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International Film Festival at Twin Cities!

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Life is getting busier and busier as we are getting close to the end of this semester. Most of times I find myself rarely have time to relax from all the homeworks and projects. However, we still need to keep our life balance. Maybe it is better to switch our mind from papers and works to some fun activities and helps us to be more efficient. Today, I want to recommend Minneapolis St Paul International Film Festival, which is a great event happening in the Twin Cities right now from April 12 to May 3. Hundreds of great movies will on the theater every night. Who does not love watching movies? Please check this out. Take best friends and get popcorn, let us go to watch films from all over the world.

International Film Festival
"The Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival is the most ambitious and best attended film event in the Upper Midwest. Over its three-week run, the Festival presents an exciting and diverse slate of some 300 narrative, documentary and short films from over 60 countries, hosts many visiting filmmakers to introduce and discuss their works, sand includes an array of events, panels, discussions, and parties. The Festival takes place on the five screens of the St. Anthony Main Theatre, set along the banks of the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis.

Over its three-decade history, the MSP International Film Festival has developed an exemplary reputation for presenting a distinctively diverse and imaginative line-up of international cinema, as well as American independents and alternative cinema, documentaries, experimental, and local and regional films. It continues to expand, last year presenting films to an audience of more than 40,000, hosting over 100 filmmakers and stars, and exhibiting films from 61 countries from all around the world. "

Earn ONE credit and have FUN?

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Time flies! Getting close to graduate in May, I still cannot believe it has been almost two years since I came to the US and started my master program. As I am studying international development, I got chance to have access to resources at different schools and programs at the U, such as agriculture, education, applied economics and public policy. Many courses are great and impressive. However, today, I really want to recommend to you some ONE credit courses that you are not only earning credits, but having fun, learning about life skills and being healthy as well! I did not know those course are available to take when I was a first year student. Hope this can help you for your class registration!

I took several Karate courses last semester and I really enjoyed the class. Although I had to drop the class for schedule conflict, I highly recommend students taking this class. The professor has many years experience practicing and teaching Karate. Often in the class, we not only learn how to strengthen ourselves and concentrate our power, but learn about wisdom about life.

Where can we find these courses? Go to OneStop, Class Schedule, and you can begin to search courses of Physical Education. In the long list, you can also find many other course quite interesting! Some of my friends said they have taken swimming and bowling courses and they love it very much. I make a small summary list of courses offered by physical education for non-PE students. Please check it out if you want to take ant of them next semester, being healthy and having fun!

PE 1035 Karate
PE 1034 Judo
PE 1032 Badminton
PE 1029 Handball
PE 1012 Beginning Running
PE 1007 Beginning Swimming
PE 1004 Diving: Springboard
PE 1036 Racquetball
PE 1037 Squash Racquets
PE 1038 Beginning Tennis
PE 1044 Self-Defense
PE 1045 Rock Climbing
PE 1046 Tae Kwon Do
PE 1048 Bowling
PE 1053 Ice Skating
PE 1055 Golf
PE 1057 Beginning Skiing
PE 1058 Snowboarding

And basketball, soccer, volleyball, broomball and a whole lot other fun stuffs! I believe there are other fun courses of music, painting and even cooking offered by different schools at the U. You can check them out simply at onestop or going to different schools' websites. Let our more colorful by learning something out of our major and our field! I wish I have taken more of these courses at the U. If your journal is going to start and just begins at the University of Minnesota, lucky for you that there are many great fun activities to explore at here. Registration for the next semester is coming, are you considering to have some healthy, educational and fun courses now?

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:

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!~

After Black Monday~

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Xi Yu recommended great places to go shopping around Twin Cities, such as Mall of America, Outlets and etc. I would like to follow her lead and introduce the Cyber Monday, which is the Monday immediately following Black Friday and it is the biggest on-line shopping day of the year! So I would like to recommend some websites for you to find great deals and coupons! This is not supporting consumerism. But it might be helpful if you want to buy some winter clothes or prepare gifts for your families and friends!

Catch deals when fresh---- Coupons websites: is a leading free coupon and discount information website that provides thousands of free coupons from more than two thousand local and online stores (e.g. coupons from,,,,,, and more). It has a very simple mission: help consumers shop smarter and save more.

Personal Comment: I like this website because it has different categories to guide you search coupons you need like Beauty Deals, Tech deals....Especially they have a special Black Friday session to help you find all the great deals during the holiday. Chinese students may find it even more helpful as they have a Chinese websites for Black Friday with editors' comments and recommendation.

Another similar website is DealSea, which is also created to provide coupons and deals for consumers, including beauty, style, electronics, credit cards, and more.

And DealMoon:

Sometimes you can just browse official websites of stores, which may have a better discount:

Retail Stores:

Wholesale stores:

The Body shop:

Consumer Electronics:

Offices Supplies:

Nutrition& Vitamin:

Hope you find those helpful. Cause I know I did on this great shopping weekend. With so much time off for the long weekend, and so many great deals how can anyone study? Oops.. to the library while I wait for my goods to arrive ^^

My Eyes Bugged Out for the University of Minnesota Insect Musem

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One of the fun things I did at the university in the last week was visit the University of Minnesota Insect Museum. There they study the bugs of the world, collect them and preserve them. It is a very fun place! I learned about this museum from my friend, Kit Martin, who is a master student in the international development program and a PHD student in the Department of Entomology, a pretty difficult word to me which I think means the study of bugs!

University of Minnesota always has something interesting for you to explore. As we normally find at the university of Minnesota, when you look inside one of our departments, you find something completely unexpected. This museum, tucked down a dark hallway is a collection of 3 million insects from all over the world.

The scientists there study how all the insects in the world are related, by looking at their common characteristics, even looking at the hairs on their little legs and counting them. For instacne, the picture of the water bug in the picture below is a girl. (Thats what they said, I don't know how). The room is a big room full of metal boxes, and in each one is a drawer full of insects. They study them all the time. Very NICE PEOPLE. You should visit them sometime.

It is actually very interesting to learn something outside your world, explore something new, and even pay attention to some tiny creatures that you might dislike and never think about them. We are living in a same world. Slow down your pace and you might find beauty and have a new look on these cute creatures. The following pictures are taken by kit Martin~~

Corixidae-------Is it like a cute Alien?


An unknown flower Beatle!

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And my favorite "heart" one, which is an atta!


The Museum is on the St. Paul campus by the the Borlaug building, if you want to see the collection yourself contact Paul Tinerel, the curator at

The people working there can provide you a tour and show you around their cool collections. Welcome to send them an email anytime ~You can see their website at:

Weekend in Chicago!!!


Are you looking for something exciting to do in the weekend? Do you have a strong feeling that you want to travel having a short break of the busy school year? I can totally understand your feeling of that. I did have the feeling to explore something really different and exciting, but I have to be aware of busy school works as well. So I traveled to Chicago last Thursday to Saturday. So this time I really want to share with you how much fun I had visiting Chicago. Hope you find motivated packing your luggage and exploring one of the great cities in the United States as well.

It is really easy to get to Chicago from Minneapolis. You can take the Mega bus or the train. I took the overnight Mega bus on Wednesday night. The bus is very convenient and cheap. You can even use your computers to access the internet on the bus! It is very easy to purchase the bus ticket on line as well. Chicago is an amazing city. Artistic, exciting, beautiful and peaceful, I really fell in love with this city.

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You can find everything you might enjoy at Chicago, someone said Chicago is the home of Blues and the truth of Jazz, is the heart of comedies and the idea of skyscraper. You can spend your whole day wondering at museums full of arts and knowledge. You will always find new and delicious restaurant to try. You can stand besides the lake to enjoy the peace of the city. You can explore the luxuries of theater, shopping and bars in this energetic metropolitan as well.

I visited the Art Institute of Chicago on my first day. I am very impressed by the collection they have. Many world famous paintings are exhibited at the Museum. Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh.. Time just passed by when you are surrounding by these masterworks.


Cloud Gate is another must visit sculpture. I really love this genius design. The sculpture, which is called "The bean" by people, is located at Millennium park. The surface of the sculpture reflects and distorts the city's skyline. Color of the sculpture varies with the color of the sky, blue in a sunny day, red and orange in the sunset, grey in a rainy day...


I also visited Shedd Aquarium Museum and Adler Planetarium Museum in Chicago. And I had delicious and authentic Chinese food at China town. Walked around in downtown looking at beautiful architectures and shopping at the Michigan Avenue. Chicago is such a wonderful city that you will have lots of unforgettable memories with her!


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Trash? Treasure! U of M links you to the world!

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Are you wondering what you can do in the vacation time while attending the University of Minnesota? You might want to travel back to your home country visiting families and friends that you are missing every day, you can find an internship anywhere in the U.S to gain professional experience, you can drive a car or jump on a train being a traveler on the road to explore more of America...Today I would like share about what I did last summer. I really want to say that U of M can provide us amazing experience that you might never expect before.

This summer, I went to Cairo with a group of five students studying the trash and recycling! We worked with a solid waste management company, Irtiqa, and NGOs working with garbage collectors in Cairo.Trash can be treasure if we sort and recycle them well! I really learned a lot from this opportunity.

We can produce new plastic bags from plastic garbage:


We can make new bricks from the construction waste:

We can turn organic waste into compost to plant food and flowers even in the desert:

We can even make a sidewalk from the trash:

After this experience, I deeply feel that everyone can make changes even in our daily routine life. Maybe we can start protecting our environment by reducing the waste, source sorting at home and etc. I gained professional and personal development from the summer experience, as well as explore to different cultures, wonderful people and beautiful landscapes in Egypt.

The Pyramids!


What I did in the summer is just one of many possibilities you might have in the U of M. The University has tons of interesting programs or opportunities that you can explore and get yourself involved in. Do not hesitate to talk to people, your classmates, professors and your adviser, or anyone that you meet, if you have an idea or you are interested in what other people are doing. You will find your life experience much much more colorful than you can imagine studying at the U. Good luck with that!

Explore the libraries and museums at the U!

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It is almost midnight on Monday evening. Today was a great day, pleasant weather with golden sunshine and clear blue sky. After finishing the work, my last stop is always the library before I go back to home. Not because of being a studious student, my fond of library grows unconsciously since I came to study at the University of Minnesota. Library to me, is a place to read a book I like, to work on my homework, to write a journal, or simply to sit down listening to favorite music and looking out of the window...

The U of M has many libraries located in different parts of the campus, such as Water Library in the East Bank with science & engineering collection, Wilson library in the West Bank with collections mostly in arts, humanities and social sciences, Magrath library in St. Paul campus. You can also find libraries for your specific interest like South Asia, Immigration History, Music, or even Maps. You can explore the libraries you are interested easily at the library website and check their open hours. And there are millions of books available in different languages, like myself, I go to the East Asian library often borrowing documentaries and books in Chinese.


Moreover, librarians provide many great services to the students besides loaning books. Take a look at different workshops at those libraries, you will learn many useful things on finding information or funding, managing your data, and academic works. I have attended three workshops on grant funding, learning Refworks for reference management when I am writing a academic paper or essay, and job search teaching you how to find business information. You may be interested in formatting your dissertation in word 2007 or how to better use google scholar. Those workshops are actually very good for your academic study and works, in which you can learn useful tips and resources. Whoops, maybe I have talked too much on academic studies. I just love libraries a lot.

Weisman Art Museum

Do not be intimidated by it is appearance surrounded by stainless steel and brick, Weisman Art Museum actually is a really fun and nearby place to go in the East Bank.


I went there few days ago when were having an open house for the new decorated museum. Stop by at the museum and emerge yourself into artistic and creative exhibits, might give you a really good mood for the whole day. I think most of the exhibits are free to the public. Their permanent collection has different themes like Ameircan Modernism, Korean Furniture and Ceramics. One of their recent exhibits are aluminum-flashing strips on the wall and ground called "Sympathies". I believe each person may have a different explanation about what they see in their eyes. So coming to the arts museum can also be a great activity to hang out with your friends, sharing or even just laughing. We just have an amazing arts museum in the campus! Do not miss it.


Greetings! Awesome to meet everyone!~


Greetings everyone!!! 大家好~(Dajiahao means "Hello Everyone" in Chinese.) My name is Yizhuo Zhao and I'm a second year graduate student from Changchun, China. I'm currently studying Master of Development Practice (MDP) program at Humphrey School of Public Affairs. MDP program is a global program providing interdisciplinary training to prepare students to address issues of sustainable development.

I really appreciate the opportunity to be an international graduate student ambassador to share my experience and perspectives on studying and living at the U, which I hope can be useful for international students better adapting your campus life here. Minnesota is a really amazing and beautiful place famous for its natural lakes and forests. Although the weather might be cold in the winter, you gonna feel warm because of nice and wonderful people here. The Campus of the U is beautiful and charming, you will fall in love with the architectures, coffee shops, libraries and the nature...

I would like to introduce a little bit about myself here. I graduated from Renmin University of China with major in Economics. I'm very interested on developing countries and development issues, especially the development model achieving social values as well as financially sustainable such as microfinance. Learning about different cultures and people is so fascinating to me, I was being a volunteer in Turkey and I did my internship in Cairo this summer. So I'm really happy to know people from different cultures and countries, we gonna be really good friends! As for my hobbies, I love travelling, making friends, doing yoga and watching movies! Campus life at the U is so colorful that I definitely would write more about in my future blogs.

It's really excited to be an international student ambassador and I look forward to being friends with you guys~Thanks for reading my blog! I will be blogging soon~~

All best,
Yizhuo (Serene) Zhao

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