April 12, 2009

Ever heard of the Minnesota State Fair?

Or ever heard of such thing as a state fair at all!?!? The Minnesota state Fair is one of the biggest gatherings in Minnesota during the summer. The main attraction of the fair is all the varieties of food, livestock and art that are presented. There are other activities such as concerts, science fair or marathon. It usually takes place in Saint Paul on the Fairgrounds near the Saint Paul Campus of the University of Minnesota and lasts twelve days, from late August to Labor Day (first Monday of September).

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April 2, 2009

You sure you know MN?

Here is the official website for you to be familiar with Minnesota (MN) before you come here as international students. But firstly let me show you some fun stuff related to MN. I saw this from Facebook before I came to the US.

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February 27, 2009

Making Friends: Are there any golden rules?

Whether or not you are a confident English speaker, you do have one universal language that helps you make friends in Minnesota. It's your SMILE! Minnesotans are known to be relaxed and friendly people, so your smile works perfect in this State. Aha! Isn't it good?

Let me share some more about making friends.


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February 17, 2009

One of the good things about Minneapolis

I just got back from Tokyo, Japan, where I collected data (i.e. interviewed people) for my thesis work. It was an interesting return trip because I was constantly comparing the two cities of Tokyo and Minneapolis while I was there. It was as if I was looking at the hustling and bustling city of Tokyo through a different pair of glasses. The city looked familiar, but not in the same way as it used to be.

During my stay in Tokyo, I really missed the coffee shops in Minneapolis. There are lots of good ones in Minneapolis where we can relax, chat, and have access to free wi-fi. Each coffee shop has its own atmosphere with cozy couches, arts, and music. Many students bring their laptops and textbooks to study there. You are never kicked out for staying too long or plugging in your laptop.

It was almost impossible to enjoy this environment in Tokyo. Yes, there are fancy cafes but they are just too crowded and hardly come with free wi-fi. There are very few outlets so even when I was lucky enough to find a place, my laptop's life was too short. Why not just read a book then? Umm, no, no. The noise and atmosphere was too distracting. The coffee shops did not seem as welcoming and comfortable for students like me as they are in Minneapolis.

So now you know you have more choices of study place in Minneapolis. If not at home, not in the student lounge or library on campus, go to one of your favorite coffee shops to study!

February 3, 2009

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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December 11, 2008


As the winter is finally here and finals are almost over, some international students are planning about going back to their home countries for the holiday. But if you decide to have a white Christmas in Minne -snow- ta (I usually say Minne -snow- ta instead of Minnesota as a joke since we get lots of snow ^o^), no need to worry about how you could spend your holiday here.


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December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving! (+ a video for winter clothing :)

We just came out of the long Thanksgiving weekend, and besides the extra sleep, the shopping on Black Friday and the "loading on food", it was also a great opportunity for people and family to get together, and share a homemade dinner together :). I didn't do anything special that Thursday besides catching up on my sleep and baking a little, but I went shopping Friday around 11am at the Mall of America! A lot of people, but no crazy shoppers as the stories you may have heard about this year Black Friday, i.e. a Wal-Mart (just a store) employee got killed :/ that day, because of shoppers whose enthusiasm was a "little too much".

The Saturday before, the international student organization IFGP

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November 17, 2008

Minnehaha Falls!

I went there last spring with the previous ambassadors and we had a really good time there! There was quite a few interesting historic sites like the first wood-made (1800s) house in the Mississipi. The temperature were pretty mild when we went so I didn't get a chance to see the falls frozen....Which would be quite remarkable because the temperatures need to drop quite low and stay like that for a while to freeze the fall. But it has happened and all you need to do: "Layers, layers and layers" :)

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November 11, 2008

Haunted Halloween

A friend of mine asked me if I was going to dress up for Halloween (October 31, 2008) and I said, "I am going to be Domo-kun!!!"

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November 6, 2008

Minneapolis and You

It is a fact: the Minneapolis metro area’s 18.3 million annual visitors make it one of the Forbes’ 30 most-visited cities in the U.S. Therefore I decided for today’s post to gather a potpourri of places to visit in your stay as a student in Minneapolis/St Paul; museums, parks, open areas to do sports, and a few restaurants of my predilection…just good enough to get a feeling about how goooood life in the Twin Cities can be! These are some of the places where I have been either before school started or some random weekend trying to get some fun time…
I like sports…not to watch them on TV, but to practice them! I like running at morning/night and even though I am very far away from being good at it – I can’t run and talk at the same time hahaha – the body needs to be exercised from time to time. Lake Calhoun is this year’s best place in the city to do outdoor activities; it recently won as the Best 2008 Public Park in the Twin Cities. Here you have 3.2 miles to walk with your best friend and gossip!! Can somebody gossip for that long? …and I am learning a new sport, skiing – people say it is easier for those who have some skating experience – so I found a place near the Twin Cities (10 minutes from St Paul) and here Afton Alps you can find more information.
Now who thinks that in Minneapolis/St Paul we don’t have cultural events?! Well we do ? I like to go to music concerts too and here at Ticket Master you will find tickets and a detailed schedules per artist and more. On the other hand…the Guthrie Theater offers performances around the year, tours and classes!! – even though it sounds like a lot of fun….there is no way they will convince me enough to make me shift from Computer Science to acting…never! – .... If you want to, they can even send you text messages with news and offers to your mobile device. We have our own museum too at the University of Minnesota: the Weisman Art Museum check it out for more info.
After doing exercise, walking around the city, paying attention to boring art and people talking (not true!) we are getting hungry! It was about time to talk about food…Of course you can find in Minneapolis Mc Donald’s, but there is a BBQ restaurant that you can’t find everywhere in the US and that is Famous Dave’s BBQ. …and more for steak lovers Fogo de Chão is a steakhouse where you can sample the entire menu over and over and over again until you say “no more PLEASE!? …but let me warn you ahead of time that it’s a place for a special occasion because it is expensive (specially for students).
Now that we are ready to do something else before going back to the apartment and get some homework done I recommend the Science Museum because it has an a-w-e-s-o-m-e omnitheater!!! I saw a movie about the human body and ever since I wish I had a big-enough room to have a place like that in my house!!!!.... We can look up, down, right and left at a ninety-foot convertible IMAX dome – and it is the only convertible dome theater in the United States – and here you can find more information about it at Science Museum of Minnesota.
And finally, one personal comment...all of them can be much much more fun iff you go with friends, family, stick together!!
I recommend this web site to find more to do– and get exhausted – in Minneapolis/St Paul.

My next blog will be about Computer Science at my University…so you are invited to come back and read my next blog.

- Gabriela

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November 5, 2008

Initial experiences of an International Student~

I was very excited, a few days before starting for USA from my home country, as I was travelling out of my home country for the first time. I was little apprehensive about finding a place to live in Minneapolis, that along with my excitement of going to a foreign country made me start my journey 3 weeks before the classes actually started. It took me days to figure out what my baggage should consist of as I had to follow the weight limitations imposed on the baggage by the airline authorities. I now know why they call Knapsack problem difficult after taking my Advanced Algorithms classes. And the day arrived, but it wasn’t an easy day for and I felt the journey to be much longer and tiresome than I expected. I took a train from my hometown to Hyderabad, and flew from Hyderabad to Mumbai, took a connecting flight from Mumbai to Chicago via London and finally another flight from Chicago to Minneapolis. The entire journey took more than 48 hours. And all I could do after reaching Minneapolis is sleeping for one complete day.

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May 8, 2008

Life is so good!

OMG, the final week is driving me crazy. Finals are coming next week, (good luck everyone!). Congratulations of your baby, my dear dear Beth! I miss you so much and I look forward to seeing you this summer. What else?

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April 30, 2008

Making friends in America

As an international student, most of you are probably hoping to have many American friends and also friends who are from the other country.

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April 18, 2008


Besides being in the state of 10,000 lakes, Minneapolis is a really entertaining city. If you are a football/baseball fan, you will enjoy the Vikings, Twins, Gophers, and most of all, the TCF stadium currently being constructed on-campus for the Gophers.

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April 13, 2008

Saying hello to friends

What do you do when you meet a person who you know?

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April 1, 2008

U.S. Collegiate Athletics

As I mentioned in my introductory entry, I play for the University of Minnesota's Division I NCAA Women's Ice Hockey Team. I want to talk a little bit about this now to give you an idea of what Division I Collegiate athletics are like in the United States, for their importance and glorification can be somewhat surprising.

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March 26, 2008

feel troublesome? just ask for help!

Hey, everyone, I just got back from Florida. The weather there was wonderful. Everything was like in a beautiful dream. However it is time to come back to the real life in Minnesota!

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March 13, 2008

Politically incorrect

My first semester at the University of Minnesota began in September of 2004. I was the only non-American in my group of friends, something that was seldom noticed in most conversations and situations. But what was special about this point in time, was that in November of 2004, there was to be a presidential election.

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How often do you check your email?

Email, short for electronic mail has become a more prominent type of communication worldwide, and it is a primary way of communication here in the University of Minnesota.

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February 15, 2008

Some personal insights

U.S culture varies for everyone depending on which culture you belong to. Coming from Pakistan, U.S culture seemed entirely different to me especially the social norms. But the thing is that being internationals it is in our best interest to adapt the culture as soon as possible and get used to it to feel oneself as a part of where we will be living for the next couple of years or more. Things become easy if you try to make as many friends as possible and the key is that "Be the first one to introduce". People here like to help but you want to be able to ask for it. So don't be shy and just express yourself, you will be adored.