April 24, 2009

SMART Learning Commons

There are many resources at the University of Minnesota that can help you succeed. The one that I would like to recommend here is an academic assistance service called the SMART Learning Commons.


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April 23, 2009

Internet-based tools -important websites to learn-

Once you have started classes, you will need to quickly pick up new tools. You will familiarize with many codes for classes, building names, make new friends, important website’s URLs to check your grades etc. We (international ambassadors) have been written on how to make new friends, places to visit, etc. But we didn’t talk about Internet-based tools! ….. And we all use it every single day! The University of Minnesota and every Department, Office, or Library has its own special website where you will find official information about your grades, registered courses, available textbooks at the library, events, and so much more information!

There are a few websites that I would talk about in this article because I am more than sure that you will use them either because as professor ask you to do so, or because the information it provides is really helpful. The names of this websites are: MyU, OneStop, ITLABS, Library, ISSS, and the UofM E-mail.

Certainly I can write down an extraordinary b-i-g list with all of the websites I daily use, but I don’t want to make you (the reader) feel overwhelmed. I promise that little by little you will find and add to your list of favorites as the days go by.


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April 16, 2009

Any hi-tech application in the teaching process?

Are you wondering whether or not you will be able to see cool stuff, or maybe be part of something cool?!? Depending on your major, there maybe some opportunities you should absolutely not miss!

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April 6, 2009

Bookstore (school supplies and more)

I can’t believe how long it took me this time to find a good topic to write about! I am happy now that I found it, and my article is ready for you! I think this topic, will help you learn where to buy all your school supplies, textbooks, Gopher’s items, computers, electronic supplies, and more.

When I started the MS CS program, on the first semester I had to buy 2 textbooks; Data Communications and Networks, and Software Engineering. Prior weeks to my first semester I was living in California, and I flew to Minneapolis very close to my first day….actually on the same day, first flight. (I don’t recommend anyone to follow my steps here).

I needed to get ready quickly for school; I knew that at the Coffman Union building (it is one of the most visited for lunch, special activities like Career Fairs, Graduation Festival, Indian/Chinese/Etc. cultural activities, Bookstore sales, etc you can see a map here) had a store called the Bookstore. Please I do strongly recommend visiting it as soon as you arrive to campus.

Bookstore UofM.jpg

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April 3, 2009

First Day of the First Semester...

The first day of classes is usually exciting. New place, new friends, new teacher, new class room...
People wake up very early in the morning, have a wonderful breakfast and go to their class super early.

However, sometimes, things do not go as planned. That's what happened to me. Things went wrong badly, and my first day of the first semester turned out to be catastrophic.

Let's find out what went wrong with my first day and what mistakes I did so that you can learn from my experiences, and prevent bad things from happening with you.

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April 2, 2009

Need a mentor as a business student?

Life is tough for international student especially during our first year. We need to adjust to the life style here quickly, as well as the academic environment. That is why we need some experienced ones to be with us when we are not able to overcome the troubles. As a Carlson student, I would like to recommend two programs that mean a lot to me at some point.

-Carlson Buddies Program
In my freshmen year, I was involved in Carlson Buddies Program as a “little buddy”. Each “little buddy” matches with a “big buddy” based on the major and interests etc. I felt that I really enjoyed the time being with my “big buddy”. She, as a senior student in Carlson shared a lot of information and knowledge with me not only about the learning experience inside the classroom but also the opportunities outside the school. Furthermore, she introduced her friends to me and her friends might also hang out with me with their friends together which is called networking for all of us. I benefited a lot from it. The best thing of the program for me is that I still keep contact with my “big buddy” these days and the lifelong friendship is the most valuable thing that I took away from the program.

-Carlson Mentorship Program
Carlson Mentorship Program looks similar with the Buddies Program. However, the difference is that you will be matched with a successful professional from the Minneapolis/St. Paul business community or a professional outside of Minnesota. No wonder that the stories they talked about would be different from the ones that my “big buddy” told me. I always felt excited for my future with them because they just gave me too much insights and ideas. I enjoyed the feeling of being refreshed in mind. Because they are more “adult”, I would be more willing to expose my mistakes because they are more likely to understand me. Don’t be hesitated to ask, otherwise you miss the key part of the program.

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.

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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...

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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.

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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.

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).

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 ;)

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February 20, 2009


In some cultures like in England and Thailand, students have one midterm and one final exam for each class in school, while in others, students might have only one final exam in a semester. What about the University of Minnesota?
How many tests and exams are there in each class?

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February 19, 2009

Interdisciplinary research

Of late I've realized the scope of interdisciplinary research going on in the University here and the way students can connect to this. It is really interesting to know how all the disciplines are working together in achieving their respective goals. I'm now part of a project where there are Mechanical Engineers, Surgeons, Graphic Designers, Computer Scientists and Bio-medical engineers are connected. Its really an exciting experience knowing how my field of study can be applied along with other fields of study in order to develop something of great value to the society. In another project, I'm working with a doctoral student from the department of archeology. It's fun to get exposed to new and interesting areas.

With this interdisciplinary collaboration and research, we get exposure to many different areas. And we never feel guilty of not putting the physics, mechanics of solids and other topics which we studied years before as we end up putting these to a good use in such kind of collaborative environments.

There are many such collaborations in various departments at the University of Minnesota. The Professors are quite accessible to discuss their research with students, and their active research is also quoted in their websites. This way the students can pursue their best interests by getting in touch with people working on areas of their interest.

February 15, 2009

Writing, writing, writing...

Writing is one of the primary skills that students are expected to demonstrate. We first face this challenge in the TOEFL writing session where we struggle to write to the point in a limited time. The pressure IS big. Now, the real challenge comes when we start to work on our writing assignments at school. The amount of writing depends on the field of study, but in my department, for example, the average length of one paper assignment is 10-page-long. When it comes to a final paper, the required pages can even reach 20 or more. Waaah! Don't freak out. There are certain ways and resources that help us learn to write more academically. So here are some tips for you.

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February 6, 2009

Class Structure

How are classes like? Is the class big? Will I be able to talk to professor in the class? What if I have questions during the class? How are the labs?

Many of you may have these questions in your mind right now.
All right, your answers to those questions are here!!!!

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Info on Teaching, Resources and Research in CS

Here is some information about the teaching style at the U in general, the library resources available and research areas in the department of Computer Science and Engineering.

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February 3, 2009

Women in Computer Science...this is for YOU!

I should talked about this topic a loooooong time ago, I am sorry about it. I missed one of the Ambassadors meetings because of this conference, actually. This conference is one of the most popular ones in Computer Science, and it has a particularity: it is made by and for women! The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computer Science annual conference takes place in different and exciting locations that always surprises everyone!

This special conference is oriented to Master and PhD female students in Computer Science or related fields.

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About the GRE and TOEFL

When I was getting ready to start my graduate studies here in the US I knew I had to do very well in the GRE and the TOEFL exams. GRE stands for Graduate Record Examination, and TOEFL stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language. Here you can lear a little bit more about each of them * GRE * TOEFL *...Wikipedia is awesome by the way!

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February 2, 2009

Writing Center at University of Minnesota

For every international student, writing might be the hardest job ever.

However, the University of Minnesota has a very convenient and competitive writing center for you!

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February 1, 2009

Back for a new semester and new year + Philadelphia Photos!

Yep, the Spring 09 semester started about two weeks ago, probably on a good note, for most students, faculty members and University Employees, because of the new classes, new perspectives, new buildings and the new US administration we all witnessed on the first day of class :)


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November 21, 2008

Points to remember for Prospective Students.

With the deadlines for applications to various programs approaching for the Fall 2009, all the prospective students must be having busy time. Busy time getting recommendation letters, making final changes to your statement of purpose and filling up applications (online or the hard copy). Everything is afresh in my mind as I was in that place exactly one year back. Few important things to remember can be -

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November 3, 2008

My academic program--Macc Program

People always ask me about my academic program—Macc (Master of Accountancy).
Since I’m the International Student Ambassador, I should take the advantage to let more people know this program and join us. All I say is my opinion, so if you’re interested, you should go to:
This is the official website of Macc Program, also a great resource. If you still have other questions, please contact me.

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April 24, 2008

Liberal Education requirement

Sometimes it might be overwhelming if you have to take higher level of classes in English when you are not well adapted to the classroom environment in the states. Especially when it comes to biology and philosophy.

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April 21, 2008

How many credits per semester?

How many credits would it be appropriate? How is it going to affect my graduation plan?

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April 18, 2008

How Many Classes For A Semester?

Since my beginnings here at the university, I have been taking a lot of credits per semester. One of the main reasons was that, if you take over 13 credits (which is considered full-time) with a maximum of 20 credits, the University does not charge you for the extra credits and since I wasn't able to transfer my credits, I basically had to take the same classes I had in my high school and university back home.

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April 14, 2008

How safe is it to walk alone late in the evening around the campus?

It's pretty late, and you need to walk to your residence hall or your apartment building. Is it really safe around the campus to walk alone all by yourself?

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April 10, 2008

MAJOR is a major question!

Life is full of dilemma, and this is particularly true when it comes to choosing a major.
Shall I pick up something I am really interested in or it is better to study what turns out to be career-friendly?
It is a big question!

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April 9, 2008

What classes are you taking?

Besides the question about your major, the classes you are currently taking, will also be a good "small-talk" with new students you will meet on campus!

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gpa = academic success?

What is college all about for an international student?
A hundred people could offer a hundred different answers, yet as international students, we seem to be more concerned about GPA.
Here comes another question, does a high gpa necessarily represent the success in academics?
My answer would be “maybe not in the US? as far as my experience is concerned.

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April 8, 2008

How big is the university actually?

One of the biggest university in the states, how big actually is it to study and live?

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April 6, 2008

How is life, study and weather here in Minnesota?

Recently, a prospective student from Malaysia asked me those three questions and I had replied to it personally. I just thought that I can share this with more people who read the blog as well. Just a quick note on the word course. The word "course" in Malaysia equals to the word "major" and the word "course" in America usually refered as "subject" in Malaysia. Just thought it is necessary to point this out.

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March 31, 2008

So what's your major?!?!

Well, this will be the most recurrent question around campus in conversations you will have with students you have just met. It's one of the subjects you can use in a small-talk when you don't have much to talk about for a beginning and even if you haven't decided yet of what you want to do, you can always give some personal insights of what you like and what you are feel comfortable doing.

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March 6, 2008

Tough classes... :(

Last semester i took calculus at the University of Mn for the first time. I was pretty nervous about the class. because the university is pretty huge compared to my old college and i just thought that the calculus class was going to be very hard. It was very hard in the begining and i needed a lot of help with my homework. So i started looking for a tutor. I could've gone to my TA's(teacher's assistant) office hour but my schedule never worked out.
Finally i found a walk-in tutor at Lind Hall 150. Without their help i would not have made it! Plus i had a study group in my class. So that helped me a lot too. For those who will be taking really hard classes, don't worry and relax... There are many wonderful tutorings, almost in every major at the university. And also you can always find somebody in your class who would be willing to study with you and help you!

Are internships and volunteer work that important?

Well, i would say it is very important. It might sound something so obvious to some people, but for me i didn't really
know the importance of gaining experience while you are in school. In Mongolia, where i came from, you just study hard until you are junior and then you can do an internship. But here, things are pretty different. You have to start volunteering or do internship from your freshman year. I find that the local students start volunteering and doing internship in their junior or senior in high school. As you get closer to graduate, and if you don't have any
experience then things get fuzzier.
Right now i am in that position. It is extremely hard to find a good internship without relevant work experience. So in
order to avoid being in such situation, let's start earning experience as soon as possible!!
You can go to Career and Community Learning Center at 345 Fraser Hall, . They can help you with finding a volunteering opportunity in the twin Cities areas. personally i think that volunteering is a very good start! Good luck!

February 28, 2008

20 credits with a cup of coffee....

Have you ever wondered how many credits you should take in the U? It depends on what kind of person you are and what kind of college-life you would like to have. Taking too many credits at one time might be another kind of suicide!
No Kidding...

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February 25, 2008

Small strategy to be with class

I know quite many people who struggle during exam time. From my points of view, it is because they study for the exam on the night before the exam! it is impossible to memorize or understand everything at once. So what i would recommend you to do is to do the assignments on time. So that you would understand it while you are doing it and all you have to do is just to rewise them. ;)

February 23, 2008

Those crazy weeks...!

After about one month of homework, simple assignments and reports due, I had my first midterm this previous week....!

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