imitate the "Big Fat Greet Family" movie :D)

-attended my best friend wedding. It was a triple-language wedding: thai, chinese, and english!


My friend and I and her new husband, her Bostonian college sweetheart <3

-attended my friend's vocal recital


congratulated my friend a baritone Ghittinant Chins after the recital

-meet my good old pals! (and lots of friends!)


A dinner party with good old friends at one of their place

-visited the hospital multiple time to have the health checked up and a surgery (I am ok now.)


Myself resting before the surgery

-had a dental checked

-had my haircut and permed

-thai massages

-watched thai movie

-more temples and palaces!


The contrast between old and new building at the Suan Pakkard Palace, Bangkok


Peacefulness inside the group of building in the Suan Pakkard Palace


The Lacquer Pavilion where the interior is all painted in gold on black lacquer.


I found a funny thai-culinary section in the painted wall

-shopping shopping and shopping!

-food food food!


O-Sushi!: great japanese food, one of my favorite food, can be found every where around town, Bangkok


Noodle is everywhere: noodle bowl ready to be served during busy lunchtime, Lumphang.


Here is what facinating: the authentic thai-tea making station!, Phrae


And the store-owner allowed me to finish making my own thai tea

-and fresh air!

Now, can you imagine that there were so many things to do, soooo many places to visit, and Soooooooo many people, friends and family to meet? I still cannot believe that it has been over! as I still can feel the summer vibes followed me back here to Minneapolis. To speak of, who would have thought that Minnesotans are having such a mild winter this year; What a nice way welcoming me back (fingers crossed...)

40 days hometrip it was such wonderful break! Beside that it gave me such a strong jet lack(con), not only it recharged my energy so much(pro) but also it made me realized how much more appreciation I gained in having my family, my friends, my culture, not to mention the sun, hot air, and the food!

Now the fact that I am expecting another year before graduate(finger crossed again), I imagine how much I will learn and will change in this last year being away from home?

Still feel homesick, yet still feel like summer;

How to meet new friends?

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If you are reading this blog,you are either already an international student or planning to be one in the United states!When you come to a new place,you give up on a lot of things and you have to make an effort to make adjustment to the new place and culture.When I was in my country,I never had to make an effort to make friends,because everyone that I interacted with was either someone I knew since childhood or knew me through some common friend!I never heard the word "ice breaking".You actually give up your established identity when you relocate.Unlike back home,where we seldom see someone who does not look like us,Americans are used to people from different countries(especially in the college towns),therefore nobody will know you are new here,and off course we need friends!So how did I make friends outside my program?I will talk briefly about the opportunities international students have in Minneapolis to meet new people:

Cross-cultural Discussion Groups:

This was my first point of contact!The International student office facilitates this cross cultural discussion group that you can join in the beginning of the semester.The group meets regularly and is facilitated by a moderator.It is a chance for you to make new friends from different countries who are in the same boat as you,and discuss your culture,customs and some issues that you might have faced and know another perspective!The moderators are very helpful and enthusiastic.We decided to share one treat from each country in our meetings.I had a great experience and learnt a lot of new things from this group.

MIC Classroom connection:

So this was my second point of contact!Chances are that you will meet their representative on the orientation,but I can still talk about my experience!The MIC is a non profit,which works closely with the ISSS.Their classroom program is a great opportunity if you are eager to share your culture with American students!Many people will never have a chance to travel to your country to know what it is exactly like!You can help them know about your culture,customs and places.They organize events in schools across Minnesota,and the volunteers give a small presentation about their country to the students!

MIC dinner hosting:

This dinner and dialogue event happens almost every other month!You get a chance to share your food(if you want)or your thoughts about culture with group of hosts who organize this event for international students like us!

Well thats all I can think of right now!I am sure Minneapolis has a lot more to offer,but if you are struggling to interact socially(like I did when I came here),this could give you an idea about the places you can look at!:)

Student Groups on Campus!!

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New semester has started for three weeks! How's everything going so far? Can't believe that time goes so fast!! Have you thought about joining a student group on campus? There are many opportunities and choices for you!

Student Unions & Activities
The student groups on campus covered various and various topics. You will definitely find a group that fits one of your interests and get involved in the campus community! For example, we have groups for academic and education, culture and diversity, environment, fine arts, leadership, sports, music, political and social action, housing, or special interest, etc. You can find specific information of group description, officers' contact information, and how to get involved in this group on the website of each group.

And also, what if you can't find a group that serves your interest? You can just create one! Finding five students with you is all you need to get started! New group registration is easy and beneficial for you to experience.

Hope the information helps! And hope you could find your own interests over there!!

What I did not know about MN before coming here..

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Here are the top 10 things I did not know about Minnesota before coming here!

10 - Minnesota's capital is not Minneapolis, but Saint Paul
9 - Bob Dylan was born in Duluth - I did my undergraduate studies in Duluth!
8 - Phở = best soup ever!
7 - Bubble tea = best fun tea ever!
6 - The weather ... Let's be honest... oh, and driving in the snow!
5 - The variety of foods and vibrant cultures in the Twin Cities
4 - Our mascot, Goldy, is not a squirrel nor a beaver... but a gopher
3 - Football and FUTBOL, ehem, are not the same sports...
2 - People have a hard time understanding that I am from Argentina.... hmmm... looks may be deceiving here....
1- In MN and all other states, when you have a "STOP" sign, you actually have to stop. Looking both sides of the street while driving through a STOP sign and blinking your lights may not be the smartest idea (thanks Dad.....^.^)

Looking for a job or internship? Here are what you need to look at...


Many students has began looking for internships for their summer break or full-time jobs after graduation. Busy season is coming! It is a difficult and even frustrating process of looking for opportunities, networking with people, having interviews. However, do not worry! If we work hard, we will find something we truly satisfied eventually! It's a great experience to practice our research and communication skills. Most importantly, through the process, we can have better idea about what we are interested in and what we really want. Today, I want to highlight several resources that you can look for job opportunities!

GoldPASS GoldPass connects University of Minnesota students and alumni to employers. Use GoldPASS to: view job and internship listings access Going Global for information and international career postings post resumes register for career fairs and events schedule on-campus interviews Set up a GoldPASS account by logging in using your x.500 (internet) ID and completing the user agreement. Login to use GoldPASS now.
UMN Job and Internship Fair

The website posts job and internship fair information at the U. You can check this regularly to find out if there is a job fair coming up. There is one actually coming on Feb 23. Don't miss it! You can access the website at: http://www.clacareer.umn.edu/umjobfair/index.html

Interested in policy and development jobs? Check Humphrey School's Career Service website! If you are interested in policy, government and development jobs. Then you cannot miss Humphrey School's Career service website. They have information on how to prepare resume and cover letter. They also have links to different resources looking for job opportunities in this field!
Need a place to polish your resume or cover letter? Do not forget going to the Center for Writing at the U. People at the Center for Writing are indeed very helpful. It is very convenient for you to make a reservation and stop by the center to let someone help you with your writing documents. It is also a great way learning how to write and how to present ideas clearly. Start making a reservation today!
The last but not least! Start to networking with people! Best resources are always got from talking to and sharing with people. From my experience, I think the best way looking for opportunities is from connecting with people. So I will write another blog talking about this if you are interested!

Anyway, let's get started! Good luck to you and to myself!~

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This page is an archive of entries from February 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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