Our International Student Ambassadors will tell you! They share their own stories of transitioning, studying, living, and achieving as international students at the University of Minnesota. Through their experiences, you can start to imagine your life studying at our prestigious university.
College is not always about attending lectures, sitting in class, doing your homework or assignments and getting good grades. College is the time when you can do other neat and cool stuff like join student groups, participate in projects and join competitions which is what I am doing now. At the end of last spring my classmate asked if I wanted to join a student group called Tesla Works and without hesitation I said yes.
Tesla Works is a project based student group and is a diverse group of people from different educational backgrounds: physics, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, architecture, aerospace engineering, design, chemical engineering and a lot more. This group of diverse students work on different projects that stimulates creativity and innovation.
I am currently working on a project called the Barbershop Quartet, which is a four animatronic bust figure of President Kaler that sings like a quartet. I chose to join this project because I would like to learn more about how animatronics work and get involved in sculpting the busts (which is fun for me since I am into arts and craft). Projects such as this, where interactions and convergence of different disciplines is what I am interested in and is always a good place to learn more about other things aside from you major and get hands on experience.
Personally, I think getting involved in activities such as this is really important if you are an international student. One of my purpose of studying here is to get to know more American students and learn how to socialize with them. If you are studying in abroad you might as well dive in to the culture and mingle with the locals. This way it will broaden your mind and will definitely change your perspective of the American stereotype. So for you new international students out there, I encourage you to get involved in student groups and other form of campus organizations as soon as possible! Arya out!
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!
Mental Health Services
Nicotine Dependence Counseling
Nursing Mothers' Room
Yoga, Tai Chi, and Pilates
Biometric Health Screening
CPR and First Aid Classes
Face-to-Face Health Coaching
Gopher Quick Clinic
HIV Testing and Counseling
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!
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.....^.^)
Many students have asked what are some of the secrets to succeed at the University. And although there are some general recipes our there, this is my own personal one that I will share with you. I have used it for my undergraduate studies and have found that it has worked very well!
In order to concoct a recipe to succeed at the UofM, you will need:
1 cup of "Study Hard" mixed with "Pick a Major you Love" and "Be and Active Part of Your Education"
1 cup of "Rest" and "Take care of yourself" (blend well)
1 cup of "Be Proud of Who You Are"
2 cups of "Academic" and "Personal" growth - let rise at room temperature
Don't forget to add some "Healthy Eating (you can include your favorite foods from home here!)" and "Healthy Exercise"
Mix all of these together and add:
1/2 cup of "Be Nice to everybody even if you have a bad day", "But if you have a very bad day, talk to someone" and "If you don't feel like talking to someone, surround yourself with things you love"
1 tbsp of "Humility", "Leadership" and "Stand up for yourself"
3/4 tbsp of "Don't be afraid to ask for help" and "Get involved (sometimes outside your comfort zone" and "Make some new Friends"
A dash of "Organizational Skills" and "Effective use of resources on campus"
Sprinkle some "Fun" on it, and don't forget to add some "Don't be afraid to try new things" and "Go make your own adventures"
Let sit for 24 hours and cover with a whole pack of assorted flavor "Friends" and voila!
You have concocted my own special recipe to succeed at the University of Minnesota. Don't forget to add "Being part of an Awesome Group just like the International Student Ambassadors"
Don't be afraid to try it many times, and try new recipes as well! Why don't you share some of your tips?
This Fall semester is ending, so take care of yourself and hope you all do well in your finals! Winter break is almost here!
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: http://www.entomology.umn.edu/museum/
One of the new things that I have found out while studying in the US is that people like to build their own New Year resolution. And according to my resolution this year, not only that I has joined the International Student Ambassador group (ISA) but has also joined the staff of the Thai Student Association (ThaiSA.) As each country has its own supporting system available, at the university of Minnesota ThaiSA is the group I has discovered this year. Apart from that ,Thai Association of Minnesota (ThaiAM) is also available for me. Their collaboration has brought an event called "ThaiNight." It was happened on the last Saturday November 10 to gather good wills from people in the Minnesota to people of Thailand who are victims by the current flood disaster.
ThaiSA, ThaiAM, and ThaiNight: these are what I would like to share with you today:
-1- ThaiSA: Thai Student Association of Minnesota
Active webboard: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ThaiSAofMN/
ThaiSA is a student group that envisions bonding a stronger networking among Thai students of university of Minnesota, alumnus, and people who comes to work around the Twin Cities. ThaiSA also focus its activities that aim to help new Thai international students settling their study life.
Each year the activities include
- Welcome night event in the Fall
- ThaiSA talk throughout the year
- Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year gathering and potluck
- ThaiNight, an biggest annual event in collaboration with ThaiAM
ThaiSA staff meeting, always paired with the great cooking of our ThaiSA president Ponnawat Otwong, a U of M engineering student.
ThaiAM is broader in term of its members, which are mainly Thais who have relocated permanently in Minnesota. Their main events include:
- Thai picnic, an annual event in August
- ThaiNight, an annual event in collaboration with ThaiSA
As I have mentioned, ThaiNight is the biggest annual event in collaboration between ThaiSA and ThaiAM. This year is actually different since its goal is not only to have a good time but also to raise the donation to send back to help the victims of the current flood in Thailand. They have sold out their tickets; along with the tickets sales, there are additional activities including the silent auction and additional donation. At the end of the night they have raised about $17,500 in this fund-raising event.
The line of Thai Food!!! sponsored by over 20 thai restaurants around the Twin Cities
Entertaining: Thai Dancing
Off course, I am a part of the event by giving some piano performance of thai songs with ThaiSA president joining me by singing
More performance by ThaiAM and lots of kids
-4- Becoming the supporting system
You know what, it feel great! when you are a part of something, especially a part of the community. Therefore and lastly, if you are becoming part of the U of M, do not forget to include these in your coursework:
-Join a student group
-Learn to be a part of your community
-Give the community what you have
-Do good deed to others
-Make new friends
-Expanding your networking
And at the end of the day, you might feel the tiredness BUT you also will be able to reflect back about yourself what you have grown for yourself.. each day.
See you soon, Sawaddee ka (greeting in Thai)
----------------------------- Photos by
I was trying to figure out an interesting topic to write on, as I was reading the other ambassadors' very interesting blogs.
I was driving the other day, and noticed that many houses already put their Halloween and pumpkin lights on their front yards, and it made me realize that Halloween is right around the corner!
But what is Halloween you may ask? Before I came to the U.S., my concept of halloween was based upon what I had seen in the movies, as we only celebrated All Souls' Day.
The only time I dressed up for Halloween, I ended up looking like this...I was supposed to be a (very scary) Oompa Loompa!
Still don't know what Halloween is? Halloween is celebrated every year on October 31st, and includes trick-or-treating for children (and even adults!), costume parties and carving pumpkins. Of course, you do not need to dress up, but it is so much fun to see everybody in their creative costumes! I heard someone saw someone dressed up in a pacman costume being chased by the pacman game ghosts down the street one time!
I found this very funny comic regarding Halloween ... and maybe Thanksgiving!
Do you have questions about life at the University of Minnesota? Click on here to contact any ambassador!
Asking students at the University of Minnesota, they would know what "M" stands for.
Asking Minnesotans, they are huge fans of "M", too. [Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnehaha, Minnetonka, or 3M.... .]
Asking me, it is another "M" that I am exclusively focusing in today's blog. It is very important to my life now and in the future...[Hint: it is my studying major]...
Score study: Brahms's Sonata no.2 in E-flat for clarinet and piano
"M" = Music
Music study at the U of M:
I came to the U of M because there are conditions that fit me:
1) The U of M offers the Doctorate program in the field I am interested, and I got accepted.
2) The school offers me the Graduate Assistantship position, which helps covering the tuition fee.
3) My teacher/advisor Timothy Lovelace is wonderful pianist in the field.
Music as my dream:
Studying at the U of M gives me a chance to pursue my dream: doing what I like, what I believe in, and what I can share with others. My ultimate goal is to be a part of the music educational team in my country and improve the Collaborative Piano program, which currently has not been available there. Along its way, to be a good teacher, I think I need to be a good musician. So I am working hard to find performance opportunities while studying in the US.
Now, I guess the question is....
What is "Collaborative Piano" ?:
- Collaborative Piano is a program that concentrates on a piano playing skill for collaborating with other musician/s. This usually includes chamber music/ensemble performing [chamber music: music that is played by multiple players], accompanying lessons or classes, vocal coaching, assisting opera/musical theater production as a Repetiteur. Often CP also includes orchestra keyboard, choir accompanying, orchestral reduction playing. Sometimes it is necessary to play by sight reading the score.
My daily life with Music at the U of M:
Almost everyday for me is about music and collaboration with others. I practice multiple hours as much as the time and my health allow for preparing rehearsals, assisting students' lessons or classes, and performing in any assigned musical activities in the music school. I am very often involved in student recitals. To give you more ideas, this semester I am assisting total of eight recitals, including Phong's, Shelby's, Christine's, Rosie's, John's, Wei's. In addition to these recitals, I have my own recital on this upcoming November 22. (Please check out the music school website for events calendar. There are tons of free performances you can join.)
Here are some pictures from my first DMA recital in the Spring 2010:
With my violinist Josh Holritz, playing Beethoven's Sonata for violin and piano in c minor
our warm-up time
sorry that there is no picture while I performed since the camera makes noise with its shutter sound..
As part of my DMA program requirements, total of five recitals I must complete. I am working hard to do one each semester. Other than that, other musical activities I am involved are varied. For example, the previous three semesters I assisted the U of M's opera workshop and opera production; this recent summer I served as a staff pianist at the Bravo Summer String Fest at the U and also played for my singer's wedding; previously in my former graduate school time, I worked off-school at churches, assisted some high school music events, joined the distance learning team, and performed for locals as the community service at retirement homes.
To highlight the School of Music event, considering the biggest form of classical music event, this Fall'11 the University Opera Theatre are offering the Mozart's opera "Cosi fan Tutte", performing during November 17-20, 2011. Please join. And for me, my singer will be singing Dorabella role; I definitely can not miss this performance!
Here also I have searched some example of courses offered for non-music major:
MUS 1051 Class Piano for Nonmusic Majors I & II
MUS 1260 Voice Class
MUS 3230 Chorus
Find out more at Onestop website.
Finally, while studying classical music, at the end of my day.... I go back to my apartment and turn on the radio to NPR 88.5' for some jazz to relax myself. ...And now it is the time. I will be back with more about "M"usic, but outside the U of M, next time.
And it would be strange talking about Music but no music in the blog! Therefore, if you are now curious and wanna hear some of my performance, please check out the below audio links: Le Grand Tango by Piazzola and "Home" encore piece by Thee Chaiyadej, performed with my former violinist Erica W Ward. Hope you enjoy them!
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.
Calling all students! We want to tell you about an exciting opportunity to explore more of Minnesota. Do camping, canoeing, campfires under the stars, making great new friends, and going to see new places sound fun to you? If so, ISSS invites you to join our Wilderness Week program to northern Minnesota.
Dates are August 18-22, 2011. This will be a great chance to meet students from all over the world. All international and US students (new and returning) are eligible. This is your chance to try (or try again) canoeing, hiking and camping in Minnesota! Enjoy campfires, stories, and time to meet new friends before the semester begins.
The cost of the trip is $395.00 per person. This price includes transportation, meals, group equipment, and guides.
For information email email@example.com, visit http://isss.umn.edu/programs/wildernessweek/ or call 612-626-7100.
Don't delay and miss your chance! When we talk with graduating students about what they wish they had done while at the U, exploring other areas of Minnesota and especially nature are top on the list.