As a former railway bridge built for James J. Hill's Minneapolis Union Railway Company in 1882-1883, the Stone Arch Bridge was rehabilitated as a pedestrian bridge in 1994 and served as not only a historic site but also a destination for recreation. People choose this bridge for causal walking, jogging or other sightseeing.
The bridge used to connect the industries of east bank and west bank by connecting two major former flour mills---Pillsbury "A" mill on east bank and Washburn "A" Mill on west bank. The lime stones that were used to build the bridge provided significant texture on the bridge surface which gives a sense of rough industrial. Today, the Pillsbury was repurposed to be a multi-function building combined with residential and commercial, and the Washburn was reconstructed as historic museum after the fire. The industry of the riverfront became the past, new buildings were constructed on the purpose of taking the City of Minneapolis back to the riverfront, shaping the west riverfront to be a cultural district. For example, the founding of the new Guthrie Theater is a figure that takes the city back to the riverfront. The newly built theater is much larger in scale, encouraging more visitors. Featured spots such as the Endless Bridge, provides great view of the Stone Arch Bridge, the St Anthony Falls and the east bank industries; The Yellow Room, has its visitors to look at the Downtown Minneapolis and west bank industries in artistic "yellow eyes". Building on the former industrial site, the Mill Ruins Park is another case to exemplify the cultural makeover and preservation of the west bank.
Mill CIty Museum
Minneapolis Mill City Museum (10).JPG

The Mill CIty museum was built on the ruin of the old mill after a huge fire, today it is a historical site for industry past.

The story on the east bank is the story of natural preservation. The green space under the bridge is the wild nature of the riverfront. Wood staircases lead down to the river and land is relatively remote. Trees grow wildly so it is very hard to see anything from the top. There are no fences and any other structure between the bank and the river under the bridge so it is somewhere visitors can "touch" the river, which means this area is the truly wild nature. However, the view is somehow unique. Seeing from east to west, what's visible is not only the river, the bridge, but also the skyscraper of downtown Minneapolis.
Stone Arch Bridge needs to be repurposed, either rebuild or redefine. Owning to strong neo classic style and the rough yet natural surface of the bridge, it was redefined to be a pedestrian recreational bridge. It is believed that the bridge itself matches the profile of the riverfront area---industrial history, riverfront location and preserved wild nature.
So here's a trip of the area. Students from the University of Minnesota or residents from the community near the Pillsbury take their way to the Stone Arch Bridge. They will either go down to the river under the bridge or go on to the bridge across the river. Down by the river, they experience the wild nature and the view of downtown Minneapolis. On the bridge, they experience the river flow underneath and picturesque landscape on both sides. As they wake or jog, they encounter other pedestrians or biker. They will see the preserved natural on their right side; they will see the St Anthony Falls on their right too. As they getting closer to west bank, they will see the mill ruins park under the bridge on their left. The park is a preview for the industrial content of west bank riverfront. The skyline of downtown Minneapolis is on the face of the vanished point so people know where to go. The Ruins of Mill City stands by the river with its collapsed free-standing wall, drawing attention of the visitors'. The modernized ultramarine Guthrie Theater is located by the mill, attracting visitors as well. When people reach the west bank, they will either go down to the ruin park because they saw it on the bridge and want to know what's more down their; or they will try to figure out what happens to the mill city, why it looks like collapsed but still standing. Then, they might head to the Endless Bridge in Guthrie to see what where did they come, what they passed. The journey is not over yet, downtown will be seen through a "yellow eye" via the Yellow Room, and there's always more to explore.
The preservation for both history and nature along the riverside around the Stone Arch Bridge is a great example of designed environment. It gives the new birth of the industrial past in a manner of environmental friendly. Wild nature is not missing around the Metropolitan but preserved as another option of enjoyment.
The story of love under the bridge

Next time, as my last entry, I would like to end it with art in the CIty of Minneapolis

I love Bookstores


I love bookstores. I especially have an affinity for old ones with interesting layouts and even more interesting books. I spend hours in these stores not even reading; just walking through and looking at leather bound covers and feeling through the texture of books' pages. It is a weird habit, but books really are amazing things!!! How can something so basic hold so much creativity and wisdom, satisfaction and joyful escape?

ANYWAY, as I was writing before I lost my train of thought: I love old dusty bookstores but I have become very fascinated with the University of Minnesota Bookstore in Coffman Student Union. It is one of the largest public university bookstores in the entire country! I didn't even know this until now but it makes sense. No wonder I always get lost and lose so much time in there...


Bookstore entrance

It boasts a myriad of fun items including textbooks, general books, collegiate gift items, magazines, fun random items, cosmetics, tech devices, medical school products, collegiate clothing and my favorite part: stationery!


Some cool stuff inside the bookstore.

Coming in as a new student, the bookstore was a convenient place to get all the textbooks I needed. After signing up for classes, I simply ordered my textbooks online from the bookstore. I went to pick them up at the store just as an excuse to roam around but you can also have your books sent to your dorm, apartment or home.

In addition to selling textbooks, the bookstore also buys textbooks back from students throughout the year. How cool is that?! There are instances when the store does not buy textbooks back though. Here are some examples:

-When the textbook is damaged.
-If the store is ordering the new edition of a textbook.
-If the store has filled its quota for textbooks it will buy back.

Despite these cases, it is still nice to know that you don't have to hold on to textbooks you will never use again AND that you can be paid for them too.

Of course whenever I go to the store I have to stop by the clothing section to check what new gopher styles are in store. The store doesn't just have t-shirts and sweatshirts and pants, it also has formal dress shirts, cardigans, kids clothes, caps, bags, miss styles for women etc. The list goes on.

The bookstore often has sales on different items . Two of the biggest sales are the Fall Sale and the May Sale. During these sales, as early as 8 am, the bookstore sets up tables in front of the student union and have many boxes of largely discounted items for people to buy. These sales usually last two weeks; one occurs at the beginning of the fall semester and one at the end of the spring semester.

During football season the bookstore also sets tents up outside TCF Bank stadium for home games. So if you are not dressed up in gopher colors when you arrive at the stadium, you can always buy an item at the tents and be game-ready!

Now that's what I call bleeding maroon and gold. ^^

In conclusion, the U of M bookstore is tons of fun. So if you get the chance, do stop by and check it out!

The Story of the City, Green----Park system in Minneapolis

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Hello Everyone, long time no blog~
Today, Tony is going to talk about the park system in Minneapolis. As a landscape architecture student, park is an important theme in ourt professionals. Also, the unique park system is the key that makes Minneapolis and Minnesota unique. The City of Minneapolis has the nation-best, or maybe the world-best park system, known as Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway. This is also the reason I choose the U as a Landscape Architecture student.
The Grand Round is a roughly circular loop around the downtown Minneapolis. It is a linked series of park areas. Water is a very important feature to Minneapolis and Minnesota, so the park system enhanced the significance of water and used is as a main content of the park system. The Mississippi River, the Minnehaha Creek, the Minnehaha Falls and several lakes were interconnected with each other by roads, bike and pedestrian path and boulevards, bringing different experiences when traveling around the system from spaces to spaces.
Sheridan Park Analysis (Final).jpg
Starting from the Weisman Museum by the river on east bank campus, the pavement of the river road is in reddish tone, which starts to indicate that this is a parkway. The parkway goes along the Mississippi River, the green spaces between the river and the road has a slope downwards to the river, the vegetation in the space is diverse and dense, however, owning to the elevation change, the view to the river is not completely blocked.
Crossing the river via the Ford Bridge and continuing to west bank, the density of vegetation indicate to turn left on the first intersection, not go into the residential area but continue on the park system. The road here has an organic shape dividing the land into two parts---the residential area on the right and the park area on the left. The latter is the Minnehaha Falls Park. The falls are hidden in a basin where there's no vehicle access. Vegetation is dense and diverse in spices around the basin so the sense of space is very strong. The staircases leading down to the space are rough and old, merging into the picturesque landscape.
Minnehaha Falls


The Minnehaha Creek flows from the falls by the side of the parkway. Driving becomes efficient for moving but inefficient for experiencing the creek. On the street level, views are blocked by the vegetation; sounds of water flowing are buffed by the elevation change, biking or even walking along the creek is a better way to "feel" the space.
The Creek flow through Lake Hiawatha and pass Lake Nokomis, there's a beach area on the northeast side of the latter. The beach is an open space with great view of the lake and the landscape. The natuesacpe brings joy and the infrastructure like swings provides more options to stay.
The Minnehaha Creek divides into two branches, one continues to flow northwardly and the other one with the parkway eventually lead to Lake Harriet, a lake which is a part of the Chain of Lakes. Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun are closed to each other, and also, they are somehow alike. They both are bubble-like shape, especially for Lake Harriet; they both have some landscape structures such as decks into the lake for fishing and other purposes. They both have beach area that provides an option to "touch" the water while in Lake Harriet the beach area is more unprescribed. There's a stage on the northwest corner of Lake Harriet, which has a glass wall framing the view of the lake. It won't be hard to imagine that during the summer, people will gather around the stage, enjoying music and the delightful landscape the lake provides. Lake Calhoun seems to be more popular among other lakes since it seems to be more developed and closer to uptown area. If a painter would paint Lake Calhoun, it would be water in the foreground
With trees and shrubs; massive vegetation in the middle ground by the water, and then, the skyline of downtown Minneapolis in back.
The parkway continues to other two lakes, Cedar Lake and Lake of Isles. These two lakes are very different from Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet. Both Cedar Lake and Lake of Isles seem to be more unprescribed and intimate by comparing with Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet. There are in shapes of Amoebas. There're larger open spaces in between the lake houses and the lakes themselves. Automatic parkways, bike path and pedestrian walkway go around the Lake Harriet, Lake Calhoun and Lake of Isles, but not completed connected around Cedar Lake. There're two little islands in Lake of Isles, the heavy vegetation indicated that the two islands contain wild nature.
The park system is interconnected with roads, bike path and walkways. The speed limit for vehicle is 25m/h, which provide opportunities to enjoy the view on both sides. However, driving is not the best way to experience the park since the roads are sometimes away from the creek or lake and isolated somehow by the vegetation. However, the park system is not used to go though, people come here for gather and recreation, or seeking for the peace out of urban life.

Lake Calhoun and Downtown Minneapolis Skyline


Fishing at Nights by Lake Calhoun


Today, Tony talks a lot about the park system in Minneapolis. It's turely a lot but as a landscape architecture student, this is something I really enjoyed here in Minnesota. It is a story of the city, a green story about the nature and the city. Next time, let's turn the color to gray and take a look at the industrial past and present of the City of Minneapolis!
To be Continued.......

Minnesota: then and now.

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My first ever class at the university was chemical principles I. It was an 8 am class (typical science class time...) and I was waaay too early for it. The day before, I had gone to the bookstore to get all my books and stationery for class. So I had also packed my bag the night before. I spent a good hour studying maps of campus just to make sure I would not get lost (even though I'd printed a map off and had my class schedule in my binder anyway). My walk around campus the day before class began had clearly deceived me into thinking the size of the East bank campus was equivalent to the area covered by the Mall of America times a 1000! So on Tuesday, September 8th 2009 I rolled out of bed at 6.00 AM sharp. By 6.30 AM I was showered and rearing to go! Only...the dining hall in Sanford Hall didn't open till 7 AM. After waiting the longest 30 minutes of my life, I headed to the dining hall to eat. I was determined to use my 14-meal/week meal plan to the best of my abilities! No food would be wasted on my watch. There was so much food...good tasting too! (Sanford Hall had, still has, the best meals on campus). And so I ate. I ate and ate and ate until I could not move.

Pretty sure I gained my freshman 15 the first day of class.

It was only 7:15 AM when I was done. But I had to make sure I got the best seat in class! So I dragged my poor, food-laden self out of the cafeteria to the bus stop in front of the building. Alas, the bus was nowhere to be found! I would not let this be the cause of my tardiness that day, so I began to walk. I got to class by 7.30 AM only to hear crickets chirping. No one was there. And so I waited some more, till about 7.55 AM. I had never seen so many students in one class. There must have been at least 200!!! Anyway we carried on with class. The Professor introduced herself and mentioned how we would be going over the syllabus and some introductory concepts. I thought to myself, "Syllabus? What is she on about?" Of course majority of the students whipped out this 'syllabus' item from their bag, all ready to start learning. Despite my obsessive preparations, I had missed this small detail. "Nooooooo!!!!", I thought to myself. "Behind already" (not significantly though haha, I was just being dramatic). There was even a 5 page reading for the lesson that was supposed to have been completed. How in the world could I have missed this? Not to be defeated, I noted this down: Look at course website well before the first day of class ALWAYS. (By the way, the Professor had syllabi printed for the class, so I needn't have freaked out. Most Professors do this). Despite having such a large class, the Professor still tossed numerous questions to the audience. Some unabashed students answered, in full view of everyone in class, EVEN WHEN THEY WERE WRONG. Apparently it was okay not to know the answer. Scratch that. You were lauded for your attempt to learn, without qualms of being wrong. I continued to see this as my classes went on that first day. Different classes, different teaching styles, different expectations. Some professors wanted you to call them by their first name; others wanted you to use their title (Dr., Professor etc.). Some classes had 4 exams for the semester; others had 0. Some classes required me reading 100-120 pages per week; others just solving problems on homework and handing them in. There was so much to keep track of and by Thursday, I'd decided to drop a class to make my workload much more bearable. I did not regret it. My first day at school was an eye opener. Needless it is to say, I got lost despite my little map (inside of buildings are more confusing that outside) and despite all my planning I was still so flustered. It was fun all in all.

Tuesday, September 4th 2012 was the first day of class for the 2012-2013 academic year. I automatically woke up at 7:55 AM, just before my 8:00 AM alarm goes off (my sweet 5 minutes of sleep lost forever :( ). I rolled around refusing to get up until I heard my roommate enter our shared bathroom. I sprung up from my bed to catch her before her shower. If she started, I would never make it to my 9:05 AM class on time. I was too late. "Oh well", I thought, "it'll be cutting it close, but I'm sure I can wing it". While waiting for her, I stuffed some old blank sheets of paper into my one binder (my writing material for 5 classes) and looked around my desk for an old pen and pencil. I found both, no lead for the pencil though. I noted to myself: Buy lead from bookstore at some point today. I heard my roommate exiting the bathroom at 8:25 AM. I dove for the bathroom and made quick work of getting ready. Or so I thought; it was 8:50 AM when I emerged ready to leave. My apartment is a 20 minute walk from my first class. I had 15 minutes to make it. Grabbing a bagel sans cream cheese, I dashed across campus to my class and arrived at 9:10 AM. "Not bad", I thought to myself. I found a seat in the back of the class since it was full (my fellow classmates had had an 8 AM class in the same building and so were early). ¾ of my bagel still hanging from my mouth, it was then I realized the class was awfully quiet. Then I realized, we were having a quiz on the first day of class!! Who does that? And without warning?! Mind you, this time I had checked the course website to make sure I was up to speed on expectations for the first day, but no one had seen the quiz coming! Even the Professor later joked about having to create some 'element of surprise' for the first day. Honestly, I was not too surprised. Some things in college just don't shock me anymore. My motto is "If you can imagine the worst case scenario, it probably will happen" and so I'm always a bit prepared hahaha. As we went through the solutions for the quiz, I answered a question I was certain I had got right. Of course I didn't get it right, in fact it was so far off, the entire class laughed. On seeing my mistake, I joined in too. Over the course of 4 years, I had got to understand why students answered questions in class even when they were wrong. It is quite exhilarating to be able to learn without worries of being embarrassed for not understanding. Also concepts that I may have thought about the wrong way, once corrected, really stuck better than things I had learned on my own. As the day progressed I went from class to work and back to class, only to meet up with my student group in the evening to talk about our objectives for the semester. It felt good to be able to juggle as many activities as I could handle at once. Of course without planning, things did not go completely according to plan that first day either. For instance, I never got the lead I needed for my mechanical pencil. However 4 years at the U has really helped me learn how to deal with these unexpected changes.

4 years in college help me deal with things like 3am homework completions, lol jk! This picture just cracks me up.

Minnesota: then and now.

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My first ever class at the university was chemical principles I. It was an 8 am class (typical science class time...) and I was waaay too early for it. The day before, I had gone to the bookstore to get all my books and stationery for class. So I had also packed my bag the night before. I spent a good hour studying maps of campus just to make sure I would not get lost (even though I'd printed a map off and had my class schedule in my binder anyway). My walk around campus the day before class began had clearly deceived me into thinking the size of the East bank campus was equivalent to the area covered by the Mall of America times a 1000! So on Tuesday, September 8th 2009 I rolled out of bed at 6.00 AM sharp. By 6.30 AM I was showered and rearing to go! Only...the dining hall in Sanford Hall didn't open till 7 AM. After waiting the longest 30 minutes of my life, I headed to the dining hall to eat. I was determined to use my 14-meal/week meal plan to the best of my abilities! No food would be wasted on my watch. There was so much food...good tasting too! (Sanford Hall had, still has, the best meals on campus). And so I ate. I ate and ate and ate until I could not move.

Pretty sure I gained my freshman 15 the first day of class.

It was only 7:15 AM when I was done. But I had to make sure I got the best seat in class! So I dragged my poor, food-laden self out of the cafeteria to the bus stop in front of the building. Alas, the bus was nowhere to be found! I would not let this be the cause of my tardiness that day, so I began to walk. I got to class by 7.30 AM only to hear crickets chirping. No one was there. And so I waited some more, till about 7.55 AM. I had never seen so many students in one class. There must have been at least 200!!! Anyway we carried on with class. The Professor introduced herself and mentioned how we would be going over the syllabus and some introductory concepts. I thought to myself, "Syllabus? What is she on about?" Of course majority of the students whipped out this 'syllabus' item from their bag, all ready to start learning. Despite my obsessive preparations, I had missed this small detail. "Nooooooo!!!!", I thought to myself. "Behind already" (not significantly though haha, I was just being dramatic). There was even a 5 page reading for the lesson that was supposed to have been completed. How in the world could I have missed this? Not to be defeated, I noted this down: Look at course website well before the first day of class ALWAYS. (By the way, the Professor had syllabi printed for the class, so I needn't have freaked out. Most Professors do this). Despite having such a large class, the Professor still tossed numerous questions to the audience. Some unabashed students answered, in full view of everyone in class, EVEN WHEN THEY WERE WRONG. Apparently it was okay not to know the answer. Scratch that. You were lauded for your attempt to learn, without qualms of being wrong. I continued to see this as my classes went on that first day. Different classes, different teaching styles, different expectations. Some professors wanted you to call them by their first name; others wanted you to use their title (Dr., Professor etc.). Some classes had 4 exams for the semester; others had 0. Some classes required me reading 100-120 pages per week; others just solving problems on homework and handing them in. There was so much to keep track of and by Thursday, I'd decided to drop a class to make my workload much more bearable. I did not regret it. My first day at school was an eye opener. Needless it is to say, I got lost despite my little map (inside of buildings are more confusing that outside) and despite all my planning I was still so flustered. It was fun all in all.

Tuesday, September 4th 2012 was the first day of class for the 2012-2013 academic year. I automatically woke up at 7:55 AM, just before my 8:00 AM alarm goes off (my sweet 5 minutes of sleep lost forever :( ). I rolled around refusing to get up until I heard my roommate enter our shared bathroom. I sprung up from my bed to catch her before her shower. If she started, I would never make it to my 9:05 AM class on time. I was too late. "Oh well", I thought, "it'll be cutting it close, but I'm sure I can wing it". While waiting for her, I stuffed some old blank sheets of paper into my one binder (my writing material for 5 classes) and looked around my desk for an old pen and pencil. I found both, no lead for the pencil though. I noted to myself: Buy lead from bookstore at some point today. I heard my roommate exiting the bathroom at 8:25 AM. I dove for the bathroom and made quick work of getting ready. Or so I thought; it was 8:50 AM when I emerged ready to leave. My apartment is a 20 minute walk from my first class. I had 15 minutes to make it. Grabbing a bagel sans cream cheese, I dashed across campus to my class and arrived at 9:10 AM. "Not bad", I thought to myself. I found a seat in the back of the class since it was full (my fellow classmates had had an 8 AM class in the same building and so were early). ¾ of my bagel still hanging from my mouth, it was then I realized the class was awfully quiet. Then I realized, we were having a quiz on the first day of class!! Who does that? And without warning?! Mind you, this time I had checked the course website to make sure I was up to speed on expectations for the first day, but no one had seen the quiz coming! Even the Professor later joked about having to create some 'element of surprise' for the first day. Honestly, I was not too surprised. Some things in college just don't shock me anymore. My motto is "If you can imagine the worst case scenario, it probably will happen" and so I'm always a bit prepared hahaha. As we went through the solutions for the quiz, I answered a question I was certain I had got right. Of course I didn't get it right, in fact it was so far off, the entire class laughed. On seeing my mistake, I joined in too. Over the course of 4 years, I had got to understand why students answered questions in class even when they were wrong. It is quite exhilarating to be able to learn without worries of being embarrassed for not understanding. Also concepts that I may have thought about the wrong way, once corrected, really stuck better than things I had learned on my own. As the day progressed I went from class to work and back to class, only to meet up with my student group in the evening to talk about our objectives for the semester. It felt good to be able to juggle as many activities as I could handle at once. Of course without planning, things did not go completely according to plan that first day either. For instance, I never got the lead I needed for my mechanical pencil. However 4 years at the U has really helped me learn how to deal with these unexpected changes.

4 years in college help me deal with things like 3am homework completions, lol jk! This picture just cracks me up.

The Fun Classes at the U- Photography Class


I know I know, next week the new class registration for summer and fall semester will begin. Except that required classes within your major, have you figured out yet what fun classes you want to take? Just learn something new, you may end up cultivating a lifelong hobby:)

The fun class I recommend today is the photography class that I am taking right now. Personally, I love taking pictures. And I believe there are a lot of people nowadays love taking pictures too, as a way to express your idea and record life, or a tool to explore the world! My understanding of photography is that, it is a way of thinking. The logic behind the pictures could be as simple and concrete as a single object; or it can be as abstract as whatever beyond your imagination. Photography is definitely a wonderful tool for you to communicate with the world using your own language. You composition, frame, lighting, time, etc., all these elements are the vocabulary that you can use to form your own language.

In my photography class, so far, I have finished several projects. I will give you one picture form each project as an example of my work:)

Project 1: Self Portrait without face
_MG_0657 2.jpg

Project2: Photography is fiction
Laughter In Memory.jpg

Project 3: Narrative story VS Non narrative subject

Non narrative:
Project 4: A Story of My Little Bear
And more...

Now I am working on another project which I will keep it as a secret.
As you can see, there are so many things out there that you can take a picture of. Whether you make up something like my "orange brothers", or you just record of the thing itself. Whatever you do, as long you are learning, thinking and having fun!

This is a digital photography class. Also, there's film photography class too, if you want to stay in the dark room and experience how to "wash pictures" using different chemicals. That's a lot of fun too!

My "BORING" winter break

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So winter break is almost over:( A lot of student ambassadors went back home for the break (I'm so jealous!!!) Others travelled to other cities, states and countries. Well it sounds like I might have a boring winter break since I didn't go anywhere. However, there is still a lot of fun being around campus during the break. Just want to share with you what I have done for my break

1. Working: Take a break from school and work more and more. Actually it is not a bad thing at all. Since we can work up to 40 hours a week, break is a great chance to save up some more money^_^

2. Shopping for sale: We have the biggest mall in the U.S. Why not taking advantage of it. I went out for Chrismas sale and got a lot of good deals. Plus, no tax on clothes in Minnesota!!!

3. Spending time with my loved ones: My family is still back home in Vietnam. Break is when I have more time to skype with them. I also had more time with my puppy:)


4. Celebrating my bestbfriend's birthday:: My best friend came from Seattle to visit me during winter break. See!!! There are people coming to Minnesota for the winter break:)

5. Ice skating: One of the most popular winter sports in MN!!!


6. Eating good homemade food: Break is when I have time to cook and enjoy homemade food

7. Working out
: Trying to stay healthy and get ready for the new school year.

8. Getting together with friends: Of course I was not alone. A lot of people were still around campus during the winter break. We had great time together. No worries about homework and class!!!

Such a list with a lot of pictures. Now you all can see how BORING my winter break was:) I would love to hear any interesting story about your winter break. Feel free to leave any comment if you have any question:)

Enjoy the rest of your winter break. <3

Minne-SNOW-taa Experience!


Hi all,

So, this just happened today! And I couldn't hold myself not to write about it. ;D


-From outside my window-

Today was the first day of heavy snow for the season. You must hear about term "Minne-SNOW-ta" before. People said the winter can be pretty bad, not only the coldness but also the snow.
However, I bet the first thought in your mind (if you have never seen snow before) would be:

"When is going to be snow?"

"I want to play with the snow"

And the first reaction when first time seeing it would be:

"OMG, snow!!"

"It is snowing!"

"Snowwwww, aaaahhhh xD!!"

What is happening next? You would start taking pictures, posting it on Facebook, updating your FB status, updating your twitter, calling your parents, boyfriends, girlfriends, and so on. Tell me if I am right. Hahaha.

Although this year would be my second winter, I am honestly still excited seeing snow. Actually, I should have spent my time studying for final next week. But I couldn't concentrate to study because every time I looked out from my window, there were tones of snow falling down and calling me to go outside and play!
snow window.JPG

-View from my other window-

Yes, and that was exactly what I did! Since many people said last year wasn't a real Minnesota winter and I didn't get to enjoy thick snow that much, I decided to have some snow fun activities. I ditched my books for the soft, white, pretty snow! Haha. I got ready and dressed up just to make sure I didn't get cold or frostbite (though it wasn't that cold).
I called my friends to make snowman. So these were basically what I did:

  • Snow Fight

Once we got outside and held the snow, next thing that happened was we started throwing it to each other. Hehe. Well, snow fight was just for warming up. There wasn't any picture of us because I was too indulged in the fighting.
But I stole this from my friend, Danial, because I just think this is hilarious.

  • Snow Angel

This is the first thing that you should make on the fresh snow! After the soft snow just fell, you should at least try to lay down on it. ;)
-Snow Angel-


  • Snowman

It took us more than half an hour to gather enough snow and made the base. It wasn't that easy since the snow was still so soft. We need to really make it compact and solid by adding water. Some decoration were also needed.

-With asian snowman-

-My very first snowman-

After mission accomplished, we closed the fun with hot cocoa.

Hope you enjoy reading it!

Ceria ;D

Hello again, Tony's here.
Well, this is episode III, but please be aware that this is a short show so episode III is the final episode, at least for the first season.
And the name is "American supermarket" but today what I'm going to talk about is some Asian markets, so the name should be "Supermarket in American", but Tony is just too lazy to change it.
So, back to the topic, the 4 markets I'm going to talk about are: Shanghai Market. United Noodle, Shuang hur, and Midtown global market.
Shanghai Market
Shanghai market is my favorite Asian market, or to be more specific, my favorite Chinese market( it is actually the only market found and run by Chinese).
What makes it so special to me is the products. Besides normal grocery and food like local fish etc, shanghai market sometimes sell actual made-in-china Chinese products like drinks, snacks and other stuff that I can only get when I go back to China. They import these products in a special way which is still legal, and sell them with during unscheduled and limited time. There's always some surprises every time I go shopping there, and this is a happy shopping experience!!
However, the location of shanghai market is not ideal. It is located in St Paul near St Paul Campus of the U, which for West Bank and East Bank students would be a long journey. Luckily, Bus No.3 can take people from Jones Hall all the way to Shanghai Market. So grap a book, put on your headphone, then enjoy the sunshine if there is, after about 40 mins bus trip, you will start the happy shopping!


Name: Shanghai Market
Category: Grocery store
Price:Slightly higher than average
Recommendation: Recommended
24/7 Open: No

Shuang Hur
Shuang Hur market is an Asia market featuring fresh food especially fresh sea food like oyster. Also, shuang hur sells living fishes, so it should be extremely fresh!
Shuang Hur is in St. Paul as well, but it is on the route of bus No. 16.

Name: Shuang Hur
Category: Grocery store
Price:About the average
Recommendation: Recommended
24/7 Open: No

United Noodle, Midtown Global Market

The reason why I put these two together is, they are so related to each other.
First location, they are both on west bank where the neighborhoods are mainly immigrants.
United Noodle

United Noodle is an Asian Market focusing on Chinese, Japanese, and Korean food. Especially for Japanese food, they are all in good quality so some of them are kind of expensive.
Name: United Noodle
Category: Grocery store
Price:About the average
Recommendation: Recommended
24/7 Open: No

Midtown Global Market

Midtown Global Market, on the other hand, is not just focus on raw food material, there's lots of restaurant from different culture. Also, some interesting goods are common in midtown global market, it's more like a shopping mall.
Name: Midtown Global Market
Category: shopping market
Price: average
Recommendation: Recommended
24/7 Open: No
My friend, Sarah, who is a landscape architecture student like me, she and her group have done a comparing project about these two markets. Her point of view is focus on architecture and social context, but still very interesting to read. Sarah's Blog
In a word, United Noodle is more like a grocery store people are looking for, while the Midtown Global Market is a shopping-center-like market, which means totally different experiences.

Honors Pride!

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Hello everyone, today I'm going to share with you'll my experience as an honors student at the U of M .
The UHP is a program for highly academically motivated and qualified students. In other words it is a program for the biggest nerds in college. At least that was the impression and fear I had before joining the U of M. The last thing I wanted to happen was to be branded a nerd the very first time I walked into college. That being said, I was never the coolest kid in high school or anything like that, but at the same time I was always far enough from the bottom of the ruthless high school social hierarchy to be able to look down upon the bottom dwellers with disgust. The prospect of being that bottom dweller was not at all appealing. Yet I joined the UHP: deep down I was proud of being inducted to such a selective program. That along with the fact that I did not want to incur the wrath of my parents who would have none of me making a decision based on college social status considerations. Indian parents...enough said.
So I joined college and spent my freshman in the Honors Housing in Middlebrook Hall. It turned out to be a lot like I had imagined in the sense that the program was full of seriously smart people. Nerds. But strangely, after a while I began to feel a connection with the honors students. They were hardworking, competitive, focused and determined to do great things in life-just like me. Maybe the development of this connection was inevitable since I was surrounded by honors students most of the time and slowly, I began to experience the 'Honors Pride': pride at being an honors student. I began to notice the privileges of being an honors student; I got to study in small honors classrooms where I could receive greater personal attention from my Professors, I got individualized academic advice and counseling from my Honors advisor and I had the opportunity to graduate with Latin honors . As my social circle within UHP expanded I came across several people who had very similar interests as mine outside academics. Since a lot of the honors students fall into the typical nerd stereotype, I was very excited when I finally found people within UHP who like me loved to play sports, just hang out or party! Honors pride gave rise to the belief that we honors students belong to the top of the college social ladder. Needless, to say nobody else in college believes that.
I moved out of the dorms and into an off campus apartment with my two best college friends, both honors students, in my sophomore year. Moving out of the Honors housing has helped all three of us expand our social circles outside the UHP and we have had some fun and crazy times in our apartment. It is true that there are a few times I am sick of the extra effort I have to put as part of being an honors student, but looking back I am glad to have joined this program and proud to have been considered for the UHP.
honors logo.png

Chemical Engineers: The Ironman of Superheroes.


I was thinking of a title for this blog and once the word superhero came to mind. Obviously, I couldn't let it go. So yes, as you may have guessed, Ironman is only the greatest superhero ever (well Thor also but he's not really into science) unlike sissy Batman and Spiderman...

Chemical engineers do remind me of Ironman though. They are super smart, resourceful, (more often than not) wealthy and extremely witty. Yes unlike other engineers we do have personality and are not socially awkward ;)

Perhaps I'm just biased because I'm a chemical engineering major myself. That's very unlikely though, as my 4 years in this major have not been a walk in the park.

Chemical engineers have done much to leave their mark on history. Take for example World War II. Many people think, erroneously, that majority of soldiers died from battle wounds. The actual culprits in these casualties were the infections that developed after the wounds were sustained. Fortunately, Alexander Fleming discovered Penicillin, the antibiotic, which would eventually solve the problem. However, another problem arose. The process of extracting this drug from bacteria was painstakingly long and only afforded little amounts of it. It was the work of chemist Jasper Kane and chemical engineer John McKeen that saw the production of penicillin on large enough scales to be used to turn the tide of the war.

As tempted as I am to go into how chemical engineering principles were used to solve the world food problem, I shall not. Instead I leave you with a history of the Haber Process for those of you interested in further reading.

I was curious about what my fellow classmates thought about chemical engineering and the program provided here at the U. So here are some questions I asked them and a few students' replies.

T: "What is chemical engineering about?"

S1:"It's about designing and supervising processes that make chemical products on a large scale. It entails process optimization/engineering, plant design, operations supervision but most importantly: SAFETY!

T: "Gosh you sound like a professor right now..."

S1: "That's what 4 years in the department does to you (laughs)"

T: "What are some courses people take in the undergraduate program?"

S1: "Like every other engineering major, we start off with the basic chemistry, calculus and physics courses. For chemical engineering specifically, a few of the core classes we take include:

Process control- to understand how to keep a process running at specifications you choose.

Transport phenomena- Dealing with fluid flow modeling and heat transfer topics.

Separations and diffusion-Pretty self-explanatory.

Materials science- The physical properties of materials (e.g. ceramics, polymers, metals etc.).

Thermodynamics-I have no words to describe this.

Numerical methods- How to model processes numerically. This is done because many of the processes we deal with are non-ideal and their models are not solvable by hand. So we build numerical models that approximate them in a simplified manner and make them soluble.

T: "Wow, sounds like you really liked numerical methods".

S1: "What can I say; we were drilled very well on the concepts in that class."

T: "I can't say I disagree. What have you learnt from the program here?"

S1: "I don't remember things from every single class. The lessons that have stuck with me more are those dealing with transferable skills."

T: "Can you explain that?"

S1: "Sure thing. I no longer rush into a problem blindly like I did when I first started. I observe then proceed with a logical and critical thought process. I now apply this method of thinking to everything I do like designing experiments, assessing and producing meaningful data. Most of all I havelearnt how to manage my time and prioritize. As you know, you won't always get to be the perfectionist you wish to be. [They] won't allow you"

T: "By prioritizing you mean between school, a social life and sleep?"

college_triangle.jpgWhat prioritizing may come down to in college sometimes.

S1: "Yup, that triangle but also between classes, assignments due and so on."

T: "Interesting. What kinds of jobs are available for people like you and me?"

S1: "You can work in virtually any field. Not like English literature, but you know what I mean! You can work in oil and gas production, paper industry, food processing, refining, pharmaceuticals, patent law, medicine, business (with an MBA), renewable energy, and the biomedical industry."

T: "Is there anything else you would tell incoming freshmen or prospective students about the program, fun facts and such?"

S1: "A couple things actually.
• If you have plans to go to graduate school, it's a great idea to get involved in research early.

***To find out more about doing research at the U, here is co-blogger Tarun's blog on the subject.

• I came into chemical engineering because I liked chemistry and math a lot. In the program we are required to take many chemistry classes, so with 2 or 3 additional classes, you can get chemistry major as well. However, core chemical engineering classes hardly center on chemistry, at least on the undergraduate level. Instead the classes more focused on using applied math.

• From early, you are encouraged to work on group projects. In higher level classes; you perform labs and write joint reports with group members. You will be put in groups with people you don't know and will learn how to work with different kinds of people; odd quirks and all. This is great since it simulates the environment you will be in when you enter the workforce.

• The program at the U is so very challenging. If you asked a junior about it they'd be likely to tell you to jump ship. It definitely is worth it to stick it through though. You learn so much about perseverance. Many people start here as the brightest from their high schools but the chemical engineering program really is an eye-opener. It is a talent leveler of sorts and in the end; you will have been well schooled on humility. However, if you can get through the chemical engineering program here, you can regard yourself as one of the foremost in this field--at least I believe so!

• We have many accomplished professors; a favorite of mine, Professor Cussler. He received an Ig Nobel Prize for settling whether people swam faster in water or syrup. I know, the award is not as prestigious as the Nobel prize but how many professors do you know who would turn a University swimming pool into a sea of syrup and have a varsity swimmer swim in it to run an experiment? How cool is that?!"

T: "What has kept you going all this time then? I suppose it doesn't hurt that we have the 4th best undergraduate chemical engineering program in America at the U."

S2: "(laughs) Not at all. To be honest, sophomore year I realized I would like to focus on biomedical engineering and biophysics for graduate school. I probably could have switched majors but the concepts I've learnt in chemical engineering are very easily applied in other fields. They are enough and maybe even more enlightening for my end goal."

That concludes my interview questions and describes chemical engineering and the U's program in a nutshell. If you have more questions feel free to ask!

I will be graduating next semester and here are my classes for the Spring:
Two marketing classes that relates to my major
One Biology class about global environment
One digital photography class
And one more African dance class.
Yes, I am senior student who is about to graduate.

You might think that, aren't the seniors students who are about to facing the last semester supposed to be busy with papers, projects, applying for graduate school or finding an internship etc. How could I possibly have time to take such unrelated classes as dance or photography.

Well, let me explain. I understand that it is impossible for you to believe that I am willing to put so much time to classes that seem have nothing to do with my major. But let me tell you the reason I choose to do this and the fact is that the university has so many interesting classes that you can't even imagine.

In China, I know that the students are always required to take this class and that class in high schools and basically don't have any choices. After the Chinese college examination, the students are admitted into universities with their majors mainly settled. And the students need to follow the scheduled classes options until they finish and graduate.

Here at the U, things are so much different.

Freshmen start their first year with trying different classes that they think they might be interested in. They will explore different classes to gain various experiences before they decide what major they want to take. Also, some students will combine several interests together and they will double or triple majors and maybe at the same time taking some minor courses too.

To satisfy different students' different needs, the U offers thousand kinds of classes for students to try out and have fun. In this case, although the students are taking their major classes, but they can still have time to explore more areas that they are passionate about. More examples are, I know a Chinese girl who started her freshman year at the U and she is interested in physics and she also has taken four different dance classes. Another Chinese girl majors in math but every semester, she is trying to learn a new language, she has finished elementary French, Japanese, Arabic courses, amazing right?

As for me, I used to think that I need to put all my time into my major coures and try to finish my degree and graduate early. After a while, I realize that such thoughts are keeping me away from a lot of fun. So I tried tap dancing class and it was awesome. The moment I step in that dance class, I realized that I can add more color to my academic life by experience something new! And later I took African dance class which brought me back to the free and wild world of movement. what's more, I have considered self-defense class, design class, drawing class, singing class etc. But they all ended up with time conflicts with my other classes or they were to popular to register. But I still remember the moment I was going through the class options and imagining myself taking such cool classes, I could smell that sense of excitement. Because I know that every single class will lead you to a brand new journey and open a whole new world to you. Isn't it a great thing to learn new things? Yes, it is!

My point here is that, I understand that Chinese students when they are studying abroad. They are carrying expectations from families and friends. They work so hard and they want to make the most use of the tuition that their parents have paid for them and they want to learn as much as possible because they want to be more successful. However, during this period, you can actually make study a fun experience by adding some fun classes to balance your major classes. You will be grateful and surprised of how much joy and fun these classes can bring to you. Choosing these classes doesn't mean that you are wasting your time. the truth is that these classes are helping you to gain a diverse perspective of the world around you. These classes will inspire you, teach you how to be a more well-rounded person, guide you to explore more opportunities and thoughts of life. I think these experiences are more valuable than you simply sitting there and trying to memorize that equations from the text book.

Try to seize the youth time to experience more. Working hard is important, working hard while having fun is more important, working hard and having fun while learning new things is the most important thing you should do when you are here as a student!

CLA.jpegAs my previous blog, we have discussed that importance of a Liberal Arts degree. Now, you might start to think where to pursuit your Liberal Arts degree. In this blog, I will share with you my experience why College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota should be a destination for your education.

I'm a transfer student. Thus, when I decided to transfer at my junior year, I needed to make a right decision not to waste my time and money. College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota stands out among many options. Here are the reasons:

1. Reasonable tuition fee

Estimated Cost of Attendance for International Undergraduate Students Full-time tuition, fees, and books and supplies* (9 months) $20,088
Let's face it: $20,088 is A LOT OF money! But if you just do a little bit research about tuition fee for international students to attend US university, you might find that you get such a good deal for a good University like the U of M.

2. Second language requirement
As I mentioned in my previous blog, College of Liberal Arts at the U of M is the only college that requires students to study a second language. However, if you are international student, language requirement is waved for you!

If you are still interested, CLA offers different classes of 40 different languages. You can check here for the full language courses that are offered at CLA

3. Wide range of majors, minors and degrees
CLA offers 69 majors and 74 minors in 5 main themes:
1. Arts, Communication, and Media
2. Humanities, Languages, and Cultures
3. Sciences and Math
4. Social Sciences
5. Individualized.

Here is the detailed list for different majors offered at CLA.

Moreover, The College of Liberal Arts offers five bachelor's degrees:
bachelor of arts (BA)
bachelor of individualized studies (BIS)
bachelor of fine arts (BFA)
bachelor of music (BMus)
bachelor of science (BS)

4. Many active student groups
There are 33 student groups that show how CLA students take their education beyond the classroom. Besides that CLA student Ambassadors, here is the list of different group that you might able to join basing on common interests, hobbies, professional goals, religious affiliations.

5. Helpful advising academic and career service

=> CLA professional advising team can help students to:

  • explore and choose your major
  • plan your course load to stay on track for timely graduation
  • understand University policies and procedures and how they apply to you
  • take advantage of University learning opportunities outside of the classroom
  • prepare for life after graduation, including grad school or your career

=> CLA Career Services will help you:

  • Explore majors and choose one. They do this via individual assistance, personality and interest tests, classes, and resource room full of information you can browse
  • Connect your major to potential careers. You're likely to find options that you didn't know were available.
  • Search for internships and jobs. They'll teach you effective job-search strategies, resume writing, and interviewing skills. They also connect you to an on-campus recruiting program specifically for CLA students.
  • Set up an independent research or study project with a CLA faculty member.
  • Decide if you want to attend grad school and help you apply. CLA Career Services is also the U's prelaw advising office.

6. High ranking programs
Here is a not-detailed list of the rankings in the nation of some majors in CLA that I collected from Usnews:

#1 Developmental Psychology
#3 Industrial and Organizational Psychology
#4 Macroeconomics
#8 Psychology
#10 in Economics
#35 in English
#24 History
#17 Political Science
#20 Sociology

It's not all majors at CLA but it could give you an overview about the quality of different majors at CLA.

Above are 6 main reasons why I decided to attent CLA at the University of Minnesota. What else are you waiting for? Apply today and join our big family at CLA!

When architecture comes to landscape.


Hello everyone, this is Tony.
Since everyone is talking about their majors, and it is thanksgiving now, let's hit the pause button of the supermarket show. Today I want to talk about my current major, landscape architecture and give a quick glance of what we are doing now and might will be doing in the future.
Just to clarify some terminology here first. The major is called Landscape Architecture, which means it is the art of creating landscape, not creating a house like architecture. This is the professional degree; for undergraduate degree, which is the pre-professional degree, is called Landscape Design and Planning. I'm actually new to the program, I transferred from Journalism to LDP this summer ("From Journalism to LDP? These two have nothing in common, crazy man...") and started my LDP program this term so I can only give some limited information, but my friend, Sarah, is actually writing a blog about the LDP major, with her juicy description and funny tone, you guys can enjoy reading her blog and know more details about LDP program.
Here's her blog, please click the link until you need a new mouse, LOL:

First , why and how did I started majoring in Journalism but then transferred to LDP, which might be the biggest change in my lifetime.
Well, first of all, I'm a sort of artistic person who has some good idea, the work I would like to do is those need to have creative thinking, artistically. Then, becoming a journalist was one of my dream because a news reporter is the one who deals with something fresh, meeting with someone new everyday---I see this as a way to practice my creativity. So I decided to be a journalist, or an advertising designer. I became more passionated to the latter when I was taking my art courses. My paintings were always something new and eye-catching, visually strong enough to impressed the audiences but still had the subject matter to express the messages. I thought this was my strength to be a media designer and I still think it is, I felt I was so close to my dream, there's no barriers between me and my dream.
However, dream can always be beautiful a dream but reality can only be a cruel reality. I was rejected by the program and I still don't know why---maybe I didn't have a strong personal statement, maybe because my language skill was not good enough to be a journalism major student. Anyhow, The fact was the fact, in spite of how many major courses I've taken already or I was a junior already, so I had to find another major to graduate with a degree. I started seeking, and the rule was, something creative.
I thought about majoring in art, since I love doing art and drawing and painting were two of my favorite things to do. But I immediately rejected myself. "You can't major in something you love most, it might run out of your passion one day and you can't risk it" I kept repeating this and looking at the list of all majors in College of Design( CDes). I considered graphic design, which I felt to similar to the artwork I did for my art minor, so I quited. Then, came with Architecture, which I thought it was not fresh enough for me. I like the Chinese traditional architecture a lot and it's to learn anything about that in the United States. Eventually, I saw three words---landscape design and planning. A thought strike me right in my head---"this is what I was looking for!"So, without knowing much about this major, assuming it is about doing something new and creative because there's a "design" in the name, I became a landscape design and planning student this summer.
So, what exactly does landscape design and planning do? the name can tell some stories.
Landscape means we deal with the landscape, either change or create based on the original landscape; design and planning indicate the process, and they are different from each others. In a larger scale like a city, where does the park should be placed; in a community, where does the playground should be built, it is planning; In a smaller scale, detailed enough to each element like a single tree or a piece of brick, that's design. The priority of landscape design and planning is creating spaces, coordinating with the environment and the cultural context, people would better use the land and more efficiently . In a word, landscape architecture is the art of living.

To be more specific, I would like to show two of my work, And again, there's more in Sarah's blog.

1. Using vegetation to create the space.
This is a plan view hand drawing to show my design by using vegetation such as trees and shurbs to create space. QQ截图20121123222420.png
The trees or shurbs work as wall to limit/block people's walkable space, so that the circulation can be controlled. This is just step one, a rough plan. Then, we were asked to consider about the desity of vegetation. Heavy vegetaion can block the way, as well as the view if needed, so what's the density of the vegetation on one side and what's the density on another. What would be seen and what would be visible.
There's more, What kind of trees ore shurb would be fit in the site considering its contexts. what plants can grow together and what plants can not. What kind of aesthetical value can this type of plant create and most importantly, how these vegetation related to the way when people using the site. And there's more elements for one site to be considered when design it. Landform would be considered before vegetation, then comes structure, and the symbolism is another factor needed to be addressed, etc.
So landscape architecture is not a easy work, it is a cross-subject major, which refers to aspects such as art, architecture, hortculture, geology and many other field, and this is another reason why I really like this major---it gives me a great opportunity to explore more and more and keep learning. I'm actually really glad that I was rejected by Journalism.
People always say that, If life closes one door for you, there's always another window open, And this happened to me, which the window is much bigger than the door. I'm very excited about this and for the future, I will get my master degree to be a real landscape architect, I have a really huge dream, create a city, and to achieve that, I will work harder and harder step by step, I'm ready for this!!

The two pictures blow here are another design we make for one of the countyard on campus, Vincent Countyard. We did some huge changes based on the original plan, trying to figure out the way to encourage more people to use this countyard.
Exercise #5 Zhuo C.jpg


It's what?

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It's great we are on thanksgiving break. It's the time to relax, hangout with family, pig out at countless dinners, catch up on some Thursday night football and just let loose for a couple of days. At least that's our typical line of thought as students: relax now, scramble to finish up school work Sunday evening before school. I hate to be a Debbie Downer here but there are academic responsibilities to seriously to consider after thanksgiving break.

For some of us, it's a straight shot to finals; without any more midterms, your sole attention is on preparing for finals. For others, there are still papers to write, quizzes to ace and tons of homework to do. I hope it has been a successful semester for everyone so far but I understand that may not be the case for every student. So here are 3 tips for getting back on your feet:

1. Break = Catch-up/ Study time
Play hard, work hard! You've got full days during this thanksgiving break to run wild and do what you want. Remember though, when school returns we will be getting down to crunch time. If you've fallen behind on the semester's work, you can use this time to get yourself back to pace. If you are already at a comfortable place with your schoolwork, you could review what has been learned or better yet get ahead! Oh this probably a good time to get those sleep cycles back to regular :P.

2. Organize, organize organize.
Thanksgiving break is also a time to reflect on what has happened in the semester: reflect on what we planned to get done at the beginning and what we have ended up achieving so far. It's a nice time to figure out what in our plans worked, what didn't and what we could do to improve our positions. Also it's a great time to figure out final schedules (if you have not already), study spaces and study plans.

3. Still unsure...
If you are still uneasy or unsure about how your semester is going, this is definitely the time to reach out to your professors, teaching assistants (TAs) and advisors. It is a good habit to always monitor where you stand in a class throughout the semester. If you have not done so, don't worry, it's still perfectly fine to find out about your class grades and see what your TAs or professors expectations are of you. Depending on your performance, you could also speak to your advisers about steps you should take for the rest of the semester. It could be for academic worries, involvement, etc. The point is to work together to find a solution to whatever problems you may be facing. Since it is registration period most advisers are busy helping students organize their spring class schedules at this time. However, take patience and don't fret; appointments always open up for students in no time.

So I hope you take this thanksgiving period to re-energize for the last push of the semester. Remember: it is never too late to turn things around for worse or (preferably) better!! Good luck!

Carlson---Where do you start your business...


Back to 2 years ago, when I applied to college, I was sure that I want to choose something that related to business. I ended up choosing Carlson School of Management in University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Honestly, this is probably one of the wisest decisions I ever made.
They have AWESOME advising services and all advisors are truly welcome international students. Academic advising is a critical part of your undergraduate experience at the Carlson School. Advisors are here to help you set goals and guide you through the numerous opportunities available to you at the University. They'll make sure you stay on track for graduation without losing sight of how your individual goals fit into your educational experience.For further information, you can find If you are an international student in Carlson, but has not been to Undergraduate Business Career Center (UBCC), you should go there to check it out. They provide help for the resume building and they have career coaches to talk with you about your job interests and answering your questions towards the The Edge or job hunting. They are really good resources. Please take advantage of it!

We have 208 degree-seeking international students representing 23 different countries in Carlson. Among those international students, 127 students are from China. 36 students are from South Korea and 14 students are from Vietnam. The rest are from other different countries. Being a Carlson student, it is really important to get involved and practice your communication and leadership skills while keeping good Academic grades. It can be challenging sometimes to keep the balance between them. Do not worry! Carlson always provides you with a lot of information sessions or workshops about how to deal with this situation and also how to network with recruiters. You definitely will learn a lot about business and get to explore as well. MAP2.jpeg

The biggest event for our international students in Carlson is called Carlson Global Connect/Kick off event. This year was held at Hanson Hall 1-108, from 4:30pm to 6:00pm on September 26th. It's Carlson Global Connect Event Series, which consists of three important events designed just for Carlson international degree-seeking undergraduate students.This event tends to bring all the international students from Carlson together and get to know each other while giving the international students more college resources and meeting with professors from different majors. This year, we had at least one professor from each major attending this event. This event lasts for three days. There is one theme for each day.
 Carlson Global Connect Kick Off and Networking Event with Carlson Undergraduate Faculty
 Carlson International Alumni Panel: Finding a job in the U.S as an international student
 How do you talk to Americans-10 Expert Tips for Successful Intercultural Communication

Besides this event, there are also a lot of other activities you can attend. Login in to the edge and find more opportunities. The Edge is also the website that you can apply for different internships and full time jobs and registering Carlson events. Here is the website.

Carlson has a lot of resources and opportunities waiting for you. The most important thing is to go out and explore them. Keep networking with people and you will learn much from those people and you will be amazed by how much you improve through these processes.

Thank you all for reading. If you are interested in more Carlson information, please feel free to email me and also follow my coming blogs. I will write more about them!
Have a good break everyone!


What can you do with a Liberal Arts Degree?!


Let's face it: What is the most common question people ask you as a college student? "What are you studying?"

If you answer is one of the liberal arts majors like mine, then, most people might wonder "What are you going to do with that degree?" Well, you can do almost anything with a Liberal Arts Degree! But what is "anything"? You can do a lot of things. You just don't know what exactly they are?!

I still remember having a conversation with my career advisor. He told me that employee look for people with Communication skill but they don't look for a specific person with Communication degree. the degree worthless? NO. Do we need Liberal Arts Degree? YES.


Last Friday, I had a chance to meet with the academic advisor from College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota. She shared that a Liberal Arts Degree should have been a requirement for every college student in order to have a wide knowledge about different things going on in the world. According to her, liberal arts degrees provide students with different perspectives to make them think critically.

I'm not an expert. I haven't got out of college and of course I haven't had chance to prove what I have gained throught my liberal arts degrees. However, during the last summer, I got two internships. We can also see a lot of succesful people with Liberal Arts Degrees. I would want to quote some experts' opinions about Liberal Arts Degree.

"I keep reading statistics about how many times today's graduates will change careers during their lifetimes," he says. "A liberal arts degree is the ideal preparation for that kind of world, even if the degree does not channel one neatly into one's first post-college job."says Paul D'Anieri, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Florida.

"A liberal arts degree provides an inherent advantage in written and oral communication, interpersonal skills, problem solving, critical and analytical thinking, and adaptability to change," says JP Hansen, career expert and author of The Bliss List: The Ultimate Guide to Living the Dream at Work and Beyond. "The ability to comprehend, communicate, and conquer problems is the name of the game and is implied with a liberal arts degree."

On top of that, a report from the Social Science Research Council shows students with skills typically taught in liberal arts programs tend to be more successful after graduation.

Fox news

At the same time, College of Liberal Arts at University of Minnesota is the only college that requires students to know another language in order to graduate. Knowing another language is one of the biggest advantage you can have in daily life as well as work life. Most of us here are international students, which means we might speak another language other than English.

Please follow my next blogs when I discuss more about how knowing another language is beneficial and why College of Liberal Arts at University of Minnesota should be your destination!

Bike, Biker, Biking


Trivia fact about city of Minneapolis:

Rank #1 for the Bicycle-Friendly City based on

Oh!! If you already knew that, you must also know this:

Minneapolis has approximately 165 miles of on-street and off-street bikeways

Indeed, bike is one of the main and popular transportation for U of M students to get to and around the campus. I am also a biker and I DO really enjoy biking here.

There are several reasons why I opt biking for short-distance commuting (within 0-3 miles) rather than other type of transportation:

  • Cheap! You just need to buy the good-enough bike to ride on and once-in-a-while maintenance.

  • Healthy! Honestly, I rarely do sports because I’m really busy with study and my other activities. So, if you have limited time like me, biking at least 15-20 minutes daily is enough as your aerobic exercise.

  • Convenient. I love biking because it has so much convenience. I just need to find one bike rack out of 6500 racks (!!) that spread out all over the campus.

  • Green… We do not generate any pollution from biking. ;)

Now, how can I find my future bike?

There are many places that sell new or used bikes near campus area, such as:

Other common place to buy bike is from common superstore like target, walmart, and various pawn shop - I got my used mountain bike for $55 from one of the Pawn shop in St.Paul.

Maintenance can be done in these shops too. So far, I have sent my bike for maintenance only once (remember I got it secondhand!), approximately after a year I bought it. BIKE is totally worth having.

The range of price for maintenance really varies depending on what service you want. To save up money, I always go to every shop to check their prices before send it for maintenance. (Hehehe…) Or if you are skillful enough or just want to give it a try, you definitely can do it by yourself. ;D


A must-have thing for biking:

Bike Lock - more info

This is the first thing you must have after you buy bike! If not, how are you going to keep your bike safe, right? I personally recommend long U-lock type. ;)


Helmet bike_safety_02.jpg

Thumbnail image for Fitting-a-bike-helmet.png

Or else, you might end up like this:


Hahaha. Just Kidding =p

Headlights Headlight

All the bike shops listed above sell all these stuffs. Besides that, Pharmacy in Boynton Health Service also sell a packet of helmet and headlight with really cheap discounted-price $20.

Also, one last thing, if you want to bike during winter, you might want to cover a lot of skins. Check Amelia’s blog to see what you have to wear.

Alhough biking is easy, bikers still must know the traffic rules and codes while biking. Watch this:

Bike Lanes

Shared Lanes

My suggestions:

If you can ride a bike, I really recommend you to have one. But, if you can’t ride a bike, it is better you learn it A.S.A.P.

For those who are interested in biking or want to get tips on choosing bikes or how to bike around campus, etc, feel free to leave the comment. Though I’m not an expert, I would love to share it with you. Thanks for reading! xD



Hello everyone,
Last time I compared the 4 big supermarkets around U, today, I want to talk about some smaller stores that are much closer to the U, which means most of them are walkable or easier access to be reached. They are CVS, LUNDS and another one is an online grocery store which called "Gopher Grocery"
What makes LUNDS special?Well, first of all is its organic products. All fruit and vegetables in LUNDS are organic, and other product such as fishes and meat are promised to be fresh.Based on that, the price of LUNDS is higher than other supermarkets. For example, one pound of shrimp may charge $7.99 in Target while in LUNDS the price might be $11.99. However, for other common products such as Maid Minutes Orange Juice, the price is the same as other markets.
Another feature of LUNDS is the delicious food. There's a variety of food, from meat balls to signature fried chicken. and they are charged by weight, $7.99 per pound so if you are smart enough, you can get more kinds of food with less money.
As it is showed in google map, LUNDS is very close to Dinky town neighborhood.walk along the SE 4th St. LUNDS is on the left side.
In a word, because of the higher price, it might be a good idea to treat ourselves after midterm festival or when there's some bigger events.
Category: Grocery store
Price:Higher than average
Recommendation: Recommended
24/7 Open: No

I don't think it's necessary to say too much about CVS, that's the nearest one around the U---located on University Ave. near dinky town, across the street there's McDonald's.
The feature of CVS is the pharmacy. CVS does have licensed pharmacist to assistance customers to find the right medicines. But CVS doesn't have fresh food in stock.
There's another CVS in Midway shopping center area which is open 24/7. But please be aware of that it is super dangerous to go there during at late night( well it's not safe to go out at late night anywhere...)
Category:Convenient store
Price: About average
Recommendation: Recommended
24/7 Open: No for the one in Dinky town, yes for the one in Midway shopping center

Gopher Grocery
Because of the hyperborean weather in Minnesota, it is still hard to talk a 5mins walk to CVS in snow carrying heavy or big daily goods. It is said that the lazy will find the easiest way to do work, I'm lazy enough so I offer you a way I do shopping, which is an online grocery store called Gopher Grocery.
Here's the link to its webpage Gopher Grocery.
Just enter the zip code of the living area, then happy online grocery shopping starts!!
The choices vary from daily goods to fresh food. but the most amazing feature of gopher grocery is they deliver!!Just pay for $2 and they will deliver your order next day and the if the order is over $100, they deliver it for free!!
Name: Gopher Grocery
Category:Online Convenient store
Price: Average
Recommendation: Recommended
24/7: Like amazon, hah
So to sum up again, to buy super fresh chicken, go to LUNDS. Go to CVS to find fried chicken and then at home, order chicken online from gopher grocery.
Next time, I will mainly talk about the international markets for example Asian markets.
To be continued.

In my opinion there is nothing more American than Thanksgiving, so if you want to get
the best out of your time in the U.S. start planning your holiday accordingly. Just keep in mind that stuffing yourself with stuffed turkey, pumpkin pie and other goodies is not all there is to it, however it's a big part of it. But I have not seen Americans concerned about where and with whom am spending time with, except during Thanksgiving. My professors, some classmates and an old landlord have always invited me over to their family dinners, because it is almost inimaginable to not celebrate with your loved ones.
But what is the big deal with this turkey day?
Well besides the HUGE amount of food this is a time for people to get together a regardless of religious or cultural background be grateful for what we have, and the people we have with us. But why did it came to be a national holiday? I wondered the same thing.
And the story goes like this...

when the first pilgrims came to the U.S. the first winter of 1620 was one of the toughest, killing at least half of the population so those who survived developed strong ties with the local Wampanoag indians of present day Massachusetts. The Indians taught them how to fish, hunt and get food so the next year the pilgrims had enough food to feed the community and thank them for their help through the winter. It was in a way a harvest festival. Wohoo!

For later generations of pilgrims it became a tradition to celebrate days of thanksgiving every fall for bountiful harvests, won battles among other good things. In the colonies after the independence from Great Britain Thanksgiving became a national holiday to celebrate their independence. Later Abraham Lincoln saw the amazing unifying potential of this holiday and declared it a national holiday to be celebrated the last Thursday of November every year.

It wasn't until the last century that other events such as the Football games, Black Friday, Thanksgiving parade and even the Turkey became such an important part of Thanksgiving. And speaking of important Thanksgiving stuff make sure you try all of the following:
-Turkey stuffing
-Pumpkin pie
-Mashed potatoes (American style)
-Cranberry sauce
-Sweet potatoes
-Green beans
-And TURKEY of course!

So no you have a little background, what can you do?
  • There is the International Buddy Program Thanksgiving dinner on Friday Nov. 16, 6-8 pm in Coffman.
  • Restaurants have interesting and yummy Thanksgiving packages, and the people there will mostly likely be in Thanksgiving mode and warm up to you. I've seen it happen at the Dallas airport Friday's on Hollidays (sad).
  • Talk to people in your classes and find out who doesn't have a plan for Thanksgiving, they might be interested in getting together and sharing a meal, or they might invite you to their home to celebrate.

Here is a list of ideas based on what I have done during my 5 years in the U.S.
First year: Volunteer at a homeless shelter, meet people and bring a beautiful Thanksgiving to someone who would otherwise not have one. ;) It was a great way to meet amazing people, and experience the Thanksgiving spirt. There are many programs, but you can check out Salvation Army volunteer opportunities.
Second year: This year Thanksgiving was on my birthday and some friends of mine couldn't go home for the holiday so I learned to cook a Turkey, baked blueberry pie, and everyone of my five friends brought something to bake and cook at my place. We were each other's substitute family, oh! And I learned to trick my body into believing it's still hungry when it is really about to explode. Depending on what you like there millions of recipes online!
Third year: This time around my mom came to visit and a professor learned that we were just roasting some chicken at home at watching movies so she got upset and almost forced us to join her and her family. It was a blast, there was so much happiness and generosity in the air and I left their home 20 pounds bigger than when I entered. The best you can do is become good friends with people around you and let them know you don't have plans, and hopefully they will invite you. thanksgivingfamily.gif
Fourth year: My fourth year Thanksgiving lasted two weeks! I had a dinner with some family friends in Saint Paul a week before, drove down to TX to a Buddhist course and ate dinner on Thanksgiving with about 120 more people. It was a blast! And coming back I invited friends over now that I knew how to cook some Thanksgiving goodies.
Fifth year: This year I'll be in NYC and it will be LEGENDARY!

Happy Turkey Day!


Student Health Benefit Plan and Boynton Health Services

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It's happened to the best of us. We come to the US and hear horror stories about expensive health care. So on arriving we vow to not set foot in a hospital for the next 4 years of our education. At least that was my master plan... until I sprained a ligament. When this happened I was very determined not to get any help. I figured I could wade through the pain a day or two and it would get better. The morning of the first day I tried to go to class. I think it took me about 10 minutes to get from Yudof to the back of Coffman Union (a distance of 40 feet at most). That is when I knew I HAD to go to Boynton.

At the end of my trip to Boynton I came out with a surgical boot, crutches, results from an x-ray and a bag of medication.I was sure I would get $700 bill soon enough. I was so off with my estimate.

Granted that I have not had any serious medical issues since I came to the U, still I have always been pleasantly surprised at how reasonable my bills have come to be. In Nigeria health insurance is available but I'd say majority of the population don't have insurance. So it has taken me a while to get used to the fact that the Student Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) that is offered by the University is there for one reason: affordable health care for students.

Besides covering a percentage of the cost for more non-routine medical services, the SHBP makes it possible to receive commonplace services at Boynton Clinics with no out-of-pocket costs to students. Furthermore basic health programs such as massage therapy, tai chi, women's clinics etc. are provided at Boynton for free (well under the SHBP)!

I encourage you to explore the health coverage you are provided here at the U so you can utilize the resources you are entitled to as best as you can.The next time you have a common cold and plan on going to CVS to pick up some medicine, I challenge you to drop by the Gopher Clinic to get the medicine free.

Remember, if you are confused about health coverage and services available to you, always feel free to call in and ask questions. For now, I leave you with Boynton's contact details.

(612) 625-3222 Appointments
(612) 625-8400 Information
(612) 625-7900 Medical Information Nurse

Until next time!

When in America ...


"Hey, how's going?","What's up?", How's life treating ya?" are a few of the seemingly innumerable ways that Americans greet each other. A few days after passing through the immigration gates in America for the very first time, I realized that this country is obsessed with greeting people cheerfully! By no means am I implying that the country I come from are full of snobbish , serious people who do not greet each other, but then again never in India will you find a stranger ,for example a police officer, even remotely interested about how college life is treating you.
So cheerful were some of the greetings, that I couldn't help feeling a little alarmed in such situations. Ironic isn't it, being intimidated by someone being friendly ?I got into the habit of spending a few seconds preparing myself for the "greeting", during which I would compose a few sentences to respond to the greeting. But even then I would embarrassingly stumble at various moments, moments where I did not expect a greeting, moments where I did not hear a greeting or even worse, when I would not know what the greeting meant at all !You see, this problem is usually not experienced in countries like India, where greetings between strangers are limited to a hi, hello or namste- so the response to every single greeting would essentially be the same .

As you may have noticed, I have written the majority of the above paragraph in past tense and so as you may have guessed, I no longer have problems with greeting people. Though it is true that I have gotten used to it, there are other aspects of American culture that still puzzle me, and that I still have to get used to. You'll too, as future International students, will face many such issues, but it is all a great experience that will shape you into becoming a more well-rounded individual. I haven't written about how to address these issues, because based on my learning in America , I know that experience and time are the best way to overcome these challenges. The thought of studying in another country can be very intimidating, but I have learned as have majority of other international students, that once you get here and get used to the American way of life, which you definitely will, college life in America is a lot of fun!!!

Let's Take The Time Machine Back to Childhood!

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It will take a while for you to figure out what this topic is about:)
Our east and west bank campuses are close to downtown Minneapolis where there are lot of museums, theaters and shopping malls. In contrast, downtown St Paul seems far away from our university due to the fact that it will take you almost an hour to take the bus get there. In this case, a lot of students don't even think about bothering to go there.
Today, I am going to tell you two secret places that I have found at downtown St. Paul that will help you go back to your childhood.
The first place is the Minnesota Children's Museum
Don't laugh at me, this is great place. The reason that I love this place is that, when I was little, there's no children's museums that are designed specially for kids in China. I remembered that kids all love the play house game. I was obsessed with that game and my favorite part is always the kitchen tools. How I wish that at that time I could have an entire set of kitchen tools toys and different toy food so that I can cook so many things.
And this dream came true when I went to the Minnesota Children's Museum this summer. They have a big kitchen and supermarket model in the Our World Exhibit for the kids to play.
What's more, there are factory models, animal programs, creativity center, art park etc. This place is so full of love which makes me feel so jealous of the kids, they can have so many play opportunities compare to kids in our generation. Also, I can tell that how the Museum's mission "sparking kids learning through play" is matched to the contemporary education concept. Learning is important, but definitely should be in a fun and inspirational way. I remembered that when I was little, parents usually didn't realize the importance of play and they always want their kids to study hard at school and do more homework after school. So, after I have seen how the museum can provide so many chances for kids to learn and play since an young age, I couldn't help but wondering, if China can have children's museum to stress early education through play instead of heavy homework, our Chinese student will be more creative. We will not only good at math, but also art and other creative works.
Although we are college students, take a tour to the children's museum can really help us to find our lost piece in our childhood: the privilege to play.
Just 30 seconds' walk from the Minnesota Children's Museum, there is a candy shop called CandyLand
Once you see these Snoopy, you are basically arrived.
This is the candy store that every kid is dreaming of!!!
My favorite is the Gummi Bear and Gummi Bear's Son, which is the Gummi Cub.
In the cold day, you walk in such colorful and sweet candy store, get a bag of chocolate, a bag of popcorn and some soft gummi cub. The warmth and happiness that candy brings to you is so beautiful.


So, take a break from your college life, check these two places out, recall your childhood's most beautiful memories, be happy like a kid with a bite of your favorite candy!

Finding houses around the campus!

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I cannot believe it is already November. This semester already passed half time. Some of you probably start to looking for next year's housing right now. One of my suggestion is to start looking at housing right now. It is better to start early than late. A lot of people actually look for houses later next semester, but during that time a lot of cheap and really good places rent out.

1. If you want to live in the dorm next year, you can apply online early next semester. The residential halls usually send emails to inform that the application is online. All you need to is go to the website and fill in the form and rank which room and which dorm you want to live next year. They will assign you room based on your rankings. The ground rule is to APPLY EARLY! Sometimes the residential halls need to save rooms for coming freshman. Screen shot 2012-11-04 at 11.14.10 PM.png
This is my room in Territorial Hall last year. It is a two-people bedroom and I lofted my bed.

2. For those of you who do not want to live in the dorm, you need to decide to live in the apartment or houses and also whether you want to live with your friends or people you know about or strangers. There are also a lot of factors that you may want to consider while looking for houses, like prices, locations and transportations.

3.For people who have most classes on the West Bank, you may consider looking at houses on the West Bank. A lot of people choose to rent GrandMarc or Seven Corners. You can check their website for further information.They posted their flooring plans and some pictures of different apartments pictures on it.

4. For those of you who want to live in the East Bank, there are a lot of choices. The expensive one is Dinkydorm, which is right across the Forwell Hall. Since it has really convenient location, it is a little expensive to live alone. However, you can choose to share bedrooms with your friends or other people. No matter what apartment or houses you want to rent, the ground rule is to start paying attention to those renting information right now. 1245130_newspaper_boy.jpg
After you decide which house or apartment you want to live, you may need to go to the renting offices to sign some paper forms. Do not be frustrated about the long process. It takes time to find houses. The most important thing is to find the one which can both fits into your budget and also make you happy and live more comfortable! I hope you all enjoy the housing hunting!

HUGE Campus. No problem!

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Hello my wonderful friends!!!

I might be cheap but I have to admit that I LOVE FREE STUFF. If you haven't had a chance to look at Tamilola's blog about navigating around the Twin cities, do it! It's very helpful. You can use public transportation in a smart way to save a lot of money.

However, they are still not free. In this blog, I will mention a free transportation that the U of M provides you. And as a student at the U of M, getting around the campus is one of the most important things you need to master!

Let's me start with a question: What is the most common thing you hear about University of Minnesota? Like it or not, attending University of Minnesota means going to a HUGE campus.

The University of Minnesota size is 1,204 acres (about 5 square kilometers) with three campus locations: West Bank, Eat Bank and St. Paul. To make it easy to understand, just imagine a campus in two cities: St. Paul and Minneapolis. The distance between St. Paul campus and Minneapolis campus is about 4 miles (approximately 6.5 km)
I took the distance from Coffman Memorial Union in the East Bank to St. Paul Student Center in St. Paul campus. University-of-Minnesota-Twin-Cities-Campus-Map_mediumthumb.jpg

In the Minneapolis campus, the Mississippi river separated the campus into 2 parts: the East Bank and the West Bank, which takes you about 15-20 minutes to cross the river.

Take me as a specific example. My major is Communication studies. Thus, most of my classes are in Ford Hall, the East Bank. I have a minor in Environmental Science, Policy and Management, which has all the classes in St. Paul campus. As an international student and international student ambassador, I work with ISSS a lot. ISSS office is in the West Bank. I also work an on-campus job in Coffman Memorial Union, which is in the East Bank. Now, you can imagine how crazy I would be just to run around!


umnbuspict.jpgThe Campus connectors and Campus circulators are there for you! I still remember that figuring out how to use the Campus shuttle was one of the most useful things for me during my time at the U. The Campus connectors take you from the West Bank to the East Bank in less than five minutes, from the East Bank to St. Paul in about 20 minutes. The Campus circulators take you around each campus location within few minutes. But that's not everything! The Campus shuttles have a super high frequency. In peak hour of classes, the campus shuttles come almost every minute. Otherwise, they come in about 5-10 minutes. In the evening or late at night, still they come in about 15-20 minutes.

You can check out more details as well as the Campus shuttles' stop and routes.


Free. Fast. No more cold. No more waiting. Navigating around campus can never be easier!

Minnesota winters are no joke! But they can be fun with the appropriate gear. I've met some people who have seen pictures of 5 feet snow falls and think it's fun or crazy, but that's not the part of winter I'm concerned with. The snow is the least of my worries. When you see that the weather reports indicate a temperature of -20 or less that's when things get risky.
It's true last winter was mild, but that's no the norm in Viking's land!
Seriously! it is no light matter, and even if you're on a limited student budget like most of us here don't be cheap and risk getting pneumonia, frostbite or any other number of horrible things. But this is no tetric blog, i mean it to be an invitation to go on a fun and thorough winter shopping trip while on a srudent budget.
I've read and heard people say just bundle up, but allow me to give you some tips on how to bundle up for a Minnesota winter from the point of view of the wisest person in earth according to me, my mom who lived to the U of M 20+ years ago before I was born.
The following list is for the coldest day, which should be what you prepare for, since after that everything should be a joke if you have good clothes. Also don't wait till it's freezing cold to start buying clothes!

1. A good base layer of cotton long underwear.
winter underwear.jpg

Both bottom and top. It sounds unnecessary but there will be at least a couple of weeks each winter when waiting for the bus or walking to school will be like standing outdoors in the North Pole! I got mine for about $20 at Herberger's. There are a couple of locations around town, so just google it and find one near your place.

2. Wool socks!

Why wool? Because they're extremely warm and if they were to get wet they dry up really fast. However normal wool can be extremely uncomfortable for some people and sometimes to big and if you love hiking like I do you might be familiar with the "smart wool" brand, they are the most comfortable sock fabric ever and they're not overwhelmingly warm! Plus they last forever! Just make sure they are boot length, otherwise there's no point!
You can buy smartwool socks online, or at hiking and outdoor activity stores like REI. I'm lazy so I prefer online: You can buy a pair for about $12.

3. Good snow boots!

Even if it doesn't snow your feet will get extremely cold if you're only wearing warm socks. As a matter of fact when it snows it doesn't get as cold as when the skies are clear and the wind is freezing. So... What I mean by good snow boots is that they are labeled to be good for bellow 32 degree temperatures and they are waterproof so that the snow won't freeze your feet and they have good traction on the soles so you want slip when walking on eyes.
They might not be the cheaper ones but as an avid hiker I recommend Columbia boots. They're way cheaper online than at the stores. Try amazon, or sometimes the Columbia site has good deals.

4. Warm scarf!

On below freezing temperatures dressing well has nothing to do with fashion! You can look good, but stupidly freeze. Make sure whatever you buy is cotton, wool, polar tech or fleece and is a tight fabric. Those cute fluffy scarfs with holes are the worse idea ever! You can find good and cheap scarfs almost anywhere. I personally love kniting so I make my own, but Ragstock is my favorite spot for buying student budget scarfs and base layers. Or clothes in general... Just make sure that they are big enough for you to wrap your neck and face around a couple of times.
Try Ragstock and tell me if you agree with me that it is the coolest clothes store ever!

5. A warm hat that covers your head and ears

It is so easy to freeze if the only part of your body you don't cover is your head. And if you keep you head warm, everything else will feel great. So make sure again you find a nice warm tight fabric, and make sure you ears are covered. When it gets really cold a few seconds outside without the appropriate gear could cause frostbite which is basically damage to your skin and tissues due to freezing, and your ears and nose are the parts most at risk.

6. Comfy waterproof gloves or mittens!

Don't be cheap with these cause you will use them everyday! Make sure that their label says they're good for very cold temperatures, once again that they are of a warm fabric, and that they have an outside waterproof layer. When it snows if you hands get wet you're in trouble, but if they're not you can actually enjoy the snow and play around with it. Even as a young adult I still get as excited as a 5 year old when it snows and I can go play outside, make snowmen, snow angels, etc... Why else would we come to Minnesota?
Mine are fleece with an outside layer of leather. The best ever! I bought them at a little boutique in Alexandria MN, but department stores, and places like Columbia and even have equally amazing options. Mine were around $55, and you should plan to spend around that amount for something lasting and warm.

7. Earmuffs!

I personally think they look ridiculous and cute at the same time, but this January there were a few days when I was extremely happy to have them, because even a good had won't fully cover your ears. And believe me! Ears get cold extremely fast and it's painful and uncomfortable when that happens. Again look for something made of some nice warm fabric and you'll do great.

8. Layers, layers, layer!

You can still wear your cool t-shirts and blouses during the winter time, but remember always to have at least one nice and warm sweater, over your t-shirt, and a sweatshirt on top of that. Or at least wear a long sleeve shirt and then a sweatshirt, unless you're already wearing long sleeve underwear.. Make sure that at least two of these layers don't leave any skin uncovered in between the them and the gloves because cold air creeps in amazing ways, and that your base layer (long underwear) is cotton. So with this in mind is a good idea to tuck your layers. The logic behind layers is that you will create air pockets in between each layer which is insulated by your body heat.

9. Really good jacket!

Your outer layer will shield you from rain, hail, snow, crazy freezing winds and the cold. I would certainly not be cheap when buying a jacket. And please don't buy a short one just because you think it looks cool. Make sure it goes below your hips at least a couple of inches, and that it has a hoodie to cover your head. The ideal jacket is definitely a goose feather one cause they're super comfy and warm. You can get anything from the super fluffy ones to really compact ones. They also vary in prices from anything around $80-$500 or more. Just make sure you like it, it's warm, covers your arms well and its good quality cause you'll use it a lot.
I got mine at Herberger's for about $120 and I love it. I personaly love the fluffy ones cause the compact ones make me feel naked. However I do have a lighter one for hiking and other outdoor adventures.

10. Enjoy the crazy Minnesota weather

Buying good clothes will definitely help you enjoy the weather, now make sure to always have them with you and have extra gloves and scarfs in your bag in case you loose them. Personally for me this is drastically different from rainy and humid tropical Guatemala City where I grew up, but it is nevertheless exciting. Make sure the weather doesn't stop you from going and out, hanging out with friends and doing all kinds of fun things outdoors. Staying active is key to a good mental health during the winter months! Once you have the right gear you can enjoy outdoor winter activities like snow-shoeing, cross-country skiing, hiking, to even snow camping and blaying broom ball with friends for the more adventurous ones.

You can rent special gear for really good prices from the U of M Center for Outdoor Adventure.
Useful links!


Hello, this is Tony's speaking.
OK, this time, I'd like to talk about 4 supermarkets the U of M student usually go, since shopping for grocery is inevitable for our daily lives.

There are 4 main big supermarket around the U, Target, Walmart, Rainbow, and Cub foods. They are big in size so there's always a wide range of selections. They all stick together located in Midway shopping center on the University Ave. in St. Paul (don't freak out, remember I've told you Minneapolis and St Paul are fairly close to each others.) Take the Bus No. 16 heading to St Paul, and these 3 supermarkets are just on the way.
Screen-shot above shows the direction from Jones Hall, U of M to Super target as well as other markets by bus.
However, the "big four" are so different from each other.
As a leading supermarket enterprise, Target can be considered as a multitask market. Its products range from daily grocery to furniture, from digital products to fresh food. Almost anything you need can be purchased in Target, especially this Super Target in Saint Paul("Can I get a car there?""Of course! and you can place it on your desk, toys are always on sale in target!!")And also this Target is the Super Target that held the Welcome Week activity "Target Run"( "Gee, it's an nightmare shopping during the target run, people were everywhere from no where""well, I got a lot of free toothpaste and it took me a year to use them up....")
There's another target located in downtown Minneapolis, which is more closer to U campus. Again, take Bus No. 16 but heading to Minneapolis downtown direction, get off the bus at Nicolet Mall stop, and take a walk to the Target market(or take bus No. 10 or 18, but it's not that far.)
Name: Target
Category: Multitask market
Price: About average
Recommendation:High recommended
24/7 open:No

Walmart is just like Target, another big supermarket featured with their cheap daily goods in a relatively low price. I bought a bike which cost me $70 while in Target it was priced $120.
But the differences from Target is Walmart doesn't have any fresh food or vegetables in stock. The more they offered are microwave food or oven food.
Category: Supermarket
Price: Relatively lower, always on sale.
Recommendation: Recommended.
24/7 Open:No

Rainbow is the first market you will see when you riding a bus on the University Ave to St Paul. Rainbow is also a supermarket but not as "multitask" as Target. Its feature is the variety of food. Fresh pork, ribs; beef, lamb, fishes, chicken; vegetables, fruits and other category of microwave food. ("Gee, there's too many, I can't choose which one to buy....")

Name: Rainbow
Category: Food market
Price: Relatively low
Recommendation: Recommended
24/7 Open: No

Cub Foods
Here comes my favorite market, Cub Foods!("I thought it's Target""I'll explain..") Cub Foods is just like Rainbow, it provides a variety of food; the difference is, it's open 24/7!!!
for night people like me, that the most attractive part! and also, the price is relatively low too!!

Name: Cub Foods
Category: Food Market
Price: Low
Recommendation: Highly recommended
24/7 Open: YES "24 Hours for saving" and they meant it!!!

To sum up:
Target---Good in general owning to its bigger scale of the company.
Walmart---Good market for cheaper grocery( and Bike!!)
Rainbow---focus on food
Cub Foods---focus on food but open 24/7!!
So, to answer the title question, buy chicken in either Target or Rainbow at day time, go Cub Foods at night, lol
Today I shared my own experience about the "big four" markets that are popular for U of M students, for next Episode, I will talk more about some smaller but still pretty nice markets!

Live long and prosper to the infinity and beyond!

To be continued...

Horse carriages and buggies and camels, oh my!


Ok maybe my title is kind of random since as you guessed no one uses horse carriages or buggies or camels to get around the twin cities. BUT this post does have to do with transportation, so it makes sense right? Right!? Besides its fun to think about those old forms of transport... but that's enough of my meandering thoughts, its time to get back to the topic at hand.

Minneapolis is probably one of my favorite cities in the USA when it comes to the transportation system. It doesn't have the wild pace of New York, neither the desolate feel of Decorah, Iowa. No Minneapolis is in a world of its own with its near-European charm. There are always people on the roads running, biking, walking and getting fresh air. With how easy it is to get around in the Cities, it'll be easy for you to settle without the need for a car.

As a University student who gets around the Twin-Cities quite a bit, the U-Pass has come in handy time and time again. It's a discounted bus pass offered at $97 to enrolled students at the U. It is a one-time payment that lasts all semester long. It will get you on all metro transit buses, the light rail and suburban buses (associated with the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority) . So you can easily get anywhere with the swipe of a card because, really, you don't want to be THAT guy: you know, the one who fishes for lose change in his or her pocket while holding up the passenger line and beginning an unending cycle of a late bus for every stop after...


I can't tell you enough how time consuming it can be to have to look for loose change just to pay a bus fair...Look how miserable this guy looks.


My precious...

The Minneapolis transit organization is called Metro Transit. They offer many bus routes that criss-cross all over the Twin-cities in addition to the light rail. Metro Transit also offers a Go-To card. On this card you can store a lump sum of money from which a fare will be taken for each trip. Or you can pay for a specific number of passes. Find out more about the different payment options for a Go-To-Card here

Here is a Go-To card being swiped at a typical swipe station. All you have to do is take a second to swipe instead of looking for change and missing that train!

The light runs from Mall of America to Downtown Minneapolis. However, come Fall 2014, it's route will extend through the U down to Saint Paul.

If you prefer to do your own navigating, there are several other options available. For instance Nice Ride Minnesota is a bicycle sharing system that's offered seasonally (Oh winter, where is thy sting ? :( ). There are several bicycle stations all over the city where you can pick up a bicycle, ride for any duration of time around the city and drop it off at a station near your final destination. I hear you can rent for as little as $6 for a 24 hour rental. Get the real scoop here.

Here you have your Nice Ride bikes. Always in tip-top shape and ready for you to hop on and explore the cities.

If you would prefer to be within the confines of a car while getting around though, the ZIP CAR may be for you. You can easily sign up online and pick up your preferred car from a station near you or even on campus. These cars include gas and insurance which clears up a lot of documentation that is usually needed for regular rentals.

If all this fails,there are more travel options available within the cities. That still not working for you? You could always carpool with a good friend! or buy a car...However, that's a whole other process. If you have specific questions on how to get around feel free to shoot me an e-mail. Take care!

Let's talk about majoring in Agribusiness!

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Let's start with a brief introduction about my program and why I chose it.

I am a senior student with a major in Agricultural Food Business Management, at College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource(CFANS).

I know that this major sounds really "agriculture" and "countryside" right? You may think that I am studying how to produce food and make agricultural related products, and I will be working in the lab and field.

I get that perception a lot,but that's not the truth.

The courses in this major are composed with applied economic courses and courses from one specific emphasis in business that you personally interested in exploring. For example, there are emphasis in Business Management, Financial Management and Marketing, Sales, & Food Industry Management.
As you can see, this major makes great combination of both economics and marketing. For me, I like to learn more about the world's economic situation and trade between countries, at the same time, I want to explore more about the food market and related business between the U.S. and China. What's more, I am concerned about the current food safety problems in China, so I could have the chance to learn food related policies and rules. Sounds amazing right?

From my knowledge, except those who are studying science and engineering, a lot of Chinese students at the University of Minnesota choose to study economics or business related major. I understand that the reason behind is that the students are dreaming to get a job that allows them to sit in the office, talk to the customers, wear suit and tie, and make big money. I used to think in this way because job like this is easy and comfortable.

However, as I have talked to more professors, I realized that this is not a easy thing to do. Take agribusiness as an example, most students want to work in the retail or marketplace, whether American students or international students like you and me. If you are planning to find a job after graduation and stay in the U.S., as an international students, you are less competitive than the native American students. So, you need to have some different skills that could help you stand in this country. For example, I am thinking about minoring in food science or at least take some basic science class to support my understanding of the food industry. And the entire food production chain is not only about selling, there are other important segments such as farm, processing, supply etc. These are the jobs that require people to have some professional knowledge to understand how things work. In another word, you should think about develop yourself in a more comprehensive way instead of focusing on one thing which might restrict your prospective. You can major in finance, but think about minor something that less related to finance to supplement your knowledge system.

For the moment, there are only few Chinese students in my major. I don't know what their future plans are. But I will say, although the agriculture and food industry in the U.S. is quite different form that in China, and there's so much that China could learn from the U.S.. Yet someday in the future, there will be huge agriculture and food development breakthrough that happen in China because more students start to realize that the goal to study abroad is not only to find a comfortable office job for themselves, but also learn something practical and useful to bring changes to China.

Halloween <3

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Hello everyone!!!Are you guys ready for the coming Halloween? Is it your first Halloween in America ?If so, are you excited?

For me, Halloween is my favorite Western Festival. When I was an exchanged student in Wisconsin, I was super excited for Halloween!I was dressed as a sheep and went to nearly all the houses in the town for trick and treat with my host family. It is fun to see what kind of decorations that each family has. There are pumpkin lanterns lightened up outside the yard and even some skull toys hanging out side. It is really interesting to experience those. For those of you who have a host family, do not hesitate to join your host family for this awesome and amazing festival.

If you do not have a host family, do not worry! There are a lot of events holding on the campus for Halloween. There is a student group called International Student Buddy Program, which holds halloween party every year. Last year, I went to their event with my mentor and my friends. It is fun! You can also compete with other people for winning who has the best costume :)

Screen shot 2012-10-23 at 12.35.50 AM.png
This picture is from last year when my friend and I went to the IBP Halloween Party.

Valley fair, which is the amusement park in Shakopee, Minnesota, has their special halloween activities as well. There are some corn mazes nearby Minneapolis, where you can actually go buy the pumpkins and also walk through the maze. Try eating caramel apples if you like eating sweet favor food.


This is when I was in the corn maze in Wisconsin. You can see a lot of pumpkins there.

I hope everyone has a fantastic halloween and thanks for reading my blog! :)

Study Hard! Play Hard!


Sports is the best way to unwind after a hard day of studying. Thankfully, the U of M has fantastic facilities for a number of sports-whether you feel like playing some soccer,or shooting some hoops, or even if you have a sudden urge to build some biceps in the gym to impress that hot girl in your literature class, you can do it all here at the U ! At the U of M, you will have the opportunity to play tons of different sports, some of them which you might have never heard of before getting here (still not sure what "curling" is!) . Taking part in fun pick up games is a great way to unwind and make new friends. On the other hand, the intramural league is perfect if the competitive side of you is longing for expression. And who knows if you have got some serious skills, you could even get picked to play for the U at a Club or Varsity level!
After joining the U, I immediately joined the intramural soccer league, which was a lot of fun (we ended up losing in the semi-finals). The same semester, I realized that the U had 6 great squash courts. Having played squash at an international level a few years ago, before I switched to soccer, I decided to to hit the ball for fun. A few minutes after I had started playing, I was interrupted by a man who said he was impressed by my strokes. Turns out he was the U of M squash coach! His enthusiasm for squash was so infectious that I became re-hooked to the game. I joined the squash team the following semester, and along with my teammates, some of them who have become some of my closest friends, took part, and still take part, in several tournaments in the city and around the country!
A you can see, taking part in sports has a great number of benefits! If you are still not convinced take a load of this - A survey has shown that people who play more have higher GPA ! So study hard and play hard!
squash team.jpg

Struggling? Need help?

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Hello friends!!!

In this blog, I want to share with you one of the biggest concerns that international students might have: Where can I find help?

How many of you here are so used to having support from friends, parents, family, etc? Studying abroad means you are no longer with family and friends that you used to know. You cannot just come to mom to tell her your struggle. You cannot ask mom to cook for you or to help you with the laundry. You cannot ask to fix the broken leg of the table or change the battery of the clock in your room. You cannot ask your big brother to help you with your homework. And thanks to technology, even when you can talk to your loved ones who are far away from you to seek for help, they might not understand everything about your situation, your problems and your life in the U.S.

So what can you do?

Luckily, the University of Minnesota provides you with a lot of consulting and counseling services. Check out this website for all the counseling services you will be able to get.

Personal Concerns Counseling

The University offers you counseling service relating to personal concerns through Academic Counseling or Learning Assistance in many different aspects: Academic Stress, Relationship Problems, Financial Pressures, Conflict with Parents, Depression, Anxiety, Eating Concerns

There are also WORKSHOP AND CLASSES about personal concerns. They are provided for all University of Minnesota students. I myself have registered for several Public health classes about how to manage stress to succeed in college as well as in life; how to eat, sleep, exercise healthily. Those classes are completely online to flexibly fit with your busy schedule.

Learning & Academic Skills Counseling

It's challenging to be in college. It's even harder to study in a different language than your native tongue. The University is aware of that by providing you service in order to help you go through your academic struggles. Also, take your academic advisor as a wonderful resource. They are very knowledgeable and helpful. I make appointment with my advisors at least twice per semester just to let her know how I am doing with classes. I also get a lot of advices from choosing classes, how to do well in classes as well as how to plan for the graduation. Besides your academic advisor, ISSS advisors are also a great resources especially for international students like us.

You can also talk to your professors or TAs. They have always been a great help whenever I have a problem with my academic life.

Career Counseling

I personally enjoy career counseling at the University of Minnesota a lot! You will have chance to take test to find out your strengths and weaknesses such as Strong Interest Inventory and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). There are also wide variety of jobs and career options that you can do in the future with your degree. I also love the staff and advisor here who provide useful and effective advice on career paths as well as critique on your resume and cover letter. The career counseling also provide you opportunities to do practice interview, which I found as an awesome experience to have before having a "real" interview.

Above all: ALL OF THOSE SERVICES ARE FREE. As a full time registered University of Minnesota students, you are eligible for all of those services without paying anything. So why worry? Go ahead and take advantages of all those services.

REMEMBER: We, International Students Ambassadors, are here to help you too!!! Feel free to leave comments below or send us an email at.... if you are in trouble and need some help. We will try our best to give you advice or provide you with useful resources.


Best of luck,
Thao Nguyen.

Fun Summer Time: WELCOME WEEK!


At the end of my summer holiday (which is the last week of August 2012), there was a week-long event especially ONLY for freshman students who would start their first semester at Fall, which was WELCOME WEEK.

It was such an amazing experience for me, because I got involved as the Welcome Week Leader. As I told you before here, I was a transfer student. I did not have such event that could help me adjusting to my very first weeks at the University of Minnesota, so for me, this is my chance to get some welcome week experience! =)

These are benefits that I got of being Welcome Week Leader (WWL):
+Meeting and Making a lot of new friends
+Building up my resume
+Free meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) for 10 days!
+Getting many cool t-shirts
+Have tones of fun! ;D

Now I will explain what I had during Welcome Week based on each day.

1st day: "Kick-Off Day"
It was the very first time meeting my group. I was in group 20 with my leader partner, A.J.
4.30pm: Kick-Off Meeting. It was the time when we got to know each other and had some fun introduction activities. Although it was not long, at least I got to know their expectation for me and for this whole entire week.
6.30pm: Dinner and free time.
10.00pm: Target Run. What is it?? What is Target? Okay, let me explain! Target is one of the super store brand in Twin Cities area. In this TARGET RUN, U of M especially booked the whole place just for us! (I felt like I was a VIP! Haha) That was the opportunity for students to just shop and complete their daily necessity to settle down. Click here to know what stuff they sell.
During this time, I got many free stuff and free samples such as food, drink, lotion, moisturizer, and so on. They started handed in from the front door to almost the end of cashier area. Students would get chances to win some fun prize or gift cards if they played some games Target provided.

2nd day: "College Day"
8.30am: Convocation at Mariucci Arena. All the student were seated based on their colleges. The fun part was before the event start, WWLs represented each colleges initiated the "song war". Students had to sing to prove their college pride and to show which college had the coolest cheers! That was really interesting to see all the students got really pumped up in the morning. The awesome U of M Marching Band was performing as the opening. Then, President Kaler (U of M president) gave speech and shared some campus tradition and history. This here to see the video they played Isn't it cute??
11.30am: Lunch and College Activities. Since I'm a College of Science & Engineering (CSE) student, I helped for my college. We heard speech form Paul Strykowski about why we should be proud being a CSE student. This was the opportunity for CSE students knowing about college program, CSE student groups and attending their first class.
4.30pm: Dinner and free time
8.30pm: Jermaine Davis talk. He was a funny speaker, talked about obstacles and frustrations that individual might face on their journey of life, and shared some strategies to overcome it.
10.00pm: FUN ZONE. Again, more free food and fun activities. It was my first time experience did rock climbing, learnt some Cha Cha movement dance, and photo booth!

3rd day: "U of M Day"
8am - 6pm: This time was the longest time I got to spend with my group and get to know them even better. On this day, we got to explore more about West Bank, East Bank and St. Paul campus. The students got to attend their interest session that they chose before the welcome week starts, visited the Rec Center, learnt how to respect each other differences, and knew more how to be 'Greener' and how to survive as a college student.
8.30pm: Pride & Spirit. This was the time for student to learn how to sing, chant, cheer U of M pride songs. We also took the class of 2016 photo.
10.00pm: Gopher after Dark. Free food were still provided. Free concert, movie bowling, henna tattoos, dance time! This event was not happening only during welcome week, it was organized by Student & Unioin Activities (SUA) all year-long every weekend. This is a free and fun place for students to spend their weekend during academic year!

4th day: "Community Engagement Day"
12.00pm: The purpose of this day was to let students knew more about not only excel in their academic lives but also be active and engage in their community and surrounding. The activities included raising awareness for those needy and attending session to get involved in various volunteer opportunities
1.30pm: EXPLORE-U, where many student groups were having their booth to introduce their groups and let the students joined. There were also many vendors giving up free coupon, food, and stuff.
4.30pm: Dinner and free time
9.30pm: Late Night at Mall of America! As some of you may already know, MOA is the biggest mall in America. The theme park inside, again, especially booked only for us that night! We got free unlimited rides at Nickelodeon Universe, you can ride as many times you want! Don't you think we have so much privilege through this event? Loved it!! xD

5th Day: " Community Exploration Day"
12.00pm: This day was technically the last day we would be together as a group. It was the opportunity for students to explore places other than U of M area, included Downtown, Uptown, Riverfront District. Our group were assigned to Downtown. Scavenger hunt was available to help students exploring places. Unfortunately, my group was kind of exhausted, so we decided to discuss more about their concerns and anxieties as new students and we also had the wrap up time for the farewell.
8.00pm: Pick-up sports included basketball, frisbee and lightning.

6th Day: Free Time / Optional Time
This was the time for students just to relax and preparing for classes the next day. For those that have more energy, there were several optional activity, one of them was going to Minnesota State Fair.

The welcome week was really the best experience to end my summer holiday. Although, it was tiring since I put so much energy into it, but I had so many priceless experience in return. Based on the students' evaluation, they were all ready and confident to go around the campus after Welcome Week.
For those prospective freshman that feel worry and overwhelmed with this big campus, not having friends, not confident with speaking in English, you definitely should join!
For those transfer students, this is your opportunity to get WELCOME WEEK experiences.

If you have more specific question, regarding Welcome Week. Feel free to leave the comment! *Photos will be posted soon*

The North Star, surprising things about Minnesota

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All the information here is from the internet, give the credits to the WWW~ Some of them are not proved yet, but they are most likely true~
So everyone, I'm Tony. As international students, there must be a reason for us to choose Minnesota for our college years. Maybe because of the relatively low tuition fee; maybe because of the high ranked major programs; Or even there's some weird reasons, for instance, I choose Minnesota because it's extremely cold in winter. (Dude, seriously?) and I'm not joking!
Don't know why choose Minnesota? Haven't thought about it? Well, let Tony tell you something about Minnesota!
1. Why named Twin Cities?
Twin cities is not one city's name, there are exactly two cities!Minneapolis and Saint Paul. They both have their own municipal governments.But why call them twin cities?Because they are really really close to each other. How close? you can take bus No. 16 from downtown Minneapolis to Downtown Saint Paul, and it takes about a hour. And also, their suburbans are more like conjoined twins---Actually there's one time I wanted to find my friends home, so I followed google map and walked, I departed from TCF stadium, when I arrived at my friends' apartment, it took me about half hour, and finally I found myself in Saint Paul already.
2. Who is the big one?
If the "big one" means which one is bigger in size, it's MInneapolis; If the "big one" means who is the capital city of Minnesota State, it's Saint Paul, even though Minneapolis is bigger in size and larger in population, Saint Paul is still in charge of the state.
Minneapolis at night.jpg

However, both cities have their own pride. For Minneapolis, its downtown has skyways connecting buildings. If we connect all skyways end to end, it would be the longest skyway in the world( about 13 km). Also, downtown Minneapolis is so beautiful especially at night, that why its nickname is "little Chicago."
As for Saint Paul, its State Capitol is the second largest unsupported marble dome, after Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome.
Saint Paul is also the hometown of Snoopy and his father, Charles Monroe Schulz "Sparky".I was a big fan of Snoopy when I was a little boy, sadly Mr. Sparky past away in 2000, otherwise I would definitely ask an autograph from him.
Another funny thing about Saint Paul is the city's name. Saint Paul is not the original one, it's a replacement of the former name "Pig's Eye"( I prefer the former one!)
3.10000 lakes, and 1000000 mosquitos!!
Actually there's over 15000 Lakes in Minnesota. One I'm very familiar with is Lake Como because I used to live in Bailey Hall, which is the only dorm in U of M St Paul Campus. Bus No. 3 can take you there. Lake Itasca is the source of Mississippi River. (the image below shows the world largest fresh water lake, Lake Surperior, it's just like ocean, isn't it?)
Boys who like basketball would definitely know Los Angles Lakers, but many of them may not know that Lakers used to belong to Minnesota, because there's 10000 lakes in Minnesota, not in California.

And mosquitos, because there's too many lakes, and mosquitos need water to grow, so it is an nightmare walking along the lakes during the summer time(itch sometimes is worse than pain). Also, if there's no screen on the windows, in summer time, mosquitos will seattle down in the house and have a crazy blood party every night(Let's party through the roof!!).
Because of the frigid climate in Minnesota, most lakes would freeze, local people even drive on the ice or park their cars on the frozen lakes. (Try to find it in this winter, since it's gonna be so cold!)

4.Let's do business here!
Althrough Minnesota has her extreme climate, she still can't stop the steps of businessmen. There are about 21 Top 500 enterprises were established in Minnesota. Those brands people are familiar with such as BestBuy, 3M, and US Bank; Dairy Queen, TCF( twin cities finance) Bank, and Target contribute a lot to Minnesota's economy, as well as the United States.
The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota is the largest mall in America. How big is the mall exactly?well, if you spend 15 minutes visiting each store in MOA, it would take you 3 months to visit them all. There's an amusement park located in MOA too, which again, because of the cold weather, people built this huge park indoor!
Another big thing that related to business is the Annual Minnesota State Fair. Once a year from late August to Labor's Day. One word to decribe State Fair is Crazy Crowded( "Dude, there're two words""Buy one get one free) So 10 things you can expect in State Fair are animals, vegetables, food, amusement park, and then, people, more people, a lot of people ,more and more People!PEOPLE are everywhere!!The population of Minnesota is 5.3 milions, and there are 1.7 milions people go to State Fair every year...
Although its super crowded in State Fair, it is undeniable that the total revenue from State Fair is quite a lot and very important for Minnesota.

The stories and legends of Minnesota can hardly be covered in just one blog article. There's still a lot to talk about, but I'd like to keep them and let all you guys to explore by yourself. It is a way to learn the culture, a way to expand vista, and a way to start loving Minnesota, or Minnesoda, LOL.
You all made the right choice!

Healthy diet

Eating is definitely one of the greatest pleasures in life, but we should never forget it is also the main key to a healthy life. I indeed forgot about this little detail when I moved away from home, and learned the hard way; gaining sixty pounds and getting very sick!
Indeed the pleasure of eating cup ramen every lunch, mac n' cheese every night and McDonalds everytime you feel like sounds glorious to some, and it is sometimes the easiest way to feed ourselves on the go. But making it a habit without realizing its consequences might be one of the most foolish things you can do while adapting to a life away from home, away from mom and grandma.
It is important to know nutrition basics, and I have to say, I am no nutritionist so I will only share what my doctors told me. And hopefully you won't have to get sick to start having some healthy and good habits. First of all, weight and figure is not the only reason why we should eat healthy. As full time students we need to always keep a good energy level and good health so we can survive long days of classes, and homework.
So here are the basic tips that were given to me:

  • Eat vegetables. Make sure vegetables cover at least half of your plate. Vegetables are low in calories, can be extremely delicious if you learn a couple of ways to cook them with the spices you like. Also try to buy them fresh since some vegetables loose some of their benefits if they're not fresh.
  • Eat at least two small fruits or a cup of cut fruit a day, between meals. Whenever you think your body is craving sugar it would actually be best if you eat fruit. Fruit have a bunch of vitamins, and help your body stay healthy but too many will not cover all of your dietary needs.
  • And here's one of the hardest for me! Avoid sugars, either reduce them drastically or if you're brave enough avoid them completely. Our body does not need fructose corn syrup or white sugar believe it or not. And it is one of the main ways in which we can harm our liver, and other organs that are not ready for it. (That's what happened to me ;( ) What I do now is I don't eat pastries, but once a week if any.
  • Make sure that at least a quarter of your plate is protein! Even if you are a vegetarian it's important to keep this proportion in your diet. You can eat grains high in protein, tofu or if you do eat meat just make sure you have protein regularly.
  • Drink water! There are different number of glasses different doctors and nutriotionists recommend, but just make sure you have at least six glasses a day even when you are not working out. It help with circulation and digestion.
  • Remember alcohol is a sugar! It has a lot of calories and definitely affects your liver. Drink moderately, to make sure you will be able to enjoy it longer and in a healthier way.
But I know our lives are already crazy without worrying about food and that our time is limited. So organizing our days and making sure we take time to take care of our healthy foods is crucial. So you have to make a decision and do it with discipline even when you're tired. Here are the things I came up with to change my routine and give my body a break. By the way, my health improved greatly!
  • Always keep apples or other small fruits in my backpack so I don't get hungry and eat chips or cookies. So I eat something healthy, but still eat when I'm hungry.
  • Leave beans already cooked to just warm up if I don't have time to cook every night.
  • Keep healthy snacks like granola bars, dry fruits, etc... at home all the time.
  • Pick healthy frozen food options. They're not the best, but if you choose ahead of time knowing that you won't be able to cook every day is better than getting greasy and unhealthy options.
  • Leave some meats marinated or prepared just for you to cook so it's not time consuming, but it is still fresh and yummy!
Don't eat at restaurants all the time even if you have money for that. The portions and preparation of all their food are not necessarily healthy and we can't consciously take charge of our healthy if we have other people cook for us all the time.

Undergraduate Research!

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Hey everyone! One of the biggest advantages of studying in a university as big as the U of M is the availability of plethora of academic related as well as non-academic related resources . As a genetics major, I was eager to get involved in research as early as I could in college . Doing research, or working in a life science based industry are one of my primary career goals and since high school I was well aware of the importance of developing lab skills to make a strong start in my career. I was also aware that getting involved in research would help me better understand my career aspirations. And thanks to UROP I was able to do precisely that!
UROP or the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program is sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Research. The UROP provides a stipend and expense money for a research project done with a professor at the University of Minnesota. So basically you get paid to do research!
A few months after coming to the States, I started surfing the net for research being done by various biologists at the U (this information can be found in the website of the department in which you want to do research). After identifying professors that were doing research that seemed cool to me, I wrote emails to them letting them know about my desire to work in their lab. A lot of the professors, who were obviously incredibly busy with their work, did not even bother replying, but I did not lose heart and kept shooting mails until I finally got a response from a professor. And that professor's name was John Lee, a molecular biologist who graduated from University of California at Berkley . Apart from being a really smart scientist he turned out to be an incredibly nice guy, who agreed to hire me and helped me apply for a UROP . I eventually did win the UROP for this semester but more importantly am able to do research and gain valuable experience working under a great scientist!
So there you have it, that is my UROP story , and I hope I have been able to inspire you'll for getting involved in research in college. Feel free to ask me any questions you might have research or non-research related and I'll be more than happy to reply to them. Good luck!

The Midterms are intense, but you've gotta relax!

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From last week, a big group of midterm zombies have came to eat your brain...crunch, crunch, crunch...and they are still eating until next week...

For sure, it is a huge consuming of time, energy and brain preparing for the midterms, thinking about the midterms, worrying for the midterms, struggling for the midterms and taking the midterms. So, the entire process of dealing with midterms is like a constant battle that will tear you, exhaust you, scare you; however, if you think it in another way, the midterms will at the same time help you, shape you, train you and make you stronger, as long as you have a positive attitude and better plan for them. Here are my stories from the past and the strategies that I have right now.

I used to be super scared of midterms, I felt like it was the end of the world and there's no hope for me, totally darkness all the time. Then I tried to ask myself, what I am afraid of?
If I fail the exam, then I won't get an "A", then I can't have a high GPA, then I can't find a good job, then I will disappoint my parents and I will live a miserable life.
See, that's my logic. Don't laugh at me, you might think the same way too.

I definitely understand that the results may not be that bad (a miserable life), but those excellent students always want to make their GPA looks perfect and then making every effort to protect the holly number 4.0, trying to avoid any mistake and always fight for A! Does this sound like you? Well, that was the previous me.
I worried that what if I lose the points, what if I can't make it right, what if I can't get this or that. Well, stop!!!Things haven't started yet and I didn't even completely focus on my study, I haven't done my best to prepare for the exams. What I did was only thinking the bad results and worrying. Then I realize that the fear is from unable to control what you don't know will happen in the future.

The key point is, what you can do right now?

Every minute that you use to fully immerse yourself into study, the better control you will have of your knowledge, the more confidence you will have in yourself. It's a natural process, you have to try then you will realize that the worries will be gone gradually.

So calm down, focus, here's what we can do but not worry:
1. Put together your notes and go over them as many times as you can. If there's a lot of things to memorize, using repetitive memorization method, which means, try to memorize the same material several times a day in different time. Also, try to do one time before bed, as memories will grow in you while you are asleep. And when you wake up the next day, review it at least one more time.
2. The review session and office hours are very valuable opportunities for you to go over the weak points of your study, so be sure to make it for these sessions.
3. Regular sleeps and eating habit, try not to make it any different than usual. Your body is a system that has its routine that you'd better not to break it. If you always stay up late and over-consume your energy, your body will get back to you with a tired and exhausted response. You will feel uncomfortable and think slow like your part of brain is missing. So, take good care of your body, nurture it instead of consume it overtime.
4. Proper amount of exercise. I know during the midterm weeks the schedule is always tight, but I am still happy to take my African Dance class. I promise that after some running and jumping, you will feel very comfortable and relaxed, which will make you more efficient in study!
5. Focus, focus, and focus. Don't procrastinate! Don't listen to the music and open the Facebook while you are studying. I know you have sat in front of your computer for 3 hours, but did you really study? It is not the amount of time you put in, but the quality of time that really matters!

Last but not least, you won't have a miserable life, because you have just read my strategies right?! :)
Good luck studying!

You don't have to get picked last for the team anymore!

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Intramural sports is a program organized by the University to give students an opportunity to participate in friendly competition in a good selection of sports that could be played individually, with a partner or with a team. Opportunities include intramural leagues, events, athletic leagues (more competitive) and golf leagues. The focus of this post will be on the less competitive intramural leagues.

If there is anything that has been a constant since my freshman year, it has been my participation on an intramural sports team. I always played football (as some may call it, "soccer") while I was back home so when I came to the U, it was nice to be able to continue my hobby by way of intramural sports. I know many students who are sports active and would like to be part of an easy going league. So my aim in this post is to give you a feel of what intramural sports entails and how you can get involved!

-Why intramural sports?

As I said earlier, if you've been an avid sportsman all your life, this is an easy way to find other people who are interested in playing too. Also this gives you an opportunity to try out new sports since intramurals are typically not competitive. You never know, it may turn out you're a pro at a new found sport! It is also a great way to socialize and meet new people. Personally, I've found that participating in intramurals weekly has provided a kind of study break for me when I've needed to take one to get refocused on school work. The best part of intramural sports by far is you get to stay fit!

-Who organizes it?

Intramural sports are organized by the intramural sports office within the recreational sports department. However each sport has a specific group of students and staff that handles it.
The intramural sports office is located at 1901 University Ave SE.

The office can also be contacted by email at or called at (612) 625-8094.

-Who plays intramural sports?

Basically anyone who has a working U-Card. Your U-Card, a form of student ID, is your key to all university services. If it works, it pretty much shows you are currently a student at the U enrolled in courses. So as long as you are a student and enrolled for the semester, you are eligible to play on an intramural team.

To clarify, intramural leagues are by no means professional leagues. Teams consist of normal students like you and I who are looking for a leisurely way to partake in some sport. This is not to say that teams are only filled with amateurs. Player expertise vary across board from those who have years of competitive experience to those who may be playing for the very first time. The point of intramurals is not competition but fun! So don't be shy with your skills (or lack thereof), this is a great way to start building them up.

-What sports are played?

Some sports include flag football, football (...fine "soccer" :'( ), bowling, basketball, ultimate frisbee (what in the world is that??), hockey, dodgeball and so on. You can find a full list of sports and their rules on the Intramural sports page.

-How much does it cost?

Usually the cost per team varies between $15 and $300**. $15 being for an individual sport like racquetball and $300 when you are using super cool facilities like Mariucci arena (where our school hockey team plays!!) for hockey.

The cost is shared among teammates. While playing soccer over the years, depending on how many players were on my team, I've always paid between $12 and $15 to play.

**The fees stated here are for Fall 2012 and do not include taxes. Fees for each sport can be found on the Intramural sports page as well.

-When are games played?

Typically leagues start after the first two weeks of school. Games are played once a week in the evenings between 6 pm and 11 pm on weekdays. Actually, in freshman year, majority of my indoor soccer games began at 12 am which was pretty late, I know, but those were some of the most exciting times from my time at the U.

On Saturdays and Sundays games could be played anytime of the day, spanning from morning till evening.

-How long do you compete for?

This depends on the sport and league to be played. For instance for a 7v7 TCF Bank stadium co-rec soccer league we have 8 teams and compete over 5 weeks. After that, if a team qualifies, they compete against other teams during play-offs that last one week. So this particular league lasts for about half a semester. Feel free to contact the intramural office to ask about the duration of a league you are interested in.

- Co-ed or Open?

This really depends on the particular sport being played but most sports offer the option of a co-ed or open team. Co-ed teams are required to have both male and female players in specific numbers while open teams could have any number of boys or girls on the team i.e. it could be an all-male team or an all-female team depending on your preferences.

-How do you register?

There are just a few steps to take in registering an intramural team:

-Get a team together!

Ask your friends, roommates, lab partners, student organization members, that random guy or gal you awkwardly make eye contact with in freshman writing... Ask ANYONE if they would like to start an intramural team with you or if they have an intramural team you could join.

If you don't have a full team by the time registration rolls around, don't worry, you are allowed to add players to your team roster right until play-offs.

If you can't find a team to join/start, most, if not all intramural sports have the free agents registration. This is for students who , for one reason or the other, cannot find a team. For this, you register yourself independently as a free agent and the intramural office assigns you to a team of free agents--very convenient right?!

-Fill out a registration form

Collect all your team members (or just your own for free agents) full names and ID numbers and fill out a team registration form that can be found on the intramural page when registration is around the corner.


Look on the intramural website to see the time and date of your sport's registration and make your way to the recreation centre to do so early.

I've had the experience of registering a team a few times and I have to say it's an interesting process. Soccer usually takes place at 7am in the morning BUT the line for registration is 20-people long by 5:30 am in the morning (yes before the crack of dawn -_-). When the recreaction centre opens at 5:45am to let us line up inside, the scene is best described by the picture below.

bar fight.jpg

Welcome to the jungle...Just kidding! We shuffle in in a civilized manner and conduct our business in an orderly fashion, eyes bloodshot and half asleep. Fun times, especially when you bring a friend to tag along!

And so I hope I've been able to shed some light on intramural sports at the U. If you still have questions about it feel free to ask! Goodluck!

Exploring U!

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Hey everyone!!!How is everyone doing? Some of you are probably busy doing homework and getting ready for your first midterms, but do not forget to check out and get involved in some student organizations. As many people may notice when they walk past the bridge recently, there are a lot of student organizations logos drawn on the wall. When I first saw them, I was shocked! I did no expect that there are so many and different kinds of organizations in the campus.

Some of you might wonder how I find a student group, what organization does and how I can go to their events. One way is to pay attention while you walking the bridge :) Another way is to look at the website. It basically has all the student groups and their basic information. You can also find our International Student Ambassador there as well!!!!:) Actually, a lot of student groups have their own Facebook groups, where they post all of their events.

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Here is one of my favorite student groups on the campus and also the first organization I joined. It is called Business Association of Multicultural Students (BAM). It is an organization, which opens to all major students. It has no limitations on anything. It provides a platform for our students to network with companies and also develop our leadership skills. It is a definitely great student group to started with. They have general meeting every Wednesdays and different companies come and give us an overview of their companies and some networking or interviewing skills. It is really helpful for us to actually network with those recruiters and talk with them once a week. Moreover, BAM offers a lot of leadership positions, like co-chairs and committee co-chairs.

I know it is hard to explain what an organization does and how it really looks like just through this blog. If you guys have any questions, please feel free to ask me or email me!! Thanks for reading my blog! Have a great week!!!

'Ceria' = ???


Apa kabar, semua??

I know that most of you are not familiar with this language. It is a direct translation of 'How are you, everyone' from Bahasa Indonesia. And yes, you guess it right! I'm from Indonesia, a tropical country with thousands of islands located at Southeast Asia.

My name is Ceria Chandra. I'm a junior at the University of Minnesota, studying Chemical Engineering. And you may start wondering the meaning of 'Ceria' now? (*drum roll background....*) That means 'Happy'! ;D I'm a warm and friendly as you ever imagine a person can be. I try to always be positive in everything I do and as much as I can, to also bring that positive atmosphere to people surrounding me. =)

photo (1).JPG

I transferred here last Fall 2011, and the life overall has been great so far! Although there are many challenges throughout my time here (not only academically but also socially), I'm still grateful because I also learn more from those challenges I had been through. The U indeed offers many resources to help the students, especially the international students. That becomes one of my reasons being an international ambassador, because I want to be a helpful resource for people that have the same problem and challenges like me.

I'm not an expert that can offer you a solution, because I'm yet a student. But, I have many useful tips and interesting stories to share with all of you. You would not ever imagine how amazing the stories of an international student's life can be!

*Feel free to leave the comment if you have any questions or opinions* ;D


Greetings from Thao


Hello everyone,

My name is Thao. I'm from Hanoi, Vietnam. For some of you who don't know, Vietnam is a beautiful country with 4000 years of history in the Southeast Asia. Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam. Here is the picture to give you an overview about my hometown:D


I'm a senior majoring in Communication studies, minoring in Environmental Science, Policy and Management at University of Minnesota.

I started studying abroad in the U.S. since I was 16. First, I was in Seattle, WA. Then I transferred to University of Minnesota to finish my degree. I love Seattle but I decided to move because of the bigger school and better opportunities that University of Minnesota offers to me.

I love challenges. Thus, I decided to be an international who dared to travel more than 20,000 miles for my education. ( I know a lot of you here will decide to do the same thing. Be proud of that!) And now, even when I am in the U.S., I never stop traveling around and moving to new places.

I'm also a dog lover and a food lover. I have a German shepherd named Bee Lee. So if you share the same interest, we should definitely hang out! The picture below was taken during last Spring break when Bee Lee and I traveled to Wisconsin:)

Please follow my blog and other international ambassadors to see our interesting lives and journeys as international students!

Feel free to leave any comment or questions for us. We are more than happy to get to know you!!!

Tons of love,
Thao Nguyen.


Hey everyone!!


Hey! My name is Tarun Nambiar, and I am a sophomore from Bangalore, a fairly big metropolitan city located in the south of India. Iam an Honors student majoring in Genetics, Cell Biology and Development (GCD). I love sports and spend a large part of my free time playing or watching sports, especially squash and soccer (I'm a huge Manchester United fan!!). I captain the Undergrad Squash Team at the University, and enjoy a great deal of time training and traveling for various tournaments held around the country with my teammates ! I love biology and this semester I was excited to receive a UROP fellowship, which is basically a scholarship given to undergraduate researchers. I consider myself incredibly lucky to take part in research so early in my career. Apart from academics and sports, I love hanging out with friends, partying, travelling to new places , trying out different cuisines etc and find 24 hrs too less for a day!. Follow my blog as I provide you with glimpses of various aspects of my exciting and rather unpredictable life here at the University! I will be covering various issues relating to my experiences as a foreigner to the U.S.A , an Honors student, a researcher and a sportsman . Please do not hesitate to ask questions as I'm really looking forward to hearing from you'll!!!squash pic.jpg

Hola, me llamo Amelia...


My name is Amelia and I am a citizen of the world, but if you want me to be a little more specific I am a Colombian born Guatemalan from Seattle who is totally obsessed with Francophone culture. How does that work? Well... I was born in Bogota, Colombia and soon after moved to Guatemala City where I lived until I turned 19 and moved to Seattle to study music and journalism.
Once in Seattle I loved my newly acquired independence and all the things I learned and the friends I made to the point that I now actually identify as a Seattlelite. I made such an amazing network of friends and people I could count on, went all over the city for adventures, concerts, cafés an parties that I can actually say I know Seattle better than most Seattlelites, therefore I am a Seattlelite.
However I was looking for a big University because of all the programs and opportunities this type of school can offer, so I transferred here to finish my vocal music degree and double major in cultural anthropology. Plus my parents had both studied here and I already knew their friends so I wouldn't be completely by myself again.
I was also looking to go incognito for a while because my social life was a little distracting for me back in Seattle, and found that the U of M is just perfect for that. It is such a huge school! However I wanted to meet new people in this "jungle" and decided to apply to be an ambassador to meet other international student and share my experience which has been for the most part amazing.
Besides obviously enjoying travel, I love reading and watching French films. I studied in France for a quarter in High School and ever since I have been interested in studying abroad, language pedagogy, and cultural exchanges. I have tons of interests which I won't be able to list on one blog entry so I invite you to keep reading me and my fellow ambassadors.Me!

Ni hao from Helena!

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Hello everyone!!!

My name is Helena Wang and I am from Nanjing, which is in the east part of China and north of Shanghai. I am a sophomore in Carlson School of Management. My major is Accounting, because I really enjoy dealing with numbers :) I love traveling, watching movies, outdoor sports, shopping and reading books. My favorite author is Jane Austin. Two things that I want to do before I die are that go skydiving and backpacking to travel.

I was an exchanged student in Bruce, Wisconsin for my junior year in high school. It was my first time being away from home for ten months and it was definitely a challenge for me. Luckily, my host family is really nice and I spent my first Thanksgiving with them. I joined volleyball, wrestling cheerleading and track team. That year is such a great and memorable experience.

Then I went back to China to finish my high school and later I ended up here for college. As soon as I got into the campus, I felt it was such a huge campus and I took almost two weeks figuring out all the directions. I really love getting involved with different student groups or organizations. I love meeting with different people from different backgrounds. That is why I really like our university. It is such a diverse university and it has a lot of great opportunities for students. Personally, I really want to do something for our international students and contribute to our international community. That is why I want to become an international student ambassador. There are still a lot of things that I really want to talk about, but I will save them for my following blogs. I would like to invite you guys to read mine and please feel free to comments or ask questions! :)

Tony isn't a panda

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Hello everyone, my name is zhuo cheng, but people call me Tony because it's easier to remember. I'm an international student ambassador. I'm from China, specifically I'm from Chengdu city, Szechuan Province. People may not familar with the name of my city, but I guess if I say Panda, a black and white cute bear should pops out from their minds. Chengdu is the hometown of pandas, so is mine. And also, it is a very old city, for example the name hasn't change since the city's established, which is a rare phenomenon in China. By saying too much about my hometown, I should tell more about myself. Although I'm from the panda's hometown, I don't really look like a panda or a bear as my title suggested, even though some of my friends do name me panda or bear because I'm kind of overweighted.
I major in Landscape Design and Planning in the U, I'm a junior but brand new to the landscape program because I changed my major from journalism to landscape design and planning.

Folks, Kaiwen comes to say hi!


Greetings folks,

This is Kaiwen, an international student from Shandong (There are a lot of students from Shandong in this university:D) China majoring in Agricultural & Food Business Management with an emphasis in Marketing.

My name is the Chinese translation of the English name "Kevin". When I started to learn English in China, I used "Kevin" as my English name for more than ten years. Then one day I was preparing my IELTS speaking exam, I told my foreign language teacher that my name is "Kevin", he was surprised and asked me: Kevin? A girl? Then he later explained to me that I can't use a boy's name if I am a girl because people might take it wrong. So I just stopped using this name and never had any English name. And the only "Kevin" that is female that I knew later is a female bird in the Disney cartoon "Up", its name is "Kevin".

The reason that I choose to be a Chinese International Student Ambassador is that, I really want to help more students with my experience here at the university. I want to share my stories with you about my life at the university or, broadly speaking, within the United States, to help you gain a better understanding of how's everything looks like, feels like from an international student's perspective!

The university is a place that always remains to be discovered. Remember to keep an eye on it and you will be surprised by its amazing beauty of diversity!

A Girl, a Goat and an Engineering Dream.


Hi, my name is Temilola. I'm a 4th year student at the U of M, majoring in Chemical Engineering. I come from Esa-Odo Nigeria but spent the better part of my life living between Maiduguri in the north, Port-Harcourt in the South and Paris, France for 2 years.

A fun story from my country, this was actually on the news... A vigilante group in Ilorin, central Nigeria chased a car thief. Allegedly, on cornering the thief, he turned into a goat. The goat was apprehended, taken to the local police station and locked up. I still remember when the story was aired on NTA, our local news channel. You can find a short form of the story at the BBC website.

One of the reasons I chose to be an ambassador was to be able to share quirky stories like this and tell people about Nigeria. More importantly, I remember my first days on campus, feeling a bit out of my element and not knowing much about the University as a whole. What I needed was a group like the International Student Ambassador to take the edge off stepping into the unknown. I am an ambassador because I get to help students who might be in the same position as I was back then.

So here's to an exciting start to your college years. Welcome to the U of M Twin Cities!!!


An International Perspective

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Hi guys!

How's everything? The semester came to an end...for those of you who know the drill finals must be stressing, but if you keep your head up and running you will do just fine.
I hope this year has been a great experience for those of you who are gophers and for the prospective students, the U of M is a great place to learn and grow...As part of a project I put together a video with some cool pictures... I hope you enjoyed reading my posts and that you enjoy this short clip...

The "U", An International Perspective

Sincerely thanks!


Rapson Hall-College of Design

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Hello my dear friends,

I hope everyone's doing well. It is the end of semester, and I know you are all busy with finals and projects. However, I'm sure you've got some time to check out this video that I've made for you. I've shown you some photos from Ralph Rapson Hall, the College of Design building. I hope it gives you an overall idea about Rapson Hall and how the College of Design works.

Ambassador Program Movie Project- April 27,2012.m4v

Good luck with finals!

Seol Video Project: Job Experience

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Thumbnail image for JobSearchNewspaper.jpg

Hi everyone!
The year is ending really soon.
I finally finished the ISA video project.
My video will talk about the job experience I had.
I hope my video can help many other students who are looking for job information.
Good luck!

A letter for my friend :)

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Dear, My beloved friend.

I know you are really scared now, because I was very scared at first too. I still remember the anxiety I felt at the Vancouver airport while waiting plane to transfer to Alberta. I was so tensed when I said hello to my host family for the first time. You will face a lot of difficulties you never expected when you are in your home country. Even, I was so nervous when I ordered coffee at the Starbucks for the first time. I wanted to order "white caramel macchiato" but because they couldn't understand my pronunciation I ended up order "just hot coffee please."

I was so embarrassed and upset about myself but, please my friend, don't be afraid. I want you to more brave and confident about yourself first. You are an international student and I know we are so proud of it. Just remember, you are a foreigner who wants to "learn" English. You don't have to be as perfect as like a native speaker of English. When you learn something, especially when you try to learn languages, making mistakes is so natural and important process. Don't be shy. If you are shy, you are just a nonnative speaker of English who are literally "at" the land of America. Don't forget why you are there.

Last thing, I want you to remember that you should learn how to love yourself. Actually, I'm still struggling with that too. Language is not like a math. What you know doesn't mean what you can do. People might treat you like an idiot just because you cannot speak English well, even though it is not true. Whenever I should face with the fact that I cannot be a native speaker, I try to love myself more. Please don't kick yourself for not being fluent in English. You will eventually be so much better.

I hope you feel better after reading this :)

Michelle Hyoeun Chun

Stressed = Desserts

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Hi all!
I totally did not realize how fast the time went by.
I thought today was still Friday... How's everybody doing?
I am sure you all are way more busier than I am.
The question is how do you manage your stress when you are stressed out.
Today I am going to write how I manage my stress.

retro_music_dryicons_600.jpg Listening music has been always my favorite thing to do when I am stressed out. I like to listen all kinds of musics. My mom is a piano professor, and my family except my dad (he is actually a really good singer, instead) play instruments (I play violin) so music has been very important in my life. Here are some recommendations either if you like to listen various kinds of musics.

- Borodin Polovtsian dances
- G. Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue
- Debussy Clair de lune
- Dvorak Cello Concerto in b minor Op. 104

House music groups:
- Romantic couch (Korea)
- Capsules (Japan)

Some Asian singers/ groups:
- Leessang (Korea)
- 2PM (Korea)
- 2AM (Korea)
- 王力宏; Leehom Wang (Taiwan)
-周杰倫 Jay Chou (Taiwan)
- 175R (Japan)
- Misia (Japan)

...and so on Ikue Asazaki, Mr. Children, Orange Range, Radwimps, Spitz, and Shinna Ringo (All Japan).

Instrumental & Mics:
- Nujabes (Japan)
- Bajofondo (Argentina and Uruguay)
- Pink Martini
- Quasimode (Japan)
- Paprika OST

I am sure you all will find some good musics from my recommendations list.
I strongly recommend Nujabes and Pink Martini musics if you like instrumental musics or like to listen some kinds of musics that can calm you down.
If you like Jazz musics, Quasimode is a good group too.

As I mentioned, I like to listen music when I am stressed out. How about all of you?
When you feel like you are being stressed out, remember stressed can be sweet things like desserts if you appreciate them (Stressed and desserts are palindrome).


City of Lakes

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Hey all,

I hope you're all doing well with your studies and are enjoying a wonderful spring time :-)
Minneapolis is so warm and great this spring unlike the previous years that was cold and snowy at this time of the year. Here is how Minneapolis looked last year around this time compared to this year:

Minnesota 2012vs2011.jpg

Since we're experiencing such a pleasing weather, everyone longs to go for a walk or an outdoor picnic with friends and enjoy the freshness of the springtime breezes.
I love two seasons of Minneapolis, the fall and the spring. Minneapolis has a truly beautiful nature at these times of the year.
As you might know, Minnesota is known as the land of ten thousand lakes, so Minneapolis means the "City of Lakes".
Therefore, I think now it is a good time of the year to explore and enjoy the lakes of Minneapolis.
Lake Calhoun, Cedar Lake, Lake Harriet, and Lake of the Isles are four beautiful lakes in the district of "Chain of Lakes" in Minneapolis.

Lake Calhoun is in uptown and from some point around the lake you can have a view of the downtown's skyscrapers.

Lake Calhoun.jpg

Cedar Lake is north of Lake Calhoun and west of Lake of the Isles and is on the west side of Minneapolis.

Cedar Lake.jpg

Lake Harriet is south of Lake Calhoun on the southwest side of Minneapolis. Lake Harriet is also a beautiful lake that has the Minneapolis skyline in its background.

Lake Harriet.jpg

Finally, Lake of the Isles is on the southwest of downtown connected to Lake Calhoun and Cedar Lake.

Lake of the Isles.jpg

So, now that you know about these beautiful lakes of Minneapolis, you should visit them sometime and enjoy the beautiful nature of our city.

I wish you a wonderful springtime!


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Hello Everyone,

Happy Spring Break!! I know we're all so excited about the spring break, and we've all got a lot of plans for the upcoming week. I hope we all get some rest, have some fun, and do some homework as well! I, personally, have tons of homework to do, that are due right after the spring break.

Anyways, today I want to tell you a little bit about Norooz .
Have you ever heard of this term? Norooz is a Persian (Farsi) word meaning "New Day" (no= new and rooz= day). Norooz is the name of our New Year, which starts on the first day of spring. It is usually on March 20 or 21st. Norooz is our most important holiday and we celebrate it for thirteen days including the first day of spring. During this time we visit the elders of the family and have many gatherings, with a lot of food and gifts for kids. On the thirteenth day we picnic outdoors.

At the moment of Norooz, which happens at a different hour year to year, families gather around a table with the Haftseen on the table. Haftseen is the most important element of Norooz, and it stands for "the Seven S". We have seven items on this table that start with the letter "S", and each of them has a symbolic meaning. The Haftseen are:

Sabzeh: wheat growing in a dish
Somagh: sumac berries
Serkeh: vinegar
Sib: apple
Sir: garlic
Samanoo: a sweet pudding made from wheat germ
Senjed: dried fruit of oleaster tree

But we also include some other things such as:

The Holly Quraan
Sonbol: Hyacinth plant
Sekkeh: coin
Decorated eggs
Two live red fish
Lit candles

This is how a Haftseen would look like:

Haftseen 4.jpg

and here are some other variations of Haftseen:

Haftsee 2.jpg

Collored eggs for haftseen.jpg


So, now you know how excited I am, since it is the spring break, and even more importantly, it is our New Year!
Yaaaaaaaaaay I am so happy these days :-)

Have a great spring break everyone!

Welcome Spring Break!

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Hi all!
The spring break finally has begun, and I am here in Niles, Illinois.
I finished my last midterm on Thursday night, and on very early morning of Friday I took a greyhound bus to come down here. I have been feeling not so good, so this time I came to enjoy Korea's hot sauna & spa.

I know everybody has been waiting to have a spring break, and I also know that once your exams are all taken care of you all want to just have fun until the spring break is over.
I, here, too wanted to just enjoy spring break as it comes naturally. Actually this semester has been so stressful, all I wanted during spring break was sleeping and do nothing.
However, soon I realized how spring break is important to students like me.

1. During spring break you can catch up what you've missed during semester.
2. You can still work (International undergraduate students can only work up to 20 hours per week, but during spring break you can work up to 40 hours per week depends on where you work), and save money for future!
3. If you do not have to catch up study (lucky you!), you can start preparing exams. Some of the exams and projects are due right after spring break is over.
4. You can use this valuable time to do some great volunteer!

Other than what I already wrote, I am sure there are millions of things you can do in order to use the time wisely. I am not saying don't take a break during spring break, but find your own balance so after break you won't feel overwhelmed. And break is quite long to just sleep and party. Use your time wisely, then you will appreciate spring break even more.

Hope everybody enjoys break and talk to later.


My Daily life as an International Student.

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Today I want to write about my daily life as an international student.

I am about the graduate after this semester, and it really makes me think about my life here in U.S.

Truly, I will miss Minnesota a lot. A LOT

Usually, I woke up at 6:10 or 6:20 a.m. Trust me, I'm not an early bird type, but I'm used to it after I came here. It is because I'm living off campus housing so if I have a morning class (the earliest class starts from 8:00) and my work schedule (also starts at 8:00 a.m.), I really need to get prepared at last 40 minutes before. Don't worry. I'm living quite far from the campus. Usually students live much closer than me or they ride a bicycle or car. Campus connectors are another great transportation system to make your life easier.

At first, commuting to campus was one of the hardest things that I needed to adjust myself. Also, when I was in Korea, I'm from the big city where transportation systems were much convenient. Bus and subway stops were everywhere, and if I was late, I could just waive my hand to Taxi and usually got one within few minutes. So, it was hard for me to wake up and walk to school (yes, sometimes in snowy, slippery, dark morning of Minnesota winter)

However, I got used to my new daily life soon and I found out walking to school in morning is actually very fresh and healthy. Also, coffee really helps. (You can find many coffee shops on campus too!)

After eating lunch, I have all the classes. If you are worrying about having lunch, there are so many places you can get your lunch. However, if you eat outside a lot, it cost you lots of money too. This is why I usually pack my lunch box.

Minnesota has many cultural grocery stores, so you don't need to worry about it too much. Many microwaves are available on campus, so you can enjoy your lunch warm and fresh!

One thing that took me for a while to adjust was I needed to eat my lunch alone. I couldn't imagine myself eating alone in public before I came here. However, I became more independent and found out it is quite hard to find a friend who has exactly same schedule with you.

The earliest time that I finish my class is 2:00 p.m., but the latest evening class is done at 8:10 p.m. Last year, I intentionally had a schedule for only three days for school per week. Registering classes is really up to you unless your department has specific rules. I saw many students designed their schedule in the most convenient way for themselves.

I usually take 15 ~ 18 credits. When I was in Korea, I usually took over 24 credits every semester and it was totally fine with me. However, since university system is quite different, 18 credits are actually quite a load.

I understand some of students want to take as many as credits, but please talk to your academic adviser about your credit load. (Especially, if you are a first year student!) Once, I took 21 credits and I ended up dropping some classes at the middle of my semester.

After my classes are all done, I usually stay on campus for studying and doing my assignments because I feel lazy when I'm at home. There are tons of places you can study on campus and most of places on campus have university WIFI. If you have a project group or study group, this is time when the students usually meet up.

Usually, I try to finish my assignment at least a day in advance so I do my homework at night. Especially, if you need some writing support from writing center, you may want to ready your writing "at least" a day before the due date.
(When you have your syllabus at the beginning of the semester, mark all the due dates and make an appointment with writing center in advance if you need.)

Also, if you have reading assignment, please do not procrastinate. It will be bigger and bigger so by the time you need to take a test, it may be beyond your ability. (THAT happened to me before)

So, this is how my just "normal" day looks like.
However, you will be surprised how many "unexpected" and "unplanned" things happened to your life at the University of Minnesota.
At first, you may be scared or puzzled. However, you will soon realize, those are really valuable and amazing experiences.

Good luck, my friends!

Employment Options for International Students.

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Hey there! Lately, I have been receiving queries from my international friends about various employment options available at the U. So, I thought that this would be an awesome platform to discuss about few of these opportunities offered by the International Student and Scholar Services, exclusively for the international students.

Culture Corps: This program lets students develop a project (e.g. language teaching, dancing, music or culture sharing) to share their culture and tradition with the campus community. The amount of stipend you receive depends upon the depth of the project. To get more info about application process and project ideas, you can visit this link!

Small World Coffee Hour: This program lets students, staff and faculty enjoy cultures and traditions from around the world. If you are passionate about planning and organizing events, then you are a good fit for this position. As a member, you'll primarily be involved in planning, shopping, publicity and hosting culturally-based events. In return for your hard work and participation, you get a stipend of $1000 for every semester.

International Buddy Program:
This is the most time- and energy-consuming program out of all three. This program pairs up a current student mentor with a new international student mentee, in which the mentor assists their new buddy to smoothen their transition to the US. The mentors and mentees stay in regular contact with each other throughout the year and participate in various events and activities. For more information about application and stipend, you can contact ISSS.

Again, if you have queries about any of these programs, feel free to contact ISSS or me. I hope that these opportunities help you ease up your financial burden. :)

University of Minnesota Job & Internship Fair!

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Hello everyone,

Today I wanted to write about Career Fair that I went last week.

University of Minnesota holds "Job and Internship Fair" every year for the students. It is the biggest student career fair in Minnesota! More than 200 organizations will be there recruiting for hundreds of jobs and internships. The Job and Internship Fair is open to all U of M undergraduates, graduate students, and recent alumni.

This is a great opportunity not only to navigate your job options, meet with the employers, ask questions that you prepared, but also to practice your interview skills
One thing I noticed was this is a place you can actually "interact" with the companies in person. In fact, there are interview rooms were prepared, so if you scheduled an interview session, you can have interview with (possibly) your future employer!

There are few things that you may want to prepare

-Bring your student ID to get in.
-Bring copies of your most updated resume
-Dress professionally
(Actually, I was very surprised how this event expected me to be very professional)
•Women: Professional-looking dress, dress suit, or pantsuit; clean and comfortable shoes
•Men: Suit or jacket; shirt and tie; clean and comfortable shoes

-Check Parking info and directions (And free shuttle will be offed by UofM)
-A free coat check will be available.

First thing, you need to register. This year, I paid 10$ for pre-registered.

Second, Update your resume and take copies with you. For advice about creating a resume, see this Resume Guide, or look for more info on your college career site.

Third, Find out which companies will be at the Fair. Do some preliminary research so you can target a few (3 to 5) companies that truly interest you. This is very important for opening a conversation with the company.

Find out the company's size, general history, product(s), target market(s), and competitors. Good sources of information for that include:

•The company's Web site and annual report (often found online)
•Libraries. Use your public library, or business libraries such as the University of Minnesota Business Reference Library and St. Paul's James J. Hill Reference Library.
•Career Centers: Try your campus career services office or your local community's career center, where available.

These are the common questions you can ask for general information

•What types of career opportunities does your organization offer?
•What majors does your organization typically hire?
•What are the job responsibilities for that type of position?
•What are the most important qualities or characteristics you look for in hiring for that position?
•What are the most important skills necessary to do the job?
•What recommendations would you make for someone who would like to enter that field?
•Are you aware of related occupations that I would be qualified for with the background/major that I have or am planning to pursue?
•How did you get into the organization/career field? What is your background? How does it relate to the position?
•What are typical first-year assignments?
•Could I set up a time to visit you at your workplace to talk more about what you do?
•Do you know someone in your organization who does...?
•Do you have internship or summer job opportunities for someone in my major?
•Do you know of other contacts that might be helpful to me?
•May I contact you if I need more information?

Fourth, prepare a short script (just 2 or 3 lines) to introduce yourself with. Practice it and a firm handshake. In your script, try to include why you're interested in that company and the kind of position you're seeking.
I know, in some culture, having a "firm and confident" hand shaking is not very common, so be prepared :)

Lastly, be sure to follow up with the organization after the Fair

•Keep notes on your conversations and how you said you would follow up.
•If no business card is available, ask if the recruiter can be reached at the telephone number or address on literature. Information at the Fair may be more current than materials found in a library or career center.
•Send thank-you letters immediately - within two days if possible.
•If contacting by letter, refer to the date and location of the Fair, and jog the recruiter's memory of you. Mention any unique points you discussed so the employer will remember you.
•Any important information should be restated and emphasized.
•Reiterate your qualifications and include any information you neglected to mention.
•Proofread your letter and let someone else look it over.
•You may want to include a copy of your resume.

Are you ready to be meeting your future job opportunities? Be confident and Positive, that is the last key!

Good luck!



Hi Everyone!

How's everything so far? We're only two weeks away from the Spring Break :-) isn't that so exciting?! I guess it's time to start planning for something fun.

Yesterday, the Ambassadors were holding a contact table at Coffman Union, which is basically like an information desk for the current international students. As we were talking with Michelle and Ricardo, I learned something interesting that I want to share with you today.


As you might know, in the U.S and mostly Western culture it is usual for the children to leave their families at the age of 18, when they go to college and university. As a result, they should work and earn money. They start working even before they go to college; perhaps as early as age 15. Thus, I always find Americans with so many years of job experience.
This is very different from Iranian culture. We don't leave our families, as long as we go to a college that is in the same city as our parents; and we do not work as long as we live with our families. Therefore, we are not as independent and experienced as Americans with our age.

This is a significant difference between Iranian and American culture. I always pay attention to these differences, and they are all interesting to me. But, I was even more interested yesterday, when Michelle and Ricardo told me that this is true in their countries as well. I was so fascinated, as I always thought even two neighbor countries do not have the same culture, but yesterday I learned that even three countries far apart from each other and from three different parts of the world may have some similarities in their cultures. I wonder how cultural practices could travel through time and space. That is true about food, art, and architecture of countries as well. So now, I try to look for similarities more than the differences between cultures.
And I wish you all a happy weekend!

CLA Career Center

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Hi all!
I thought the winter ended, but I guess not. Outside became colder and snow is coming.

Today I am talking about CLA Career Center.
Recently, I applied a summer internship to London through learning abroad center. The program tuition is
still high, so I also applied some scholarships too through CAPA. After I applied the program, I realized I have to do some work on cover letter and resume. I never done those before, so I needed some help.
I knew CLA Career Center would help me out. So I visited it and got some help.
They open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m, and location is very convenient; 411 STSS (Science Teaching and Student Services) building. They helped me with my resume and cover letter.
Now I need to wait for the results! Hope I get scholarships and right internship program.

Anybody who are degree-seeking students enrolled in the College of Liberal Arts, Twin Cities can get help, and they can help recent CLA alumni up to one year after their graduation. They are also the pre-law advising office for all students who attend the U of M, Twin Cities.

I hope anybody who seeks for help in CLA Career Center would get right help!
See you next time and wish my luck~!

Bharat- The Indians!!


Hey!!! I hope that busy school work isn't taking a toll on your social life. And if it is, take a deep breath.. everything will be alright! After all, hard work always pays off. :)

This blog post is for all of you who are passionate about celebrating India's rich culture. Bharat- The Indians is a student organization at University of Minnesota that fosters awareness about India, and its culture and tradition. Being a member of this group myself, we have organized several events that feature traditional dance and singing performances, activities, games and FREE INDIAN FOOD!

Here are some pictures from our events.

Republic Day Celebration:



Holi Celebration:






India's Culture Day with MISA:

culture day1.jpg

culture day2.jpg

To keep yourself updated about our upcoming events you can either join us at Bharat's facebook page, send us an email on or contact me!

I hope you join us in our celebration of India's culture. :)

Still Undecided?!

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Are you still not sure which major would be the best choice for you?
Are you still exploring majors?

If that is your concern, let me show you a glimpse of Architecture here at the U.
College of Design offers three different programs for architecture. You can either pursue the B.A program, the B.D.A. program, or the B.S. program. At your freshman year you are considered as a pre-architecture student, and by the end of the spring semester you should apply for the B.A or B.D.A programs. If you get admitted to the B.D.A program, you have the option to apply for the B.S by the end of the second year. The B.D.A and B.S. programs are very similar, except that you should take 9 extra credits if you pursue the B.S. degree, and that B.D.A offers workshops, while B.S. offers studios that work on long term projects. I am currently enrolled in the B.D.A program, and I yet have to decide whether I want to pursue the B.S. program or not. So, in that regard I have the same problem as you do ;-)

This was an overall explanation about the Architecture program at the University of Minnesota. Now let me tell you a little bit about the major itself.

Do you consider yourself a creative person?
Creativity is what you need to have, in order to be a successful designer. Our projects are all about creativity. The professors want you to think out of the box! That is, you have the opportunity to go crazy, but unlike what you expected you will be admired for what you've done! Isn't that so exciting?!
They give you instructions, but you are allowed to "BREAK THE RULES", as long as you have a good and reasonable explanation for what you've done. This is what I hear over and over again from my TAs at the reviews. By the way, just in case you don't know, a review is the session that you present you project and be critiqued for what you've done.
So, in my opinion, if you find yourself a rule follower, you might not like this major. As, I think rules prevent you from being creative. I believe designers will eventually reach a point that will need to break the rules, or perhaps they don't even have any instructions to follow. Therefore, you need to be capable of making design decisions on your own.

At the end, if you think you are a creative person, and perhaps a rule breaker that has the ability to independently make reasonable and creative design decisions, then architecture is probably the right fit for you.

Awesome places where I visited.

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Hi all!
We survived the long winter break, and I am back to Minneapolis from a long trip.
I went to Las Vegas, Los Angeles , and San Francisco.
I had a great time with my dear friend, Meng, and her parents.
I somehow missed here in Minneapolis very much. Now I am back, I am so busy with
my new semester schedule. However, time to time when I am tired I'd like to re-visit
places that I went before. Those places were so awesome, I'd like to share three places today.

1. During the short autumn, we have a gorgeous weather and outside feels so nice.
Even though now it is too cold to go there, time to time during nice weather day I'd like to go 'wilde roast cafe' at riverplace to enjoy their gelato (Italian ver. Ice Cream) . Their gelato are really good to rid of your too-much-help stresses, and they have happy hour Mon-Fri 3:3-6:30 for half-priced tap beer, wine by the glass, and all appetizers! YUM!

2. Also, have you been to 'big bowl' restaurant?
It is located in Rosedale shopping center in Roseville. If you like spicy foods or fusion Asian foods, you will LOVE there! Also, after you finish your dinner with your friends, you can walk around the shopping center. It is definitely smaller than MOA , but they have various good shopping stores, including A&F, Apple, American Eagles, Hollister, etc...

3. Now you all heard about places where you can eat, I am introducing 'Walker art museum' and 'Minneapolis Sculpture Garden'. The garden is located next to museum. It is part of Walker art museum. They have cherry spoon!!! (actually the artwork name is Spoonbridge and Cherry, 1985-1988). Anyway, this is a place where I'd love to go once a while when I have too many thoughts to process. During spring, summer, and autumn, it is awesome to walk around the garden. Museum itself also have many artworks including special exhibitions. They have a conservatory too. Check out these places~! The garden admission is free, and they open daily, 6 am-12 midnight. Cowles Conservatory admission is also free. And they open Tuesday-Sunday, 10 am-5 pm; closed Monday. You can review Walker art museum visit info by visiting their website. These places are worthwhile to visit.

Today is really cold!!! Take care all!
And see you next time~ > <

Time and Stress Management :o

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Hey there guys!!

Stress?......I know that as a college student, time management becomes a big concern, homework, projects and work can completely consume your time and Where does my social life go?. This does not have to be the case! All you need is to learn how to synchronize school with fun by balancing your schoolwork for the schooldays and try and get as much done as possible so you can enjoy your weekends... Personally at first I had no clue how to do this (and not so much now) but I always try to stick with this plan and enjoy the good days of a college life. Because once you are done you have to face REAL LIFE! And in my case it can be scary: 0. Anyway, whenever I can find some time to relax and enjoy , I like to go out with friends, try new places, go to concerts and try NEW FOOD! Minneapolis is a very Multicultural place and has a little of everything for everyone....They even have Mexican food (not the best) but it gets a little close =). My point is, don't get to overwhelmed with what school can appear to be, there is always a way to take advantage of both lives and LEARN TO BALANCE and you will have both fun and good grades!!!

In case you are having a panic attack because of this school mess try out some of the meditation classes offered at the can be the chillest person ever!!

Have a good one


My "first time" experiences

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Hello People! I'd like to share my "first time" experiences after I came to University of Minnesota.
For some people, it may be a small thing, but it was a definitely new eye-opening experiences for me!

1. New food

I LOVED TRYING NEW FOOD. For example, Pho is Vietnamese rice noodle. Although I saw many rice-noodle places in South Korea, I've never tried before I came to Minnesota. When I was in Korea, I was very conservative about the culture food and trying new food. However, after I came here -and also, I was sick and tired of dorm food- I started trying new type of foods. Now, Pho is one of my favorite foods!

2. Using a dryer for my laundry

Ok, I should be honest about this. My mother did most of laundries when I was in Korea and she hanged the clothes to dry them. However, if you do the same thing in Minnesota, your clothes will either be all frozen or take forever to dry. I used "dryer machine" for the laundry and I loved how it dries so perfectly. However, you should be careful because it will make your clothes shrink.

3. Waving to the professors and Gaze people in their eyes.

This is one thing I really struggled. In Korea, we bow to the people when...
1. The person is older than you. 2. The person has socially higher rank than you. 3. First time you meet the person 4. Or, whoever you respect.
So, it was very hard for me to just waive at my professors (and I was even asked to call their first name!)

Also, I was from the culture that "looking straight in the eyes can be considered as a rude behavior" However, people in here think that is the right way of communication. If you keep on looking at somewhere else, they think you are distracted rather than having a conversation. It took me for a while to learn how to look into other people's eyes. (It was so awkward!!)

My digital story


Hello My friends!

Since this is new year, I was looking back of my study abroad experiences at the University of Minnesota.
If you are an international student, sooner or later, you may go through transition period during your study abroad.
It doesn't necessarily imply anything good or bad, but this is time you need to overcome and adjust yourself with the new culture that you faced.
So, I made a short digital story about myself!
Hope it will help you to understand my transition at the University of Minnesota

Wait, what is a digital story?

Digital Storytelling is the practice of using computer-based tools to tell stories. As with traditional storytelling, most digital stories focus on a specific topic and contain a particular point of view. However, as the name implies, digital stories usually contain some mixture of computer-based images, text, recorded audio narration, video clips and/or music

In short, this is a new way of sharing one's own story by using the digital technologies :)

Actually, I made this for one of my class project assignments.
It may look like something requires a lot of difficult technical skills.
Well.. yes it kinda does. BUT ! Don't be scared!
University of Minnesota has great resources and the staffs who can help you.
By the way, If you confront any difficulties, it is always helpful to check which resources University can offer!

First, I made an appointment with one of the staff who can give me technical helps at Walter library. Every libraries of U of M have media consultant.
The Walter/Wilson SMART Learning Commons does have iMovie, Final Cut Pro X, and Screenflow on the Macs and Adobe Premier Elements and an older version of Windows Movie Maker for the PC.

Also, as a class, we (me, my classmates, and the professor) planned every step by step, together and the end of the class we presented own digital stories' in front of the class.
It was one of the greatest moments of my university life!
We shared a big part of each other's lives through this project.

I hope you can enjoy mine too!

Please Click to Watch Michelle's Digital Story


• The Writing Center
• Free Camera Rentals
• Examples of Digital Stories (These show you what a digital media story is but the content is different that you have to include in your story.)

Siempre haz más! (always do more)

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Que pasa my firends!

One of the most concerning things when you arrive to the U.S. is towards a more social aspect. How to make friends?, How do I meet people? And this is completely understandable, since part of the whole college experience is to meet people, make friends and succeed in both the classroom and social environment. When I first arrived to Minnesota I figured out that the best way to meet people and make friends is to join extra-curricular activities. By joining a club or a team of some sort you can start a more developed career and collegiate experience. In my experience I had some friends when I arrived to college since I was an exchange student in high school in the beautiful and neighbor city of Saint Paul. So it was a little bit of an advantage to already know people and have acquaintances through them. But in the end I figured out that for a complete scholar experience I had to get involved in school activities. So first I tried joining the Minnesota soccer club. There I met some of my best friends now even though in the end I realized I did not have time for practices because of the demanding course load in my major. But I still kept in touch with some of the players there.

Here's a link for a list of all the clubs you can join SUA

Then I found out I wanted to become more involved with something that had to do more with my major, to gain a more enriched technical experience and to meet people interested in engineering as well. So I found and joined an engineering student group called "Innovative Engineers", group which main focus is the creation and research of renewable energy. There are several projects involved in the group, projects like: The 1 kW wind turbine, hydro power and wave energy.... And these projects are directed towards communities without resources; the first wind turbine was placed in the community of "La Hermita" close to Managua, Nicaragua (and is working!!!). These types of projects can come as extremely appealing if you are interested in the actual application of science and engineering.

Currently I am working outside classes in a renewable energy project: An electric vehicle conversion!!! Which I got involved into with a friend from my classes and it is going amazing so far!! Check out some pics! (to be posted)

So my advice is to never be too shy to do anything, GET OUT THERE! YOU CAN NEVER BE TOO TALKATIVE (at least in my opinion haha)...I know it can come as a challenge to talk to new people especially not in your native language!!!! In my experience it took me some time to do so, but in the end I came to overcome it and just be social. If you find yourself either at a classroom or a social gathering just try to be confident and get involved you have nothing to lose by trying, Minnesnowwwtans are fairly nice, jk, super nice and always try to be helpful!


ESL program at the University of Minnesota!

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English Literature major. I'm pretty sure it is not a common major to have among the international student. I got a lot of question regarding English.
"How could you survive?"

My answer is, "I would not, if I didn't prepare myself."
English skills are necessary to survive in American college as an international student regardless of their major.

There are few tips for the students who need to improve their English skills through MELP program at the University of Minnesota

University of Minnesota has ESL program call "MELP" (Minnesota English Language Program).
For more than 40 years, the University of Minnesota has led the way in ESL and TESL training. Students have access to a wealth of academic resources, exceptional faculty, cutting-edge technology, and other facilities at one of the largest research universities in the United States.

MELP offers three distinct services:

Academic English Program - Credit classes for students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate degree programs who are seeking to improve their English language skills while taking other academic course work.

Intensive English Program - A program designed for students who need to improve their English skills in preparation for study at a University or college, and for those who wish to prepare for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Short-term Learning - Customizable training for groups of 12 or more non-native English speakers.

TOEFL score preparation course

Professional English Course

As an international student, I strongly recommend taking ESL classes both for prospective students and current students who need extra English skills.

1. It will help you to improve not only your basic English skills but also essential academic English skills for university student.

- you may not have any problem to just "live" and "communicate" in your daily life. For being a successful college student, however, you may need extra academic skills!

2. It will help you to prepare yourself

-Jumping into hard major classes can be a lot for most of the students !
Lets take a step by step with MELP Program!
In my case, it help me to adjust myself into University life.

3. You can earn credits though ESL classes as well

- A lot of current international students do not know you ESL classes are also counted as credits!

4. You can meet a lot of friends!

- This is your chance to meet many international students just like you!

If you have any question, please contact MELP at

Winter Life!

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Hey Everyone,

Yay!! We are only two more weeks away from winter break :-)
Isn't that so exciting? Though thinking about finals ruins the fun!
Now that winter break is not too far, I want to suggest some strategies to deal with the cold weather of Minneapolis and some ways to have fun as much as possible:

1. Escape from Minnesota!
You can always leave Minnesota and have a trip to the other states of the U.S. Not all states are as cold as here. So you can go to California or Texas to enjoy some warm weather and have fun with friends.

Sanfrancisco. va jadeye 1 dar california (6).JPG

2. Enjoy the winter!

Yes! There is also a lot fun here in Minnesota. You can enjoy winter sports, such as skiing, or you can go sledding with your dear friends.
If none of these excites you, try going to a nearby coffee shop and have a hot drink while you are watching the snowflakes painting the city chalk white. Read a book and enjoy your free time.

3. Do something!

Don't you ever sit at home and do nothing during the winter break. This makes you homesick and ruins your precious free time. Do whatever you can't do during the course of semester. Last winter break I almost did nothing and I still regret it. Since then, I promised myself to do something, even if that's baking and cooking foreign foods!

Favorite Places

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안녕하세요, Hello, 你們好,こんばんは。

WOW! I cannot believe this is almost the end of year. I once again realized how fast the time goes by. As I've been living on big campus several years, I realized that finding my own favorite places are important during school year. Around the campus, there are many places I love, but for tonight hopefully I can share some, at least.

1. For Study.
Yes, I have to read a LOT for psychology major and sometimes when I am so tired after all the night classes I don't want to go back to my room because I know I will fall asleep.
So then, I look for places for study. We have many libraries.
1) Walter library at East bank,
2) Wilson library at West bank,
3) and Magrath library at St.Paul campus).
Today, I am introducing bio-medical library at moos tower.
What make unique about this place?

  • Library itself opens until 3 A.M and the tower opens 24 hours! (enter b/f 10 P.M)

  • During final week, the library opens 24/7! (It's already started)

  • Have printer, copy machines, and even quiet room for group study.


Another place is starbucks. We have two starbucks on campus, but the Coffman union starbucks closes early (7 P.M) and the building itself closes early too. For whom who wants to study at the place where they also can have some delicious coffee, go to starbucks on Washington Ave! It's next to radisson hotel. This starbucks location open until12 AM, and they just finished their renovation so there should be a plenty of spaces where you can sit! ;) The picture I attached only shows 2/3 of the place.
Check out this place!
2. Where do I go to hang out with my friends?
I go to ...
1) Starbucks
2) chilly billy's
(frozen yogurt place. This place now has happy hour during Mon, Wed, Thurs, and Fri between 3-6.)
3) Pagoda Chinese restaurant (中國餐館~).
This place is my FAV Chinese restaurant on campus! They have karaoke place too~
4) MOA (Mall of America).
5) For musical or opera, go to orpheum theatre at downtown Minneapolis or
6) Gutherie theatre. They have great selection of musical/ opera.

Finding places while you study at U and in America is very important. You want to make sure you feel home-like comfortable and you would feel happier if you know where to go to make yourself feel better. Good luck during final weeks, and hopefully my little information helped all of you!

다음에 또 만나요, bye bye, 再見, さよなら~。

P.S If you are already in Minnesota, have you gone to holidazzle in downtown Minneapolis? This year is their 20th season, and as always they are doing amazing parade at Nicollet Mall area from 12th street to 4th street. It was started this year on Nov. 25th, and they are ending it on 18th of this month! It is very fun. So if you get tired during studying it may be a good idea to visit.
You can visit this website and see last year parade video! :-)

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Mississippi river is starting to freeze. "Single digit" is becoming normal temperature.
Minneapolis is ranked 16th in America's 25 Coldest Cities.

But if you are a true "Minnesotan," you will still enjoy your venti Frappuccino® outside!
Soon, it will get even colder.

Winter Break and Important Things to Know
As the winter break is approaching, I would like to talk something important for international students to know. These are essential for international students who are leaving the U.S. over the winter break, as well as any breaks.

Always, always, your passport must be valid for at least 6 months in the future. If your passport expiration date is coming closer, you may need to contact the embassy of your country. I have renewed my passport in the U.S., but it was not very difficult.

-F-1/J-1 Visa
Since I am a full time student, I can only talk about F-1 Visa, but ISSS can always provide you necessary and detailed information.
You must carry your passport that has a F-1/J-1 visa stamp. This means that if you have renewed your passport after getting one of the visa stamps, you must have the old passport with the stamp as well as your new passport. If you leave the U.S. without F-1 visa, you must pay a fine when you come back, and this record will be filed in the U.S. database.

-I-94 Card
Remember the long white card on the left that you filled in on airplane or at the airport? This is the I-94 card. An inspector will tear the card into two and staple the tiny part on your passport. You must keep this card until it is collected by a border agent when you leave the U.S. I-94 and I-20 are necessary documents to maintain your F-1 visa status. If you lose this, you have to apply for replacement in the nearest Immigration Services and pay $330 for replacement. Also, it takes couple of weeks to get a new one.

-Form I-20
The last piece of the important legal documents is I-20, which is issued by the university. You need to make sure that you have a valid travel signature from ISSS on your I-20. If you lost or damaged your I-20 form, you need to request ISSS to obtain a new I-20. If you change your major or extending graduation dates, you also need to go to ISSS to issue a new form or apply for extension. If you notice that you don't have your I-20 in your country, keep in mind that it takes time for ISSS to send you a new one.

Wow, that was a serious, unrelaxing topic. I hope I didn't scare you too much. Keep all of your legal documents in one safe place, and carry a copy of your passport in the Twin Cities.

This is my last entry for this year. This is a bit early, but I wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!! I will see you next year:)


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Hi everyone,

Final is coming in two weeks!!! Are you ready???
There are so many resources we can use for preparing finals.

1. I would say the most important resource for me is the study guide or practice exam which professor will hand out maybe 1~2 week before finals. I always follow the study guide to review my textbook. I took intro psychology class and we had study guide for each of our test( in total four exams) I answered each of the study guide questions for six or seven pages. But the good thing is the study guide questions really helped me to review each of the chapter and let me know the key points from each chapter. In that way, study guide really helped me prepared my final and it brought me a good result:D

2. go to professors office hour. Usually, instructors will have extra office hour before finals. some of the instructors hold review session for students. My suggestion is bring specific questions to the professor. A lot of instructors will go through the practice exam during the review session, some of the instructors will summarize each chapters. it really depends on different instructors. Usually, instructors will left 30 minutes or even more to answer students questions. So do waste your study time, bring questions to them.

3. go to tutor or TA. TA is a great resource to go for ask questions. They are students too and they can explain things really clear. Sometimes, I go for tutor on the second floor in Walter library or in the Wilson library. They are just as same as TA for me.

Recently, I talked to my little 12-year-old cousin in China. She was super confused about why I am so busy around final, and she said: come down, it is just final! You just need to study for it. How could that be hard." Okay.. I have to say she is kinda right but not absolutely right. Yes, I need to study really hard so that I can have a good grade. However, it is not just about final exams. There are something called presentation which I like but will spend me a lot of time to do it. I like it because it is a team work project. Usually, we do case study. It can help me to understand a company better. Also, we work as a group so it is easy to hear others ideas. The most important part is speak out to the public. I use to afraid of speaking in the public, and that is the reason I took public speaking class. However, after you did a few presentations, you will enjoy the feeling. It feels great to explain things to the whole class and the most exciting part is they listen so carefully and they may have questions for you. At that time, I feel like yeahhhh I am rock in the class!!!!!!!

Some classes have final paper due during final. My suggestion is start it early and go to the writing center for revising.

This is my suggestions for finals. Good luck everyone!! and for our cute little perspective students: be ready!! You will rock in the University!!!!

Better Safe Than Sorry !

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Before I came to America, I heard a lot of rumors and myth about the land of opportunity.
Some of them were wrong, and some of them were right.
One of them was "A lot of stores will be closed at early time" and it is true.
In U.S, many stores close around 6~8 p.m.
(Also, I want to emphasize it totally depends on stores)
So, after evening, many roads are empty. Especially Minnesota gets dark earlier after winter starts.
You can see it looks like night even slightly pass 5'clock.
Although Minnesota is one of the safest places in the U.S, it is always helpful to pay extra attention to your safety!

University of Minnesota supports students' safety in many ways!

Safety is Easy. The Pavement is Hard. Pedestrians, bikers, and drivers: Here are some simple safety messages to keep in mind as you navigate campus.

The Stand Up campaign has been designed to help prevent sexual assault, campus crime, and excessive drinking. Stand up and do what's right.

TXT-U, the University of Minnesota emergency notification text messaging system.

624-WALK, a free walking or biking security escort service to and from campus locations and adjacent neighborhoods, available to all students, faculty, staff, and visitors.

Gopher Chauffeur, a free door-to-door van service offering rides on and near campus.

•Wide-ranging safety and security measures in residence halls and apartments.

•Twenty Code Blue Phones for immediate connection to the 911 operator at the University Police station.

A variety of University departments involved in planning for and responding to emergencies.

•900 security cameras monitored around the clock.

•200 yellow phones for emergency, medical, and safety-related calls.

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College of Biological Sciences

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Are you fascinated by the existence of micro-organisms? Do you aspire to pursue medical profession some day? Do you wish to work in open fields and explore the beauty of nature? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then College of Biological Sciences (CBS) is the one for you.

CBS is one of the very few colleges nationwide that is solely devoted to biological sciences. It offers you with amazing majors that include neuroscience, genetics and plant biology. The journey of a typical CBS student begins with the Nature of Life (NOL) program. It is a 3 days camp, in which students get to take intensive seminars at Lake Itasca, the headwaters of Mississippi. I have so many beautiful memories from this camp, which in include living in cabins in the middle of a forest, doing research in a natural environment and spending time with my peers and the amazing CBS faculty. Below are a few pictures from my trip to Lake Itasca.




CBS also offers its students the opportunity to work in research labs under the guidance of world-class professors. It was immediately after my freshman year, that I got an amazing opportunity to work in a genetics lab. I have gained so many laboratory skills that I wouldn't have learned if I wasn't involved in this research lab. Therefore, I recommend that one should get involved in research labs because there's so much more that you can learn by doing things practically. One can either earn credits by doing directed research in a lab or earn money by participating in Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program.


CBS has a number of leadership programs that let its students build leadership skills. I am involved in one such program named the Deans' Scholars program. This program offered me with opportunities to do community volunteer work, attend leadership seminars and reflect on my leadership philosophy. It's an amazing opportunity for any student who is keen to polish their leadership skills by getting involved in the community.

A poster that I made along with my fellow Deans' Scholars highlighting our volunteer experience.

College of Biological Sciences is a heaven for anyone who is truly interested in exploring the world of biological sciences.

Why Did I Choose to Study in the U.S.?!

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Hey Everyone!

How are you doing so far? We're close to the end of semester with a whole lot of homework, papers, and exams. Though, it's good to know that we're only 4 more weeks away from winter break :-)

Today I'd like to share with you some of the reasons I chose to leave my beloved country and study here in the U.S.
• The first and most important reason was my Dad. He has also studied here in the US and has always talked about good old days that he had in California. He always says it's good to leave your family and country for new experiences in other countries. Since I love my Dad so much, I wanted to experience what he has experienced. After all he is like a role model to me, so I took his advice and decided to leave my country.

Thanks Dad.jpg

• The second reason was my own interest in becoming independent and experiencing a new country. I wanted to make new friends, and more important to live in a country with a different culture than mine. I wanted to learn new things and experience things that I could never experience without leaving my family and my people. I even loved to speak a foreign language other than my mother tongue. I sometimes used to speak English with my parents even when I was back at home.
• The other reason that I chose to study here is that I knew US has a good education system, and good universities to get a degree from.

With all that said, it was still hard to leave my family, friends, and country for a new world. But I did it and I am happy with what I did :-)

My very special winter vacation trip to NY :-)


Hi! I am back!
Did everyone have wonderful Thanksgiving day with their families and friends?
I hope so. I had a wonderful Thanksgiving and it was great to spend a day with my close friends. I made several new friends too.

I realized one of our ISA members, Ricardo, introduced campus jobs topic to everyone. I think Ricardo did fantastic jobs, so I won't be writing more about it, but I thought the links I will going to share are very useful to future and current students.
Here are some quick links if you are looking specific jobs under certain locations.
1. Student unions and activities
2. Recreational center
3. UDS (dining center)
4. Library

Today, I am here to write about my own winter trip to NY in last year.
It was very special to me because it was the first time to travel by myself.
I went to NY by bus because I thought it would be cool and I wanted to save some money. I got bus tickets from greyhound (you can also buy bus tickets from several other websites such as: megabus, jefferson lines. Megabus is famous for cheap bus tickets. Also you can get discounts on Jefferson lines from information desk in Coffman memorial union). You can also decide to travel by train or airplane.

It was very fun to travel by bus (it was my very first time bus traveling), but last year NY got huge snow blizzard that NY wasn't prepared for. It was serious snow blizzard. Unlike here, MN, where everybody is ready for snow, NY wasn't ready and they didn't have enough equipments for clearing snow. So when I arrived at bus station, none of the services were available and I had to stay at bus stations where everything was closed for over 14 hours. The next day, one of my friends saved me... :-)
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I traveled NY for two weeks, and I went everywhere as much as possible.
It was very fun. I would strongly recommend to all of you to travel around America, because while you travel you can meet so many different people and become friends together, and you can learn more about America. Also, if you like photograph you will love visiting new places. I traveled NY for winter trip, and went to Chicago (IL) for spring. This winter, I am going Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Fransisco
Want to join?! :-)

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Happy Thanksgiving!!

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Hi everyone!
Do you know what day it is today?
In the U.S., today, November 24th, is Thanksgiving Day.
You may know, but Thanksgiving is America's traditional holiday.
Usually, family members get together and enjoy feast together.
The main dish of Thanksgiving feast is, of course, turkey!!


I stayed in my friend's house on my first Thanksgiving and helped cooking, but it took us almost entire day to roast a turkey.


We prepared lots of food and kept eating. Then, we watched movies on TV. Yes, this day is not to be very productive...


On Thanksgiving, shops and restaurants are closed, so you just stay at home and spend time with your friends and family. They might discuss a plan for Black Friday (This is a big sale day in malls and stores.)
I hope you got an idea of Thanksgiving in the U.S.!

Why I chose U of M- Twin Cities

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Like most students I applied to several universities. I had to face the challenge of choosing the right university after I got acceptance letters from 4 out 5 universities I applied.

After much consideration I narrowed my choices down to 2 universities; University of Minnesota and Texas A & M University. Then I looked at U.S. and world rankings of the two universities. After I was done researching I knew for certainly where I want to go to continue my studies. 3 years later here I am as a senior studying HR at University of Minnesota.

Did you know that Minnesota is the base for 20 companies that are in the Fortune 500 companies list ranging from Business, technological, food & health services. Every year these companies come to U of M to hire the best and brightest students.


One of the major reasons I chose University of Minnesota is because of the U.S. and world rankings. Let take a look at some of the current rankings:

•According to the 2011 Academic Ranking of World Universities, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities is ranked 28th in the world.

•According to U.S news & world report's 2012 ranking, University of Minnesota undergraduate program is ranked 68th in US.

•According to Center for Measuring University Performance, University of Minnesota is ranked among the top 25 of the nation's research universities.

Apart from being a top ranked university, the schools and the programs offered here at U of M also have good ranks.

Currently Chemical Engineering program at U of M is ranked at #3 while Economics is at #10 in U.S. There are many more majors in the top 50 ranked programs. Click Here to see the entire list of rankings.

Here are some more statistics about various Ranking University of Minnesota holds.

The other reason I chose University of Minnesota is because of the lower tuition rate they have for International students compared to other top ranked universities.

I'm glad that I chose University of Minnesota to continue my education.

Studying at a research University that has a good overall rank, you are guaranteed to receive the best education at a reasonable cost.

What more can a student ask for?

Minnesota Golden Gophers 1.JPG


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Hey there!!!!!!!!!
I know that college life as an international student can be CRAZY expensive! Having to pay out of state tuition, housing, books and food is at all times hard. And these issues can raise the question Can I have a job in the United States? And the answer is YES! As an international student you can apply for all kinds of on-campus jobs that vary in salary and in activities done. It is harder to get jobs off-campus since you would need a sponsorship from the company who wants to hire you, but as a student on-campus jobs come easy.

When I first arrived to Minnesota I had no idea of where to start looking but luckily I was advised to look online and applied for several jobs including working at the bookstore, printing services etcetera and it turned out to be a little harder than I thought!!! Spots fill out quicker than you would expect since everybody wants a job! But after a year I could lock down one of the best jobs on-campus (in my personal rating =))!

I work at DISABILITY SERVICES, which is part of the office for equity and diversity. When I first started I did not know what to expect from it but after a year of working there I can certainly say that it is the most humanitarian things I have done. My job position is called "Access assistant" and what the job entitles is helping with the accessibility for students and staff with disabilities on campus. This kind of assistance involves document conversion (conversion of books and documents to audio or Braille) so students can listen to the books or read them in Braille. It also involves class and staff assistance, activity that includes taking notes for a student with visual impairments or assisting staff at their offices along with their daily activities. I applied to the job position in the first place because it got my attention that the University of Minnesota cared so much about accessibility and accommodations for the students and staff who have disabilities. This kind of help and attention is incredibly unusual in my home country and it is seen that people with disabilities cannot have a proper education. So I wanted to be part of this!!!

And now at my job I have made a LOT of friends and made connections with incredible people. In my opinion it is not only about the money, having a job is a way to get involved and get to know great people. I accept that sometimes my job can be challenging but in my opinion it pays off. It is a satisfaction to know that I am making a difference in the student's education experience by easing up the impairment with accessibility.

So what I can say is that in order to find a good job you have to start looking early and not only apply to job positions that have a good pay. Apply to a job position that would satisfy you in every way possible! As it is said: motivated and happy people achieve better! Here is a link for on campus jobs so you can start looking!!


The mexicano Ricardo


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I hope you guys are not over-stressing yourself with school work. But if you are, then I've got to share some great ideas that can help you give some break from busy school life.

Student organizations- Get involved in these organizations!! There are a lot of student groups on-campus, such as academic oriented, culture themed or leadership based. You can browse the Student Unions and Activities website to search for the organization of interest.

On-campus events- Alright, you are busy with studies and have no time to devote to these organizations. But you still want to have fun :( Don't worry! You can go to Gophers After Dark, which plans free or low-cost events every Friday and Saturday night. You get to see movies, concerts, play games and taste free snacks!
You can also go to events organized by student organizations, like the one that I am involved with,the Indian student organization- Bharat. These events present dance performances and skits, and traditional food. They offer a great way to socialize!
Below are pictures from the event that was recently organized by my student organization, Bharat.



On-campus jobs- If you are one of those kinds who believe in socializing and earning money side by side, then on-campus job is for you. Being international students we are restricted to work on-campus only, but don't worry there are loads of places on-campus where you can work. The best place to start with is the University Dining Service- , which I consider as the most enjoyable place to work. Other potential places to work are- libraries, recreation center or labs. You can search for on-campus jobs at the Employment Opportunity website.

Gamerooms- There are two game-rooms with bowling alleys, pool tables and video games. There is Goldy's Gameroom in Coffman Memorial Union and Gopher Spot in St Paul Student Center, both of which offer exciting deals for U of M students.

- You can even rejuvenate your body by exercising a bit. You can go to Recreation Center on East bank or St Paul gym on St Paul campus. Both facilities have fitness centers, handball, racquet and squash ball courts and swimming pool. The services are free to the U of M students!

Don't forget that college life doesn't repeat itself. So enjoy as much as possible :)

Is There Even a Single Fun Class in This World???

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Have you ever thought of a class as a fun class to take? Or have you ever longed to take a class because you thought you'd love it for sure? I think we usually take classes because they are required, and we really have no other options other than that or we wouldn't graduate from college.
Personally, I think classes that are out of one's major are most subject to this problem. However, the good news is that I finally found my favorite class, which is actually out of my major, but it is at the same time somehow related to my major, which is architecture. It is totally the most interesting class I have so far taken. It is my favorite class, and it is the beginning Sculpture.
We have so much fun in this class. We are encouraged to be creative and produce whatever we wish to. We use different materials, such as plaster, wood, and metal. We are not assigned to necessarily make a dog or a duck, as my professor always insist on saying! Therefore, everyone has a different project with a totally different subject and narrative to talk about. This is my second project that I have made with metal sheets. However, it is not yet complete.
Project 2, Fatemeh Serajzadeh
I think it is necessary for everyone to find their favorite class and take at least one fun class in their college studies. It will give you so much positive energy, and will help you to do your other homework as well.

Special day, day, day!

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Had everyone received enough pepero from girl friends or boy friends?
YEAH! Today is a pepero day! :-)
Today was Korean's Pepero day. Each year, November 11th is the pepero day. It was even more important this year because this year it was November 11th 2011 (11.11.11). The Pepero day was originated from one story that girls who was in middle school in Busan (one of the big cities in Korea), exchanged pepero sticks as gifts to each other to wish one another to grow as tall and slender as a pepero. There is a story that it was started in 1994. Anyway, this time in a year people exchange pepero each other and it is like Valentine's day in Korean version.
If Korea has pepero day, what kinds of special days do we have in America?
If I could list the most important days in year, it would be New year's day, Memorial day, Independence day, labor day, Columbus day, Thanksgiving day, and Christmas! I mean, there are thousands of important days (such as Mother's day, veterans day, Halloween,Easter, St. Patrick's day, and Chinese new year!) we have to celebrate, but who wants to go to shopping and good deals? ME!
These are the event days that people tend to do shopping a lot, and these of the event days are the time when many stores offer good deals. You can't miss Black Friday (Nov. 25th) either! So, now that we are looking very close to the upcoming Christmas and Thanksgiving (wait, did I said Christmas and Thanksgiving when Thanksgiving is actually coming first?!), is everyone ready for having one of the special days?
I know I am not! I need more shopping! Here I come special day, day, day~!

Today, I wrote all about spending money! Next, I promise I will bring a tip for campus jobs! Chao~!

P.s The winter is definitely coming, if you are in MN start to prepare your winter jacket now. I will attach pictures that can show that winter is coming for sure. All of the below pictures were taken from near area at East bank same time (at 6PM), and from the top to bottom pictures were taken during August, September, October, and November ^ ^

Overview of (Realistic) International Student Life

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Hi everyone:) I want share some of my experiences to show what kind of troubles you can get in because I want you to know what can happen if you are reckless and don't want you guys to get screwed up.

When I transferred to the U, the only bank account that I had was a saving account of a local bank near my previous school. I started living in an apartment but soon realized that I did not have a check book to pay for my rent. I used to live in dorm, so I never needed to write a check before. I opened a new checking account and had the bank send me check books immediately. Until they arrive, I had to go to Cub Foods every month to make money orders because my apartment doesn't accept cash. I am from a country that doesn't use check, so I was totally underestimating the importance of checks. I think you will do, but opening saving and checking accounts as soon as you arrive at the U.S. is important even if you don't use them right away.


When I was living in St. Paul, I never went to campus on weekends, so I didn't notice that my bus didn't run on weekends. During final week, I had my final on Saturday on St. Paul campus. The other bus routes would take 2 hours, so it happened to use taxi. You may think that all the taxi drivers know everything about the area, but mine was not. Very interestingly, my taxi driver did not know where the St. Paul campus of the U, and he took me to a different school... Miraculously, we made it to the St. Paul campus, and I was about 10 minutes late for my final exam. If you live off-campus, please secure the ways to get to campus. It is very possible that you take your final on Saturday, and you do not want to get extra stress from transportation.


Sometimes you might have extremely busy days. I used to stay in library everyday with thick black coffee as company until date changes. Good or not, study places in some libraries are open until 3AM or 24 hours even. I was staying in Bio-Medical library until 3, and walked back to my apartment on West bank. In fact, I didn't get in any trouble this day, but I found that there were some crime alerts near my apartment. I do not stay this late anymore, but if you are a night owl and stay on campus late, you may want to request campus escort service when you go home.


Maybe you are smart enough to avoid these situations, but if you are new in the U.S., you will experience some difficulties or problems that only international students do. I exposed some of my foolish experiences, but I hope you won't get into troubles!

Travel in U.S.


Hellooo everyone!!! How is going? it supposed to snow today but it didn't. Good thing is we've backing to the standard time since last Sunday, which means we have 1 hour extra daytime everyday. but it gets dark around 5:30pm now. Winter is around the corner!!!! and winter break afterward. haha..

Have you start to plan your winter break yet? Maybe it is too early to plan but I have already have mine. like usual TRAVEL!! I love travel around in the U.S. just as other international students do. I would say traveling is the one of the greatest things to do in the U.S. Going to the street that in the movie scene, tasting the local food, and enjoying the diversity in different states. My favorite place in America is definitely New York.

night view of Manhattan on the top of the empire building
This is the city, where you can see shooting movie in the corner of Wall street. like this:
and where you wait in the line for three hours for a Broadway ticket:

Also, treat myself well on the trip is always my principle. I am a fish person, but in Midwest not so many people like seafood or we don't have that many seafood. So that is why I really appreciated my two days trip in Boston with my mom. They have the best lobster ever!! It is fresh and it is from Atlantic Ocean:

I am planning to go to Florida this winter break. Never been to South before. It must be very exciting and interesting trip.

You do have any Tech problem?


Hello Everyone !
Do you know about computer/laptop well?
Are you good at fixing things?

Sometimes, I realized I'm not very tech savvy.


laptop not working.jpg

OK, I need to admit. I'm a person who always panics out if my laptop doesn't work.
You may say, "What's a big deal? You can always bring it to the repair shop and fix it."

BUT, if you are a college student, it turns into a totally different story.

I couldn't live a single day without my laptop. Also, I'm pretty sure most of students will feel the same way.

Let's think about it. For example, you are working on three different essays - One of them is for your final term paper. Also, you need to read two articles by tomorrow that your professor uploads on your class website (we call it "Moodle site") You are waiting your TA's reply about tomorrow's quiz. Because you don't want to bring all the papers with you, you saved all of lecture notes in your computer. On top of it, you need to submit your essay on line by midnight.

Other than that, you need to call you family via Skpe, chat with your international friends, check tomorrow's weather before you choose the jackets, listen to music while you are studying, pay the rent through online banking, and check the bus schedule.



It can be very-insensibly-stressful situation for all of them.

University of Minnesota has a solution for these situations.
Please, visit Office of Information Technology (OIT)

They also have tech-shops on campus. So you can bring your laptop and meet a technician one on one in person. Please check their locations and office hours

If you don't want to wait, you can always make an appointment as well:

This is also technology requirement for prospective on-line students.

I believe these requirements are very useful. It can be applied not only for the on-line student, but also for EVERYONE who needs to use University of Minnesota webpages.

Also, you can even download safe anti-virus program for free

Please, don't forget "like" them on Facebook as well!

ISSS Programs

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International Students & Scholars Services or ISSS as we all know is one of the first offices we will be visiting after we arrive in Minnesota. From the time we visit ISSS to do our document check-ins until we graduate ISSS will become our non-academic advisory place with experienced, knowledgeable & friendly staff providing us with various information and resources that is important for us (International students) to stay in US and continue our studies.

Apart from providing us with information, resources & advice to survive and prosper in U.S. ISSS also functions as a bridge
Washington Ave bridge.jpg that connects International and U.S. students through variety of programs that engages international students to get involve in campus life and share knowledge, perspectives, cultural value & food we bring from our countries with American students and also learn more about America and it's culture through U.S. students.

Explore the choice of programs ISSS has to offer for international students. Let me share some of my experience with you about the programs I'm involved in as an International Student.

International Buddy Program
:is a Mentor- mentee/buddy program giving an opportunity for International students to get to know a current International or American student studying at U of M-Twin cities campus before they arrive in U.S.

Cross-Cultural Discussion Groups : Provide an opportunity for both International as well as U.S. students to meet once a week as a small group (7-8) to share cross-cultural experiences, personal thoughts, and feelings in a relaxed & friendly environment.

International Student Ambassadors : Is a program that helps prospective International students see and understand life in Minnesota and U.S. through the eyes and experience of a current International Student.

These are some great opportunities provided by ISSS for us International students to broaden our minds about other cultures including American; while sharing our own culture with other students making University of Minnesota a more culturally diverse campus.


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When I first got to Minnesota it was in the Spring of 2009, being an odd semester to start and in the middle of knowing NOTHING about the U.S. college life, It was incredibly confusing for me!!! I did not know there were dorms since we do not have accommodations like that in my home country.... so I sort of couch surfed for like a month until I found a place to live, It was not the best place or location but it was the middle of the winter and I NEEDED a place! so I just locked down the first place I saw. But after the first semester I actually looked for a place to live with my roommates and college life turned out to be a lot of fun!! Cooking for yourself, paying bills and maybe starting an on-campus job can be challenging but after a while it is really easy to get used to! Currently I live in a house with 4 other guys and I love it! even though I would have liked to live in the dorms an get to know more people that are starting college as me. I loved the experience of not having a regular first year!! It is all part of learning! My suggestions on housing and college living would be to live at the dorms, It is a great way to know people and connect with future roommates (next year). photo.jpg

But if the dorms are not appealing to you I suggest you try looking for a place at least a month before your first semester starts!! A good website to find rooms for rent on-campus (not creepy) could be:

Housing and residential life look for places in DINKYTOWN
Dinkytown at night.jpg

but if you like the adventurous side of looking for a place you can always go to craigslist and look for housing/shared, it is an open website but you can find bunches of cheaper stuff there!! Always be cautious about scam though!!!!! I tell you this by experience! I found my actual housing through here but It can be a little tricky CAREFUL!!

Need friends????

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Hello, how is everybody doing? Today is sunshine but chilly here. I kinda like it because the cold air can always refresh me:D.

One thing that I want to share and discuss with you today is about making friend. I was struggling with it when I first came here, I always ask myself: who should I hang out with on weekend?? It feels like back to my first day in high school. I met my classmates with no idea who they are, wanted to kill the silence but didn't know how. But later on, I became best friends with my high school classmates. Is my experience sounds familiar to you. In college, it is a little bit different though. It is because we have different classmates in every different courses so it is a little bit hard to become "best best" friends with them BUT classmates are the best candidate to become your study buddies.(by the way, it is always a good choice to form a study group with your classmates to study for exams.)
However, I would say it is easier for us to make friends in the University of Minnesota because we have so much resources for YOU to get to know people.

1. Welcome Week
It is a seven-day activities for incoming freshmen. If you are current student already, why not apply for being a welcome week leader for Fall 2015. Every day in welcome week has different theme to get to know our campus and campus resources. It was an wonderful week for me. I met my best friend and a lot of good friends during the welcome week. It was also a great opportunity to learn more about American culture, I heard a speech from our football coach, tried different American or Mexican food everyday and went to Mall of American at midnight. It was like a wild paradise for me. I liked my welcome week a lot and then I became a welcome week leader this summer. Again I had so much fun and made a lot of friends. One of my friends I met there is our ambassadors Seol, she was welcome week leader too. See, welcome week is a great opportunity for you to make friends and to have fun.

can you find me in the pic? probably not, I cannot find myself neither.......
welcome jpg

2. Students organizations

Wanna find someone who has same interest with you. Join student groups on campus. We have lots of student organizations here in U of M, they are holding a lot of event during the semesters. You can always meet some people in the event and if you really like the group maybe try to get on the board. Good opportunity for practicing leadership skill

paint your group on the bridge
Paint the bridge 004.jpg
For me, I like learning Japanese so I joined a Japanese club here called AJI. I can practice my Japanese
and learn Japanese culture from other members in the group. See what we did last year:

best event ever!!! we have maid cafe annually. Come to the U and come to our event
maid cafe jpg

3. Maybe taking some interesting class.

I took Jazz Dance on my first semester here. That is right it is a course. I was so surprised that Jazz dance could be a course but actually it was a great course:D Most of the time, we were dance, but we also learn jazz history and watch some jazz related videos. At the end of the semester, we performed in a public theater with 60 audiences.

right before the performance with my dance buddies
The best part of the class is being called dancer, even though I just danced for a semester in my whole life. Everything in here is possible, and in here my American dream will come true if I try hard enough.

I believe you will enjoy your college life in the University of Minnesota. At least, you have already have me and all of our International Student Ambassadors as your friends.

This is my personal experience about how to make friends here. If you have any other great ideas that you want to share, leave me a comment:D

4 Ways to Keep in Touch with Loved Ones :)

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Hey Everybody! I hope all of you guys are enjoying the festive season. Winter is already round the corner, which means that we get less time to spend outdoors. This is also the time when we start missing our families and friends, and seek alternative ways to keep in touch with them. In this blog I have shared some of the resources that could help you keep in contact with your loved ones.

Skype: It can make your living so easy as it lets you chat and video conference with your family and pals. These features are FREE as long as both the parties have access to the internet. In addition to that, skype also lets you make national and international calls at a fairly cheap rate.

Social networking websites: Websites like Facebook, MySpace and Orkut, have become more like a household name today. These websites let you share pictures, videos and messages with your friends and relatives. In addition to that you can even customize your privacy settings, and make your posts and pictures visible to only selected friends.

Emails: Very useful to keep in touch with those friends who don't own an account on any of the social networking websites. Emails are the best way to transfer large-sized files and folders to other people.

Phone: It is the most expensive option out of all. However, it can be really useful at times of emergency or when we don't have access to the internet. Companies such as AT&T, Verizon and Vonage offer international calling options from the United States.

Technology has truly made our lives simpler and easier by revolutionizing long-distance communication. I hope that you make full use of these resources to stay in touch with your loved ones :)

Halloweeeeeen :D

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Hola Everyone,

Its Halloween again, and we're all excited to see each other's costumes. I was wondering if any one of you knows about the origins of Halloween and the history behind it. As you probably know, Halloween is celebrated on October 31. People curve pumpkins and wear weird costumes. Halloween.jpg

So do you wanna know more about its origins now? Halloween is the Witch's New Year. It is time to celebrate Gods, Goddesses and Spiritual beings. It is the day Pagans believed they can communicate with the dead. It is a time to celebrate death and re-birth. This is where giving food and candy to children come from as they would leave food for the Ghosts, Goblins and spirits supposedly on the loose that night.

With Christianity spreading in Europe, the Catholics tried to eliminate these traditions by trying to have a holiday on the same day known as All Saints day. With passage of time, elements of Pagan's festival were incorporated into the Christian festival of All Hallow's Eve, or Hallow-Even, the night preceding All Saint's (Hallows') Day, hence the name Halloween.
Isn't it even more interesting now that you know why people celebrate Halloween in the U.S.?
I also Have a suggestion for you, try going to "Screamtown" . Its sooooooooo scary :)

Campus life 101

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Hi all!
I have to say, tonight was an awesome night for me.
I am taking campus orchestra class, and tonight we had a concert at Ted mann concert hall. We played Suppe, Berlioz, Wagner, and Holst.
It was a great night. If you are interested in finding out more events on Twin Cities campus, you can visit the website. For tonight concert, pictures are coming up soon!

But besides the great concert, what do I want to talk about today?
I'd like to go back to campus life 101, and I'd like to talk about health insurance and how to select classes. I am sure that all these topics (and other topics on our AWESOME blog are relevant to you all) are very relevant to all of you.
That is why I am here to help you to figure out.

So first of all, health insurance.
How to get one, and how much is it ?
Once you arrive in Minneapolis, unless you already purchased insurance, you have to purchase insurance as an International student. All International students are strongly recommended to purchase one from U of M. This program is part of student health benefit plan. You can review whether you need one or not by going through website, and look up the right side. Also you can visit ISSS office website.
How much is it? For each semester, International student has to pay $950 (at least this year it was). Most of the medical bills will be covered by the insurance, and sometimes you will have to pay the very small amount in case if the insurance cannot cover everything. But this is one of good ways to have insurance and use it whenever you need to go to have emergency care or see doctor.

Finally, how do I know which classes are for me?
I remember that in my freshman year, I had many questions regarding to what kinds of classes I had to take. I wasn't sure what area I wanted to study, so I wasn't sure which classes to take. I went to see my advisers, talk to professors, but I still had some problems. So one way I would recommend to all of you is taking freshman seminars! I know if you are not already admitted to U, you cannot look up some classes through onestop registration. So what you can do to look up for some classes is by visiting OFYP office website. They every year provide brochure for students to look up 2011-2012FreshmanSeminars.pdf. I attached a pdf file for 2011-2012, so you can look up! :-) This way you can learn a bit about the interesting area that you'd like to study, and see whether you'd like to continuously take the courses. If you are already admitted students, but still have some problems, I am sure this brochure can still help you. If you register for certain classes and decide to drop it after take it for several days, you can do that too. There are several registration guidelines that you have to follow, however. If you registered, and need to change regarding to register, you also need to look up here. If you still are looking for what classes to take, you can go visit classes search tool website to see more options that can help you to select classes. Make sure, if you are already admitted, check what to prepare before registration too. Each students have different registration rules to follow and different time.

Too many information to digest?
Don't worry, you can still ask us some questions if you need some help.
Don't forget that you can visit our ISA blog (undergraduate blog and graduate blog), and either leave comments or e-mail us.

Next time, I will come back with how to get on campus jobs.
If you are already in U.S, please do enjoy your own Halloween~ :-)

halloween photos.jpg



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College life sometime can be stressful, taking 13+ credits to maintain visa status and also to graduate on time is not an easy task. On top of that working 20 hours a week, and making time to socialize with friends is usually a typical week for a student in college. Balancing studies (what we here for), work and life is sometime can be stressful.

Watching a movie, listening to music, going to the rec center for a swim or a friendly game of cricket are my ways of coping with stress.

Sometime it is hard to cope stress by yourself, that why U of M-TC campus offers various resources to help students, staff, faculty to overcome the stress.

Student Mental Health

Boynton health services- Mental health clinic

University Counseling & Consulting Services

All of these places around twin cities campus have experts counselors and they provide quality services for students dealing with stress & other psychological related issues.

So next time if you feel stressed-out because you having trouble balancing life, work & studies, try to take a break from all of it & just relax. If you still having difficulty coping with stress talk to a counselor to get right kind of help and assistance.

Research - Time to Let Your Passion Speak

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Please imagine yourself,

You just had a fateful encounter with a discipline that you want to spend your four years for. You are so engaged in this area of study that it is so exciting to find news articles about it, and you cannot stop spending leisure thinking and talking with your classmates about the related subjects. When it comes to class projects, you devote yourself and spend extra effort on those. You almost want to marry your major, but you know it's legally, physically and ethically, impossible. Too bad...

The way I decided my major was not this dramatic, but one thing I recommend you is to express your love for what you study through research.


Independent Study
One possibility is to take a credit for research. This is called independent (or directed) study. You need to find a professor who agrees to let you work in his/her research. You earn one credit for this and write a research paper based on your hypothesis and findings.

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP)
The name looks self-explanatory, but UROP is an one-semester-long program that provides you salary and opportunities to explore your interest and present your research project.

Below is how you can apply for UROP.

If you are already in a lab
If you are already working or volunteering in a lab, there is nothing to hesitate. Go to your professor to discuss the possibility of making a project for UROP.

If you do not belong to a lab
I was in this situation. You need to find somebody who will like you enough to let you be a part of his/her research, and this will be the hardest part even before you apply for UROP.
You might talk to your professors that you take classes with. When I joined the UROP, I talked to my professor and asked if there was an on-going or new research project and possibility to take a small fraction for UROP.

Now you can start application process!

Application Process
~research proposal~
Whether you know about how to research or not, UROP office wants you to write a short research proposal in which you explain what you want to find through research, how you will find, what you expect to find, and why your research is so important that the UROP wants to pay for it.

~Other application materials~
Then, you need to submit your personal information and how much you will spend and how you use a semester to finish your project.

~After applying~
Be patient. It will take about 8-10 weeks to hear back. When you almost forget about the fact that you applied, you will receive an e-mail from them.


If you are accepted, congratulations! Now you will do whatever you dreamt to do, make a poster to show off what you did, and speak in public at the end of a semester. This final symposium usually takes place in Grate Hall in Coffman Memorial Union where you will see the rest of the UROP participants from all the colleges.

During research, you will find tons of things that you cannot learn in class. It is the front line of any disciplines and a place you will find people who are so much into the area of study like you. If you are so much driven to discover, I am sure you will have a great experience☺

Hello everyone!

I'm happy to announce the biggest event among the international students is coming up! It will be presented by MISA which is Twin Cities' largest and the most active cultural organization, dedicated to bringing students from backgrounds across the globe together.

Where: Great Hall, Coffman Union
When: Saturday, 5th, November, 6-10 pm


Have you ever been to the Feast of nations?

13 different student organizations will participate and collaborate together for the biggest culture event in University of Minnesota. You will experience the diversity through mingling with people who have different cultural backgrounds. Also, they are preparing cultural shows to celebrate and appreciate all the different cultures at the U of M!

What can we expect?
1. Runway with Cultural Costumes!

fashion show3.jpg
fashion how.jpg

Haven't you curious about traditional cultural costumes from different countries? You can meet models with dazzling cultural costumes from around the world! Many of models are actually students at U of M, so you might able to see familiar faces on the runway!

2. Talent Shows

talent show.jpg
talent show2.jpg

Also, you can see what other students have prepared for you. A talent show is an event where participants perform their talent or talents of acting, singing, dancing, acrobatics, drumming, martial arts, playing an instrument, and other activities to show a unique form of talent.

3. Culture Food


new food.jpg

You can have exploration of culture through food. What we eat, how we acquire it, who prepares it, who's at the table, and who eats first is a form of communication that is rich with meaning. Also, this is good chance for you to try new food from new culture. You never know! You may find your new favorite dish at Feast of nations!

4. Meeting new friends!


new mingle.jpg

This is also a great chance for you to meet new people from different culture. You can simply initiate a small talk with people who just sit next to you. When different cultures are mingled, there are so many interesting things to share. Let's celebrate diversity!

ALSO, please check out their YouTube video :D

Favorite part of my major/department

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Hey everyone!!

I know it can be challenging to choose a major at the University, especially out of the WIDE variety there is and also since it is what will mostly define your professional career and your life after school. When I chose my major all I knew is that I wanted to do something that involved science in a practical manner and what I found it was the best fit was an engineering discipline. Then it was all a question of what I saw myself doing in the long run and what best fullfilled my interests which were and still are the different ways that the mechanical world works and moves. I know it ALL SOUNDS PRETTY NERDY but I am sure some of you guys like nerdy ;) .... And now about more than halfway into the Mechanical Engineering bachelor's degree I know I would not change it for any other discipline. It fit me incredibly well, involving all sorts of technical aspects with a hands-on experience that boosts out the creativity and ingenuity in you! In the department there are all sorts of paths that can be followed and if you have the interest in I am sure you can find the right road that includes your interests.
In the engineering department there are several INCREDIBLE research projects that take place.... Involving scientific and technologic skills for a better world and life. Here I am posting a couple of links of some projects that take place at the University of Minnesota from the campaign "Driven to Discover". I hope you enjoy them =)



Thanks for reading again!! and I'll be posting again soon!

Later laterrr,


Already Wednesday? Is everyone still alive?

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Okay, so I just wanted to quickly share this awesome music video.
I usually listen all kinds of music and this music has been my favorite for many years!
The amazing band name is Kuricorder Quartet/ 栗コーダーカルテット.
Kuricorder Quartet is a Japanese instrumental band.
They are playing Grandpapa's Eleven Month/ 할아버지의 11개월/ おじいさんの11ヶ月 (Please click to go to Youtube!).
I really loved their music, and I listen this music whenever I am stressed out too much with all the homework and tests.
This song helped me several times to get through the busy week!
So I am sharing with you all, hopefully you all will like this :-)

Hey all!! I'm pretty sure many of you must have come across circumstances when certain concepts in class make no sense and drive you nuts. These situations can be really tedious and de-motivating for any student. But don't worry, U of Minnesota has got a lot of FREE resources to help you overcome problems in academics. Some of these resources are the Smart Learning Commons, Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence (MCAE), University Counseling & Consulting Services and Center for Writing.

I would first start off with the Smart Learning Commons(SLC). I really like SLC because it provides tutoring in a vast variety of subjects, ranging from physics and chemistry to math and humanities. They are located in libraries on all three campuses- Wilson Library, Walter Library and Magrath Library. They even have test banks from selected courses- isn't that just AMAZING??! On the other hand, if you need information on other resources in addition to course help, then you can seek Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence (MCAE). MCAE not only provides help with different subjects, but it also provides advising on internship opportunities, campus resources, scholarships and mentoring programs. However, sometimes college life can become so hectic that it might inflict mental imbalances in a student's life. In such situations, students can seek counseling from University Counseling & Consulting Services (UCCS). UCCS provides useful counseling to students about a variety of learning and success skill topics.

Last but not the least is my favorite resource, the Center for Writing (CW)!! Located in 10 Nicholson Hall, I have visited this place like infinite number of times. Every semester one can come across a class that requires writing essays. Now that nobody is a genius, we can need help with brainstorming ideas, writing an outline or even proofreading the final draft. CW provides individualized writing instructions, both face-to-face and online to students. I highly recommend you to check out this place if you ever need help with writing essays for a class or even for graduate/professional school applications!

So, that's all I wanted to share with you today. I hope you found these resources helpful and would make the best use out of them. However, let me know if you want to know more about any of these academic services, I would be more than happy to tell you. Till then take care and good bye. :)

Are You Here or Still Back Home?!

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The more technology improves the more we get cool staff out of it. The more technology improves the more communication means we get. And finally, the more technology improves the smaller our world becomes. I guess what is more important for international students, is the communication part, of course! So, I want to introduce you to some of these cool communication tools that we've got here :

Facebook (on top of anything else)




I can't think of anything else at the moment!
So which one would you choose to communicate with your family back home? Obviously Facebook and Twitter belong to your devoted friends, so I'm not going to mess up with them. What about Skype and ooVoo?
I personally prefer Skyping with my family, just because I think Skype has a better sound and picture quality. But what matters now is the question of when and how often? I sometimes see my parents every day, or even twice a day. That's a lot!! You know we, Iranians, are very family oriented. That might be very odd to a Native American. But let me tell you something, what I just told you, is even odd for an Iranian! It is just as if I am still living in Iran. I know it shouldn't be like that. Maybe that's because I have missed them so much. But, the more you see them and talk to them, the more you miss them. I need somebody to tell me what I am telling you; limit your communications with you family, your are not any more living with them!

Welcome to Seol's Pre-Campus Life 101

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Welcome back!
I wanted to talk a little bit about two things before I tell you all about how fun the school life, and campus life!
Two things are...
1. What should I do?! I just arrived at the airport!
2. Mr. Housing and Residential life, where should I live?

So before we jump right into the campus life 101, let me tell you my first day at U.
I still remember the day I came to U of M. It was night when I arrived here from South Korea, and I was lucky that I had somebody who helped me to move in. But I know many International students don't have any relatives or friends to ask when they first arrive at St. Paul International Airport (MSP). So how can they come to campus? Of course there are many options of taking bus, train, or taxi, but there is another option, better option, that you can choose!

Gopher Chauffeur is a good way to arrive on campus free. The program is through Boynton health service . This program, unfortunately, is only available right before the semester begins. For more informational, you can contact Julie Sanem, Advisor( At least now, you don't have to worry how to get here.

Now you are arrived on campus, do you have any specific resident hall or apartment on your mind? If you do not, don't worry! We have plenty places where students can live. We have Bailey Hall (St. Paul campus), Comstock Hall (East bank), Middlebrook hall (West bank), Sanford Hall, Centennial Hall (SuperBlock), Frontier Hall (SuperBlock, freshman-only living), Pioneer Hall (SuperBlock), and Territorial Hall (SuperBlock, freshman-only living) as a residential hall. We also have on campus apartment buildings, and University Village, Roy Wilkins Hall, and Mark G. Yudof Hall are the apartment buildings. Every buildings have unique advantages, and as for the International student I would strongly suggest to go over each website. If you are arriving earlier, then Centennial hall has International Reception Center program where you can apply to make reservations to stay there for several nights. I believe the cost is $21 per night, and it is better to stay there. I myself arrived U this year one week earlier for pre-welcome week training for welcome week leaders (through OFYP- orientations and first-year programs). I had many suitcases, and I wasn't feeling comfortable going hotel by myself. Besides hotels can be very expensive... One thing that I recommend is that when you choose where to live, make sure whether your-choice residential hall opens during breaks. If you live in apartment, you don't have to worry, but each residential hall has different schedule of opening. For example, Middlebrook hall opens during winter break without any additional cost, but comstock hall isn't. I attached the file Detail information.pdf that you can review the appropriate information regarding to this (p. 23&24). So please check out if you are interested in! :-)

One quick note: you can preview the meal plan and board rate by going... here!

I hope you found great help from here!
The weather is getting cooler, so take care and don't forget to visit us back later for campus life 101!

bailey copy.jpg Bailey
jpg Middlebrook
sanford.jpg Sanford
UofM_Centennial-221Thum-9774.jpg Centennial
2.jpgRoy Wilkins Hall
yudof.jpgYudof hall
...and finally University Village!

Please understand that I couldn't find the right images for super-block...

Fan Facts about CFANS - Come to Taste Our Harvests

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I am delighted to write about my college today, the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS). I hope this lengthy name didn't overwhelm you.

The season for Farmers Market is over, but you can still get fresh local products. Two departments at CFANS open dairy and meat sales every week in Andrew Boss Laboratory-Meat Science building on St. Paul campus.

Dairy SaleroomIMG_1113.JPG
As a Nutrition student, I really want you to visit our Dairy Salesroom! The room is run by the Department of Food Science and Nutrition. There are wide selection of cheese. They are all frech, rich and creamy. Also, you will be impressed by the various flavors of ice cream. (Gopher Gold is my favorite. I want to try Pumpkin Pie, but they run out so quickly...)
All the products are made at University of Minnesota by students, faculty and staff. They announce special items of the week on the website, too.

Dairy Salesroom
Open: Wednesday, 3-5pm
Location: Room 166 Andrew Boss Lab of Meat Science (ABLMS)
*they only take CASH.

Meat Lab Sales RoomHeavyTable-UofM-Meatlab1.jpeg
After you pick up items from the Dairy Salesroom, you can also stop at the Meat Lab Sales Room in the same building. They also open on Wednesday, but you can contact them to order and arrange days and time. The Department of Animal Science produces beef, pork, lamb, poultry, veal, sausage and a lot more. You do not need to go to a meat product section in a grocery store because you can find a whole variety of meat here on campus. I have made a lamb skewers, which tasted wonderful. They also provide recipes to give some ideas for your dinner!

Meat Lab Sales Room
Open: Wednesday, 2-5pm (or contact for other days/hours)
Location: Room 26 Andrew Boss Lab of Meat Science (ABLMS)

Many people graduate without knowing much about St. Paul campus, but you should come to try the University of Minnesota original foods! You can just hop on a campus connector from Minneapolis, and you will arrive in 25 minutes. I hope these sales become reasons to come to St. Paul:)

what business students do

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Hi. How is everyone doing? I just finished all of my midterms yesterday. Yeahhh!!!!

Beginning of the fall is the busiest time for business students. It is because we have career fair at the end of September. As I mentioned, the very important event for Carlson School of Management students is career fair, in which you can have a chance to meet over 100 companies such as: 3M, General Mills, Ersnt&Young. There are more and more companies coming to Carlson School of Management this year such as: Amazon, and Delta airline. Yes, from the little partial companies I listed you can see all of them are in Fortune 500. During the career fair, students dressed suit and tried to "sale" them out. Also, company recruiters would be there to observe good candidates who can fit their companies. I learned a lot from going to career fair.

From my personal experience, networking is a very important way to get to know companies and let companies get to know you. So the location become very important for business students. It just 3 bus stops from Carlson School to downtown Minneapolis. I even walk to downtown with my mom a few times this summer. It took us around 20 minutes to walk. Good exercise though:D Minneapolis is No.5 cities with 9 Fortune 500 companies. Chicago is right behind us. As a business student, I have great opportunity to network with business professions.

In a word, my life here is busy but happy since in here my dream will come true if I work hard enough:D

Choosing a Major

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When you meet someone new on-campus the two most commons questions you will be asked are, "What's your name?", "what you studying/majoring?". I have heard many saying "I'm still undecided".

I wasn't sure what I wanted to major during my 1st year as a student. That when I decided to meet my adviser and he told me to go to a my college career center, there I met with a career counselor and she gave me a "Skill assessment" to fill out. After completing I met with the counselor and she explained it to me & help me identify my strengths.That how I end up choosing my current majors (Human resource Development, Business & Marketing Education) through CEHD.

If you're undecided or having trouble selecting the right major don't worry :-), there are plenty of resources available for all U of M Students. Here are some that majority of U of M students use to find the right major for them

1. Talk to your Academic Adviser, they are here to help you excel in you academic life.

2. Go to your college career center, (CSE, CLA, CSoM, CBS, CEHD,CFANS etc..) all have a career center to help the students.

3. visit CAPE, they provide action plans for students to help make important decision about academic as well as career.

Need some help for your writing?


When I introduce my major/minor, people usually surprise and ask me back "English major? But you are not a native speaker!"
(Actually, I really want to say English major is actually really fun if you like reading and writing.)

I was born and raised in Korean until when I was 21 year old. Although my major was English before I came to U.S., I didn't have any confidence in my English.

I still remember how I was frustrated when I couldn't even order my favorite coffee at Starbucks. I wanted to order "caramel macchiato" but the worker couldn't understand my pronunciation. I was shocked and embarrassed.

So, I was very scared when I declared my major as English major. However, I really enjoy my University of Minnesota life as an English major student now.

However, I think, English should not be the reason which lets you down. There are TONS of resources to help you out in University of Minnesota. Today, I want to introduce "writing center" in University of Minnesota. Writing center is one of the helpful resources for your essay assignments.

Are you still afraid of using English? Don't give up!
You can be so much better. (We should admit the fact English is you Second (or third) Language to you. It is natural that you are learning by making mistakes.

If you haven't had chance to visit writing center, YOU ARE MISSING OUT! Writing center is always ready to help you.

There are three ways to use writing center

1: Appleby Hall writing center: (room 9)


You can walk-in without making an appointment. (So, you might need to wait little bit. However if you didn't have time to set an appointment, you can always visit here!)
Recently, they add Nicholson room 15 to have walk-in hours as well. Hooray!

2: Nicholson Hall writing center: (room 15)


You can make an appointment on line (mySWS) (it is very easy). You can even choose the adviser who has the same (similar) major with you. Because you will let them know what type of paper you will bring, they can jump into your paper right away!

3: on-line writing center:
You will submit your paper and question online. Your adviser will send you back your paper with corrections and answers to your question. The greatest part of on-line writing center is after you got a reply from your adviser, you can have follow-up chatting with them!

Yes, many of us are non-native speaker of English
which means, we can speak more than two languages ! :)

Check it out voices from Minnesota's multilingual writers.



Survive the U 101: introduction to Housing Hunting!!


Choosing a living place is a great great deal.
Before I started my college life at the U in Spring, I had been told that there were no dorm rooms left. Then, I lived off-campus and commuted a long way to the campuses - taking two buses for one hour to get to the campus. Yes, I was so excited to move out!

I want to talk about off-campus housing here since it is difficulty for people who live far away from the Twin Cities, and of course outside the U.S., to find living places outside the campus. Please keep in mind that this information is just a few of many ways to find living places, but I hope this will give you some ideas.

How to search?

1. Go to "The Housing and Residential Life" Website
One their website, there is a page which explains off-campus housing.
I think that this page gives you ideas about how much you should expect to pay for rent, some criteria for choosing, temporary housing, etc.
They also have a section where you can search for off-campus housing.

2. Check "Craigslist"
Craigslist is another good place to look at. Craigslist is also very useful for finding good deals on furniture or other necessities.

3. Visit actual locations
Often there are flyers posted on the bulletin board of apartments. People sometimes look for somebody to take over their place or roommates in this way. If you have specific places in mind, it is a good idea to go and check if there are anyone looking for roommates or subleases. Always make sure to meet a person who posted the flyer and check a room.

Also, followings are some points to look at when you search for housing!

Points to check before deciding!

These are a few of many points to ask yourself when searching for housing:
- Is it close or easy to get to the campuses?
- Do campus connectors (free bus that connect all the campuses) stop nearby?
- Are bus stops close?
- Is it close to grocery shops?
- Is the place safe?
- Is your roommate/s reliable and/or have similar living patterns?
- Does the rent include parking (if you have a car)? If not, how close is the nearby parking ramp and how much?
- Is the room furnished? (If not, you have to buy or find furniture)
- What is the duration of the contract? Check the ending date!

Must-do when you move in!!
- Check for any items, amenities or facilities and get them repaired before moving in!
- Take pictures with date for records!
- Document repair requests if necessary!

These look overreactive, but there are cases that students are charged a huge amount of money when they move out even though they are not their fault. Remember that renting a place involves legal issues. It is important to keep records of your room at the beginning to prevent yourself from any unexpected charges.

Thank you so much for reading this looong post!
Just to remind you that these are just examples. There are many ways to find a living place, so keep your eyes open!


Good luck on finding a best place for you and please feel free to ask me questions!!
I will see you later~

Hey all!

When I fisrt arrived to Minnesota as a college student it was probably when the most extreme weather conditions were taking place. It was REALLy cold out since it was January but It all seemed so exciting and new that I did not mind it for one second. It was my first time seeing snow!!! You know being from a place where its 70 degrees (F) and about 20 (C) all year round it was a DIFFERENT experience. And that just memory of getting off the plane on a cold cold night with NO IDEA of what was there to come is what I will never forget. It always brings me the thrill and thought of a new adventure.

Three years later here I am loving my major and the twin cities overall. Having adapted to any kind of change school and social wise is what I will always be proud of. And to all upcoming students who are concerned about not knowing what to expect of a new place. I can tell you that THAT is the best part of it! exploring, travelling, knowing new and completely different people is what is best of the experience. I can tell you this because I have lived it and I enjoy everday of it.

Thanks for reading and I will be more than happy to answer any concerns you want to ask about!.



Hellowww !!

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Hello everyone!

My name is Hyoeun Chun but a lot of people call me "Michelle"
because my Korean name "Hyoeun" is hard to pronounce
(Its OK, even many Koreans cannot pronounce correctly.. )

I'm from Dae-jeon, Korea. I'm a transfer student and this is my third year in Minnesota.

My major is English and minor is TESL.
It is stands for Teaching English as a Second language,
(Currently, it is changed into SLS which means Second Language Studies)

I'm also working at International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) as a student worker. If you visit ISSS, you may see me at the front desk.
We are ready to greet international students and answer any questions they may have!
If we are unable to answer their questions, we redirect them to the right adviser.

So, please feel to ask me (or, any of ambassadors) if you have any question.
I remember how much I was curious about university life in America before I came here!

I also worked as an English teacher, tutor, and interpreter.

I love coffee, reading, writing, chocolate, Disney, shopping, animals, traveling, taking pictures, collecting small things such as coffee mug cups, and making new friends!


Hmmmmmmm I love coffee ♥

만나서 반가워요 ! (Nice to meet you! )


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Hey! The title "Ayubowan" mean "Long Life" in my culture, with that said let me introduce myself to everyone. My name is Shehan Liyanage I'm a senior studying Human Resource Development and Business & Marketing Education at College of Education & Human Development. I transferred to University of Minnesota in fall 2008 from a community college in Sri Lanka. In my free time I hangout with my friends, go for a swim at rec center or play a friendly game of basketball or rugby with friends.

Since the day I got here up-till now it has been a great experience, meeting people from other countries, sharing cultural experiences and even going to class & learning has been a wonderful and amazing experience. It is a land of opportunities indeed, all you have to do is come explore the opportunities. At University of Minnesota you not just getting a topnotch education, you'll also become diverse person and accumulate great experiences, friendships that you'll cherish for rest of you life.

Once again Nice to meet you'll, feel free to leave a comment or a question if you have any & I'll be glad to help you.

Ayubowan ;-)

Hi Everyone!

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Hi all!
My name is Megumi Kuyama. I came from Japan to study Nutrition at College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. This is my senior year, and I spend most of my day on St. Paul campus:)

I transferred to the University of Minnesota in January 2009. My previous school had only 5000 students, so I was surprised by the size of this school, but I like this campus a lot now.

I am excited to share my life at the U and looking forward to getting to know you all!! Please feel free to ask me questions about college life, Nutrition, Japanese restaurants nearby, or anything!!

I know the school is getting busy and the weather is steadily getting colder, but I hope the semester is off to a great start for all of you:)

See you soon!

Nice to meet YOU

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Hey! I am Mengrou Cao, pronounce like Marilyn Monroe without the n:). My friends always call me Moro. I am Junior student in Carlson School of Management double major in Accounting and Supply Chain&Operation management. I am from Yunnan, China,which is located in the southwest of China. I have seen snow only three times before I came to Minnesota. This is one of the reason I chose University of Minnesota. I like Minnesota's winter because when it is snows, the world becomes brighter and quieter. Also, there are a lot of things to do in the winter here. I like making snow man and snow angle with my friends and my host family. Another exciting thing here is playing snowboard. I have to say I am totally falling in love with that sport. Look forward to seeing you in the U. Please feel free to leave me a comment if you have any question.


Heyloo everyone!

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SAM_0966.jpg Hey!

I'm Sugandha from New Delhi, the capital city of India. I'm a senior majoring in Genetics, Cell Biology and Development in College of Biological Sciences . I started my college career as a freshman in U of M, in the year 2008. It was an entirely new experience for me because I was starting a new phase of my life away from home. I chose this university because it offers world-class education, research opportunities and multicultural campus community. I have been living here since 3 years and I totally love my university. It's like home away from home!

A little more about myself, I love to DANCE! I haven't received any kind of formal training but whenever I hear music I just can't resist myself from dancing to the rhythm.. heheh! Apart from that I like to spend time in my research lab, hangout with my friends, meet interesting and smart people like you and look through my pictures from childhood (because I think that I was super cute then :D.)

Anyways, if you have any questions about the university, resources it got to offer you, life as an international student, ways to get involved here or even if you need a friend to talk to, feel free to leave a comment. I wish you all the best in life and I hope to see ya soon :)


Greetings! Nice to meet you!

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안녕하세요, hi, 你好, Salam, こんにちは!
My name is Sol.
I originally came from South Korea, Deajeon.
I was born in Seoul, which is the capital city of South Korea.
I am the first child in my family, and I have one younger sister.
I came to United States about 6 years ago, and I went to Hill-Murray high school in Maplewood, MN. I attended HM for 11th and 12th grade, and I came to U.
Here in U, I am majoring in psychology, and double minoring in both Chinese and retail merchandising. This is my junior year as an undergraduate student, and I am in CLA. My major when I applied U was theatre, but after first semester I changed my major to psychology. Why did I change my major? I will talk about it maybe next time. In that way, I can draw some attention from everyone! ;-)
Throughout my life I have been in many countries. China, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and two other states in America. I think my previous travel experiences helped me grow up, and built who I am now. I really like traveling, photography, reading, horseback riding, playing violin (YES! I play violin), watching movie, and listening music.
Traveling other countries made me interested in learning other countries' cultures, and that was one of my reasons why I chose to become International student ambassador.
I am here to help you all. I'd like to get to know you all, and please let me know when you have questions!
I am so excited to meet all, and once again, nice to meet you!
And until next time, keep yourself warm!

Hola amigos!

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Hey everyone!

My name is Ricardo Juarez and I am an international student at the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota. I am junior in the Mechanical Engineering department and have been living in MN for three and a half years overall. I could say that my favorite hobbies are watching movies, play soccer or FÚTBOL, I love to eat (probably not much of a hobbie more like a necesity lol) and go out and have a good time with friends.

Hello Everyone :)

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Hi everyone,
My name is Fatemeh (Some people are more comfortable to pronounce it Fatima!). You don't want to know my last name, as you wouldn't want to pronounce it! I am from Tehran, Iran. I am a junior majoring architecture here at the U. It is a lot of work, but I really enjoy it. I love chattering around whenever I am free, or not free. It doesn't really matter ;) I love any kind of sport, music, shopping, traveling, and having fun with friends.
I am looking forward to seeing you at the U.
Khodam, Fargo.jpg

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, visit 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.


Good Bye!

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Finally, the finals are done!! I feel so free now :)
But I am also sad because my best friends are graduating this week, and I'm writing a good bye message as an ambassador!! Thank you for visiting my blog and all your support! It was so great time to share my stories with you. I will go back to home next week, but if you guys have any question, please feel free to ask! If you guys are traveling out of country, don't forget to get a signature at ISSS office!

Hope you guys have a wonderful summer break and keep in touch ;)

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