December 2011 Archives

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.

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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!!!!

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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