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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

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!

What can you do with a Liberal Arts Degree?!

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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!

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!

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.

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