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March 30, 2009

Academic Advisers

When you start studying at the University of Minnesota, you will meet with an academic adviser in your program. Generally, when you’re admitted to the university, advisers are assigned to you from your department.

When you start studying at the University of Minnesota, you will meet with an academic adviser in your program. Generally, when you’re admitted to the university, advisers are assigned to you from your department.

When you register for courses, experience any difficulties, or need recommendations for getting a job, you will need to meet your adviser. Especially, when seeking career advice and study guidance, advisers are the great resources.

The advisers in the U.S. might be different from ones in different countries. Advisers, who are professors here, are very busy doing research, teaching, and getting involved in many projects. That's why we first need to check their office hours and email them to schedule an appointment. Especially, making an appointment is very important in the U.S. culture. However, when you meet them, they’re really kind, generous, and willing to help students. So, the more you visit and ask them, the more you can get and learn,

If you’re graduate students, it would be a good idea to read some articles written by your adviser. It will give a better understanding while working with your adviser. You can find the information about the books and articles by your adviser from the department website.

Just in case, if you feel it’s not a good match with your adviser, you can always ask for changing an adviser through requesting your department.

Before you come to the University of Minnesota, why don’t try to email your adviser? You can start building a good relationship with your adviser from today!

Find Help from Student Organizations

If you’re an admitted student, it’s time to try to contact the student organizations at the University of Minnesota. It’s always very difficult and confusing to plan to study abroad at first. You must have a lot of questions and need a lot of help. Student organizations might be the best resource where you find answers and get help.

If you’re an admitted student, it’s time to try to contact the student organizations at the University of Minnesota. It’s always very difficult and confusing to plan to study abroad at first. You must have a lot of questions and need a lot of help. Student organizations might be the best resource where you find answers and get help.

The student organizations might offer a variety of services for you such as Airport Pick-Up, Orientation about Minnesota and the University, Temporary Housing, Finding Permanent Housing, Moving Out & In, Finding a Cell Phone, Opening a Bank Account, Finding Furniture, Getting a Driver License, Ride a for Grocery Shopping, Group Activities (Travel, Skiing, or Party), and Others.

Here’s the website where you can find your student organization. Try now!!! And you will meet great people and get great help.


March 27, 2009

A check list for admitted students

With admission decisions coming out, most of you must be having lots of questions. Here is a list of a few Frequently Asked Questions which I felt most people will find helpful:

What is a hold? I have some holds on my record, will that be a problem?
A hold is a temporary restriction placed on your record in case the University wants some information from you, or want you to complete some procedure. Once you finish that particular task you are expected to, the hold will be removed from your record. Its just a process to ensure that the University gets all the information they want from you. Nothing to worry at all, since every International student will have a minimum of one hold to show their original certificates and documents. Detailed description here

What are the employment opportunities for students on campus?
University of Minnesota is a very big place. There are lots of opportunities to work. The best way to find out more about the jobs will be to follow the University of Minnesota Employment website. You need to login with your UMN X500 email account.

What is UMN X500 email account? I have my application accepted, but I don't yet have this email account.email5.gif
UMN X500 email account is the official email account you will be using once you are part of University of Minnesota. It will be the key window of your communication with other people on campus once you start your Program here in the university. So, its very important to have this account. More instructions on how to initialize your account are given in a easy way here.

Where do I find more information on housing? Housing.gif

If you are planning to live off campus, the Housing column in MN Daily classifieds is a good place to start. You will have frequent updates on the various housing opportunities available. If you are planning to live on-campus, then a good place to start and decide upon will be UMN Housing website. You can also get more information on housing from various blog entries in Housing tag in our blog.

I'm planning to come a little early to University of Minnesota, where do I find out temporary housing options?
U of M provides temporary housing facilities, you can find more information about that here. Also, in general students from various countries form their Student Associations. You can get in touch with Student Association of your country on campus, as they will also have more information about temporary accommodations.

How do I know if my country has a student group at the University of Minnesota, Where can I find that?
The quickest way is to search it here.

It doesn't snow at all in my home country. Will I make it good in the cold Minnesotan winters? snoman.gif

Believe me, you will get used to it. Its the case with me, I never saw real snow until I came here.You will learn to dress appropriately. My fellow ambassadors have written lots of tutorials on how to dress to put yourself at the best in the cold winters here. You will find lots of information in the Weather tag of our blog which will master you in the art of ways to dress in winters.

How good is public transport in Minneapolis? bus.gif
We have Metro Transit which provides very good public transportation facilities. Generally students of the University apply for 'U-Pass', which is a bus pass for one complete semester. Apart from that, the University of Minnesota offers transportation using its own shuttle facilities across various Twin Cities campuses.

I hope, this list offers you answers to some of your questions. Feel free to ask more questions. And the question you ask might be helpful to others as well, so donot hesitate to post a comment if you have any other clarifications lurking in your mind.

Be safe, take care.


University of Minnesota & My Life's Goal

I think I am gonna devote this entry to talk about my life's goal and my experience here, at the University of Minnesota.

First, I would say that it's quite hard to say what my life's goal exactly is right now. I still have a lot of time to explore my career option. However, I can roughly say that my goal right now -- in the short run -- is to get a good education in order to get a good job. In a little bit more specific sense, I would like to know how devices, or technologies around us work. In other words, I would like to understand how we build a computer, how we make a telephone, and how we make other modern technological devices.

How my experiences at the University of Minnesota so far relate to my goal? Let's find out...

I want to divide my goal into three parts: good education, good job, and understanding technologies.

So far, I can confidently say that I am on track toward my goal regarding good education. I don't only learn the concepts or theories from my classes here, but I also have hands-on experiences. I would say that I have learned a lot from the lectures so far. I really "understand" concepts, not just "memorize" them. This is because in the lecture, our professor always connects the concepts we are learning to our real life. He explains how we can use them or how we have used them. He sometimes even has a real demonstration on how we have utilized those concepts. In other words, here, I learn to know how we can make use of those concepts, not just learn to take a test! However, as I said earlier, one of the most important experiences I have had so far is the hands-on experience. This means my lab experiences as well as out-of-class experiences. Specifically, I think the fact that I have an opportunity to use many high-tech gadgets in labs is really beneficial to my educational experience.

From this great educational experience I have had and that I will have, I am confident that this will lead me to my second goal -- good job. Furthermore, there are many resources here that can help me have a successful career. University Career Services is one of the good examples. I have been there several times and they are really helpful. I had had no idea how to write a resume at all before I went there. They provided me with very good advice. Apart from university's resources, I also have an opportunity to participate in many activities on campus. One of them is, of course, the International Student Ambassador program. I am sure that these experiences will be very very helpful when I try to get a good job. In other words, they will be very helpful when I try to reach my life's goal.

Finally, for my goal about knowing the world, all science classes -- Physics, Chemistry, Biology -- are guiding me toward that goal right now. As I said earlier, in these classes, I do not only learn concepts, but I also learn how we have used these concepts to make such wonderful devices so far. All the labs also help complement my experiences.

All in all, I am confident that with all experiences I have had here at the University of Minnesota so far, I'm on track toward my goal slowly, yet firmly.

March 21, 2009

How to Choose Your Meal Plan?

When new students sign up for the residential housing, you are required to choose a meal plan. However, I know that it's quite difficult to figure out which plan is the best fit for you since you still can't estimate your needs. Plus, you don't know how your life will be and how your class schedule will be. Therefore....here is some advice.

Before I start, please check out some meal plan options from this link: http://www1.umn.edu/dining/selectplan.html

Ok, here is advice.
1) The earliest class is at 8.00 am and the dining hall opens at 7.00 am, so breakfast is always available even though you have a very early class.

2) Although breakfast is regarded as the most important meal of a day, majority of students often study (or hang out) until very late at night and as a result, they get up late and don't have time to go down to have breakfast. Therefore, many students prefer having breakfast in their room instead.

3) Depending on your schedule, you may or may not have time for lunch. There are three possibilities here. First, you don't have class around noon. In this case you can surely have lunch. Second, you may have a class that finishes at noon and have another class starting at 12.45. This is quite possible to have lunch. I have a class finishing at noon on east bank and another class starting at 12.45 on west bank, but I still manage to have lunch at Comstock Hall. Finally, you may have a class finishing at noon and another starting at 12.20!!! In this case, it is really difficult to have lunch.

4) There are many places to have lunch. First, you can surely eat at any residential dining hall. There is one hall -- Comstock Hall -- located right behind Coffman Memorial Union. Many freshmen like to have lunch here because many classes for freshmen, especially those who are in the Institute of Technology, are around that area. There is also Middlebrook Hall, which is on the west bank. In St.Paul campus, there is Bailey Hall. Therefore, you can pretty much find a place to have lunch wherever you are on campus.

5) There is also a program called "Grap & Go". In case you don't have time to have lunch, you can order your lunch online. Your lunch will be a sandwich, a drink, and other things to choose from. After you have ordered, on the day, you can get your meal from any residential hall any time. It is really convenient.
Check out the website: http://www1.umn.edu/dining/grabngo.html

6) You also have "Flex-dine" in your meal plan. It is just some dollars in your plan that you can spend at some restaurants on campus like those in Coffman Memorial Union. It is the money that you already pay when you pay for your meal plan, so try to make use of it.
Here is a website about Flex-dine: http://www1.umn.edu/dining/flexdine.html

7) People usually have dinner at the dining hall everyday, but they are some people who like to go outside to eat as well.

8) There are only two meals provided on weekends: brunch and dinner.

9) For weekly meal plans, a new week starts on Monday.

10) The final tip: a lot of students bring some food from the dining hall up to their room to spare for later or even for breakfast!!

March 13, 2009

Techniques To Do Well In Classes In the First Semester.

I know the first semester is always tough, especially for international students. There are several new things coming into life. New place, new people, new language...Everything is new for international students. Question is, how to do well in classes while having to adjust to many things?

My first semester here wasn't easy, but I could still manage to get a high GPA from my classes.
Here are my first-semester stories and techniques...

1) Always catch up with the lecture. I remember that I was pretty surprised by the amount of free time I had in my first semester. What I did was I tried to catch up with the reading. Most of the classes have text books, and normally, professors follow the topic in the books when they give lectures. On average, in a lecture, around 10 pages of the book are covered. This is not too many to read in one day. So, when I got back from the class, I always read the topics in the book that had been covered in the class. In this way, I was always up to date. Furthermore, when an exam came, it was much easier to study the materials I had already understood.

2) Do homework problems. Those problems are really good to help me understand the concepts. I did most of the homework problems assigned by my professor even though I was not required to turn it in. It turned out that many times, those problems appeared in my exams!

3) Study for the exam. I remember that many of my friends didn't study much for the exam. They just did the practice exam that our professor gave us. Nevertheless, I did study. It turned out that it was the right decision. Exams were not difficult, in general. They always covered the things that our professor had talked about in the lecture. It was not about whether I could do the exam problems or not; it was about whether I had studied or not. If I studied, I would surely do well since the exam would be all about the things that I studied.

4) Try to find some helps. There are many resources on campus that can help students do well in classes. I went to the writing center sometimes when I had a paper to turn in. I went to talk to my adviser many times about my classes and everything. I got help from tutors in my hall many times. All these things are very useful. I recommend that everyone should utilize university's resources.

5) Plan your time. Like I said earlier, I had a lot of free time in my first semester. At the same time, I had a lot of homework as well. Most of my homework was weekly; that means I had to turn my homework in every week. Therefore, it was quite a bad idea to procrastinate. I remember that I needed to stay very late at night several times at the beginning of the semester in order to finish my homework that due the following day. That was what happened when I procrastinated. Homework was weekly; thus, no much time to procrastinate.

6) The final tip - don't be worried too much if you don't do well in the first exam. You still have a chance to get a good grade. Keep working hard!!!

March 10, 2009

Clothes to wear

Today it is a very cold day in Minneapolis which follows two very strong winter storms from last week. Occasionally the University cancels classes if the storm is outrageous, but it is unusual (I enjoyed it only once in two years). So if I don’t want to miss classes, I have to be ready to leave the comfort of my apartment wearing the proper clothes.

I roll over on my bed to the window shortly after my alarm wakes me up, stretch my neck and head and very slowly try to open my eyes (at least one!) to see if the sky was clear and sunny. Shortly after and I would (wrongly) think that sunny days equals warm day… hahaha … I am so wrong! Who would think that getting dress is such a protocol? What a big deal!

Now, after almost two years I know that sunny days during the winter are tricky. I don’t check on my window any longer to see if the day is sunny…that is what technology is for! (Among millions of other purposes) I will talk about how to get dress for the snow, places to buy winter clothes, websites to check daily and hour-by-hour temperatures very important!, how to protect your skin (if you are interested too) and more…..nothing but a list of best practices!

Yes, the first real cold weeks I was terribly cold all the time. I started my studies in the Fall, but the first few weeks aren’t a good experience of what to expect later on –how cold it will get to be. I found a funny picture (from this website: http://www.webtogs.co.uk/help/Friends_of_Webtogs.html) about how to get dressed for the winter, and even though it is a little bit exaggerated it makes the point: L-A-Y-E-R-S What does it means? “more than one”: more than one t-shirt, more than one pullover or/and jacket, more than one pair of socks, …. Simply “more than one”.


Some specific tips about it:

- Try to buy a long jacket that will cover all your body up to your knees. Some people think your body will only get cold from your waist up to your neck or head. But your legs will get too! Although blue jeans are made with a thick fabric, it is not enough. A long jacket will keep the majority of your body warm.

- Use thermal underwear, trousers, or tights. The closer they are to your body, the better! They will keep you warm for sure. Instead of using ski trousers to go to class, you will probably be wearing jeans.

- If you can afford it, get more than one jacket. I heard many times from my friends and people, in general, that very quickly will get bored of using every single day, day after day –because you can’t skip the jacket never! – the same jacket. And also try to pick a dark color if you don’t want to be washing it frequently.

- Use the most appropriate fabrics. Use synthetics, cotton, fleece, or wool fabrics.

- No extra is extra – wear gloves, hat, scarf, ear protection, sunscreen, and sometimes you might need to use sunglasses as well. After winter storms when most of the snow settles on the streets and where all the gardens used to be, all your surroundings will become white. If the day is sunny (but it is still cold, remember?!?) the sunlight is reflected by these huge areas with white snow. Your eyes can be very sensitive to it, and I can become very uncomfortable to be walking on the street with all these light blinding you. It is more than a fashionable accessory! :)

- Always try to carry with you a bottle of water, tissues, and ChapStick for your lips. With this cold and very dry weather, your skin, mouth, and lips will get very easily dry.

I wanted to point you a few brands that sell, in my opinion, the more appropriate clothes/accessories for the winter for men and women.

One is Columbia, and the other one is The North Face. I don’t want to assume that all of you know what ChapStick is, so here is the link too (this is only one brand, but in the market you will find many more).

Regarding the weather, check this webpage to be aware of tomorrow’s temperature, a coming winter storm warning, etc. This weather webpage provides information in Celsius and Fahrenheit. If you like to use Google’s gadgets you can download to your desktop a weather forecast application too.

Finally, and like I already mentioned it a little bit above, your skin will probably get dry. I know that everyone has a different skin type; a few are more likely to get easily dryer and others. I advice is to dry liquids, apply sunscreen before leaving the apartment, and also keep with you ChapStick or similar if your lips are getting chapped lips.
If you have any comments or suggestions you can write it down, and if you are asking a question please leave your email address so that I can contact you back.

I hope all these tips that all the ambassadors are writing would be helpful at some point in your stay in Minneapolis.
See you next time!

Ps: for more information read this link


March 8, 2009

Activities as courses

Gabriela in her article has mentioned the importance of Fitness to keep a healthy mind and body. Keeping ourselves fit with some activity will also help us handle the pressure we have due to the course load and other academic activities. The university offers various activities in the form of one credit courses, some of them do not account for our graduation requirements depending on the degree we take and the course we register for.

To name some of the various categories in which the university offers such courses are physical education, music, dance etc. In the Physical education section, we have courses like weight training, Karate, Horse riding, skiing, Hand ball, racquet ball, squash, tennis, scuba diving etc. Under the Music category, we have Vocals, Piano, Guitar, violin, Opera, jazz, mastering dictions in various foreign languages and theory of music. Modern dance techniques, ballet, tap dancing etc are also taught as part of courses. And all these activities are offered in the form of courses at various levels (beginner/intermediate/advanced).

Most of us might not have had an opportunity to learn many of these activities in our home countries, this is one best part of being a student in big universities like ours. A few of us might also have some of these activities as hobbies, this is one good chance to pursue our hobbies and hone our skills. And, since all these are courses, we do not tend to miss the classes once we have registered for the course. In this way we'll be regularly in touch with these activities and keep ourselves physically and/or mentally healthy.

The best way to find the list of such courses offered is to do a Class Search from One stop website (the importance of One Stop web site in a later post in detail). In the current Spring semester, these are the links to courses offered under Physical Education, Music and Dance categories.

Have fun, be healthy!

March 6, 2009

University Honors Program

Anyone who has read my profile must have heard of University Honors Program, but what is it? How to get into the program?


Well, University Honors Program is the program that brings students with good academic record during their school years together. This is the newly organized program of the University of Minnesota. There are students from every college and from every discipline in this program. How can this program be beneficial to students? Let's find out.

This program is beneficial to students in the program in many ways. First of all, students are eligible to enroll in Honors classes.

What are the differences between Honors classes and non-honors ones?

Well, first of all, the instructors are well chosen by the University Honors Program. They are those who have been teaching and doing research on their discipline for so long that they are very well-regarded. They know the materials in the class very very well and sometimes, they even know something beyond the text book from their own research and experiences. I remember my Microeconomics class I took last semester. It was a wonderful class. I pretty much understood the materials right away in the class without having to spend much time trying to do so outside the class. Professor Donald Liu, my professor in that class, knows the stuffs really well and he used the multimedia presentation and variety of examples to make the principles easier to understand. It was a really impressive experience for me.

Furthermore, in Honors classes, every student in the class is honors student, so they are very smart! The atmosphere in the class is somewhat intellectually-engaging. Students always ask in-depth questions during the class. Many of those questions go beyond the materials covered in the class, but most of them are very interesting. These questions even sometimes help me understand the materials much better. It is also very common after the class that students go down to talk to professor and I really like staying there listening to the answer even though I don't have any question myself. These make Honors classes very exciting.

One point about Honors classes that are misunderstood by many students is that Honors classes are harder. No! That is wrong. Honors classes are not harder; instead, these classes cover somewhat deeper materials that are not too hard to understand. In fact, the characteristic of Honors classes is the size of the classes. Honors classes are usually smaller. For example, there might be 200-300 or more in regular Physics class, but there are only 60 students in my Honors Physics. This, as a result, makes professors more accessible.

Apart from Honors classes, students in this program will also have a group of advisers to help guide them through college years. Most of the time, this program will help find scholarships for students in the program as well. Furthermore, students will be able to stay in the "Honors Housing" in Middlebrook Hall. This is the great opportunities to live with other Honors students to stay connected with other Honors students. From my own experiences, whenever I have homework that I can't do on my own, there are always someone in the building who can help me. Whenever I have a test, I always have someone to study with. During dinner, I also enjoy talking with my friends on some interesting topics both academically and non-academically. All these help enhance my academic experiences greatly and are very advantageous to my learning.

Finally, after talking about the program, you may wonder how to get into the program. Go to this link:http://www.honors.umn.edu/admission/first-year.html, which is the website of the University Honors Program and you will find out the details about admission. You can also find other information about the program on this website.

Please feel free to ask me if you have any questions regarding the program. You can leave a comment here with your e-mail so that I can reply to you or you can just leave your comment hear and I will use the comment to answer your question.

Study Abroad Opportunities

Hey friends, do you know that the University of Minnesota has more than 250 exchange agreements and many informal linkages with institutions around the world? As an international student, you can also consider exploring a new state of learning. Here is the link that you can choose the country that you are interested.

International Exchanges
Middle East

Furthermore, the Learning Abroad Center provides a more detailed website. http://www.umabroad.umn.edu/

As a student of Carlson School of Management, I personally somehow know more about the programs between business schools. This may, I will be a special assistant of a study abroad course in China. Professor Steve Spruth spoke highly of the program (video here).

Diary of Asa: Preparing Departure to the US (Part 2)

...the continuation of Diary of Asa: Preparing Departure to the US Part 1 ^0^

After taking care of all the administration business, it was the time when I started to think about what personal items I should bring to the states and came up with the list below:

1. Clothes
I love shopping! It is one of the best stress relievers for me. Since I knew I was going to do some shopping here, I did not bring many clothes from Indonesia. I think I only brought a couple pairs of jeans, T-shirts, light jackets, casual pants, and two dressy outfits >o<

2. Winter apparels
I found an article at www.wikipedia.org about the climate of the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St. Paul). The article mentioned that the temperatures of the Twin Cities regions range from an average of 13.1 °F (−10 °C) in January to 73.2 °F (23 °C) in July. It also explained how the Twin Cities is also subjected to arctic air masses throughout the winter months, which bring with them cold temperatures and sometimes strong wind.

We have no snow in Indonesia (yes, I was running around like a 5-year-old girl on my first snow day here ^^). If I bought my winter apparels (long johns http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_underwear, sweaters, winter coats, gloves, scarfs, ear muffs or hats, and boots) there, it might not be warm enough for Minnesota. Therefore, I decided to buy them here. Of course, if you are coming from a place that has the same or almost the same temperature and climate as Minnesota, you might want to bring them with you to save some money.

3. Socks and underwear

4. Shoes and/or sandals
My red converse, a pair of tennis shoes, and a pair of high heels (my mom bought them for me because she wanted me to be more feminine by the time I entered college ^^) were enough for me. There are lots of cute shoes that I could buy here anyway >o<

5. Documents
I put all important documents, such as I-20, airline ticket numbers, emergency phone number, photocopy of passport, address and phone numbers for my contact person at the University of Minnesota, etc in one folder. And then I put it in my backpack so I would not lose it.

6. Electrical adapter
The electrical outlet in America is apparently different from the one that I usually used back home. Since I brought my laptop and cell phone from home, I also equipped myself with an electrical adapter so I could still charge them.


Euro to US Plug Adapter.jpg

7. Medicine

8. Food
Here is a complete list of what you could bring and what you could not bring to enter the United States of America: http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/vacation/kbyg/prohibited_restricted.xml

..to be continued to the third part ^0^


Diary of Asa: Preparing Departure to the US (Part 1)

It's unbelievable that time flies super fast! I still remember, two years ago around this time of the year, I was preparing everything upon my departure to Minneapolis. It was a bit hard to take care of a couple things since I was not in the US yet; therefore, I decided to write a series of how I got settled in at the University of Minnesota. Everything that I am going to write here would be my personal experiences. I am hoping they could be good references for you all, but am also hoping you would keep your minds open to other options (I am going to include them in the series or you could find them on your own). You decide what is best for you (but definitely feel free to leave a comment if you have any concerns ^^).

The first two questions that came to my mind after I heard the news that I was admitted to the University of Minnesota were what I should do next and what I should bring. After sitting in front of a computer in an internet cafe for a couple hours, I found out that I needed to:

1. Confirm my enrollment
The following link gave me information about the deadlines and how to complete it: http://www.isss.umn.edu/new/confirmenr.html.

2. Apply for my student visa
When I clicked on the following link, I was able to find detailed information on how to obtain a student visa: http://www.isss.umn.edu/new/visas.html. Frankly speaking, I was a bit lazy to read all of it, hhehe. I decided to just type 'obtaining a US visa' at google.com and found this following website http://www.usembassy.gov/. I chose the closest embassies to my hometown and found the information on how to request a student visa under the 'non-immigrant visas' tab.

Note: transfer students need to complete their visa transfer process (visa transfers are students coming from another US college or university) http://www.isss.umn.edu/new/visas.html

3. Plan my expenses and payment of tuition
I lived with my parents in Indonesia for 17 years. They always gave me pocket money every month, but of course, most of it was for my own pleasure. They already took care of the grocery, phone-electricity-internet billings, school tuition, etc. I knew if I was going to continue my education in America, I needed to be an independent individual, including knowing how to handle my own expenses (http://www.isss.umn.edu/new/pay.html).

4. Send my immunization record
It was interesting when I found out about the whole immunization form thing because we do not need to submit one in Indonesia. However, Minnesota law, apparently, requires all students to be immunized against measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, and diphtheria. I needed to complete and sign the Student Immunization Record (http://www.bhs.umn.edu/services/immunizationservices.htm), then send it in an envelope, together with my enrollment confirmation form, to the address on the form ( do not forget to provide in writing the month and year you received each immunization). I remember I did not get one of those vaccinations in Indonesia; therefore, I needed to receive it after I arrived here (at my own expense).

5. Initiate my University of Minnesota email account
This was particularly important when I needed to apply for an on-campus housing. At first, I was confused when I was asked to provide my social security numbers because I did not think I had one. Later on, I found out that international students do not have social security numbers, so I could leave it blank https://www.umn.edu/initiate/.

...to be continued to the second part ^0^


March 4, 2009

Ready for school in mind and body?

No time to exercise during the semester?
I had the same problem that maybe many of you are having regarding to exercising and controlling your health, especially when we have little time to even get some sleep! I know that particular intervals of time during the semester you will not even think about getting close to the treadmill or the gym in general. I did this same mistake the first 3 semesters. Then I started to fill so tired, and completely bored of doing nothing but school related stuff. So at the beginning of this semester I changed my mind, and a little bit my schedule. I was determined to be healthier not only physically, but mentally too.
I will talk in this blog about working out and jump into the bike, and getting some quality time to relax and make new friends! It is amazing what happens when you open your circle of places, people, and activities just a little bit more ;)

I started working out in the gym that I have on my building, but it didn’t work out. It was too small so I got very easily bored of doing the same machines (the same two as always) and for one reason or another one, they were easily and very frequently out of order. This is how I started to look up for new places to have a one-hour working out place. Each one of us surely have a completely different story of why or how got into working out, but I will assume that we all enjoy it and at the end of the day, we all understand and feel the good results of doing it.
So I joined the UofM gym. First I was not too enthusiastic about walking a little bit more than usual to get to the gym, especially with all this cold weather! (Although this last few weeks it is so much better outside….that I don’t want to stay in). But I was decided to find fun activities to do while working out.
The first few days I was a little shy. I only used the machines…but aren’t they bored?!!! OMG! Until I learned that they have a spring program called Fitness. What a change!! I sleep better, I feel better, more active, with a little extra motivation to do homework, reading, programming (I am in the Computer Science field), preparing presentations, etc. It is not magic, of course. But little by little I notice how many new things I have tried, new friends I have, and in general I am doing even better academically speaking.
Engineering and computer scientist students we all know that we spend much of our time sitting, programming, reading, etc. We have tons of statistics that some of us will develop health issues regarding to posture, weight, even sleeping! And even though I don’t have a good understanding about other majors, I will get ahead of statistics and take my chances to say that other major’s students also have similar situations. Can I suggest something?Maybe start by taking only 40 minutes to walk, run, spin, or/and do any sport of your choice. You will spend 10 minutes changing clothes, and you will be ready to continue your day after another 10 minutes to have some water and something light but healthy to eat. Try to do it 3 times a week at any time that works the best for you and your schedule. The gym is free! And it has very flexible hours so that you can get there at “any” time of the day. Did you know we have a huge swimming pool, more than 15 racquetball courts, two different places to play basquetball, tennis, in-site running? They also provide to us lockers to secure all your belongings and showers?
They also offer classes (for a small fee), these are the ones I like the most. They have several programs but the one I enjoy the most is the Fitness program; they offer Cardio Dance, Spin, TNT, Get On The Ball (GOTB), Pilates, Yoga, Boxing, Complete Core, The Ride (which is a very fun class to pedal on the bikes), Step, etc. I made a link here if you want to read more about it.
I remember so many people saying that as humans we need to exercise both sides of our brain, the right side and the left side. Each one help us to perform different activities, and to have the opportunity to develop and enhance each and every single one of our skills and talents bring us a feel of completeness, confidence, a healthier body and mind, encourages us to try new things, distraction, and happiness!
So please give it a try  do things that you like the most and that will also keep you healthier through the entire semester! Keep up with the studies and take care of your health as well. We certainly don’t need to wait until we are having health issues to start taking a little bit more care of ourselves.

Professional Degrees at the University of Minnesota

The University of Minnesota offers professional degrees in specific areas such as JD (Law), MD (Medicine), DDS (Dentistry), DVM (Veterinary Medicine), and MBA (Business Administration).

As well, some colleges at the University of Minnesota provide professional degrees: College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Re¬source Sciences; and College of Education and Human Development. For instance, College of Education and Human Development provides M.E.D degrees (Masters of Education).

The University of Minnesota offers professional degrees in specific areas such as JD (Law), MD (Medicine), DDS (Dentistry), DVM (Veterinary Medicine), and MBA (Business Administration).

As well, some colleges at the University of Minnesota provide professional degrees: College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Re¬source Sciences; and College of Education and Human Development. For instance, College of Education and Human Development provides M.E.D degrees (Masters of Education).

The link below will help you understand the difference between graduate school programs and professional programs.


Professional degrees are mainly designed for practitioners who need practical courses and training, which is different from academic research. Therefore, the school doesn’t generally require thesis or dissertation for graduation.

The tuition of professional programs is also different from that of graduate school programs.


However, not every department has professional degree programs. So, students first check with their departments about professional degrees and requirements. Students also need to consider their educational goals or career paths in industries or academic fields before making decisions.

March 2, 2009

Campus Connectors or Campus Circulator?!?

Ever wondered why it is University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus? Most of the posts on the blog will give many hints as to why it is that! And it simply because, in the Twin Cities area, the University of Minnesota has two campuses: one in Minneapolis and one in Saint Paul. It might happen during your registration that you have classes in both campuses, in which cases you will need to get around in an efficient and fast way. It might also happen that you have classes in the same campus, but because of either the time between the two classes (the shortest time is around 15 minutes), the weather (either heavy snow, rain..etc...) or other factors, you need a faster way to transit. Your answer: The campus connectors and campus circulators !

The campus connectors are the fastest way to move from campus to campus or from buildings to buildings in the same campus. The shuttle transiting between the Minneapolis and Saint Paul campuses is route 121 (normal and express). It is fairly regular during the semester and will get you across the Mississippi river (from the West Bank to the East Bank in Minneapolis) in less than 3 minutes, in case your next class is on the other Bank. The transit between Minneapolis and Saint Paul last about 15 - 20 mins (less than the cities public transport) because those shuttles are using the Intercampus Transitway.

The campus circulators are only use for transits within a campus. The East Bank circulator (route 123) will only get you to buildings on the East Bank and the same goes for the Saint Paul circulator (route 124) which covers Saint Paul. The Washington Bridge Avenue connector mostly serve the West Bank campus and a small portion of the East Bank campus.

For people with temporary of permanent disabilities, there is a Paratransit service free of charge for transits on-campus.

Using the campus connectors or circulators is included in the student fees, so you do not have to pay when you get in the bus. You simply have to get in...and know where to get off :). And the University has recently changed their campus buses, the new ones being more environment friendly (hybrid buses), as well as user friendly (possibility to open the bus door from outside, if you are rushing to catch one and the bus driver already closed the doors).

For transits off-campus, students have the possibility to buy a U-Pass, which totally worth its price because of the discounts on all transits in the Twin Cities area.

Image from University of Minnesota