First Impressions: Spring 2020

With the spring semester well underway, the Global UGRAD students have been sharing their first impressions of the U.S. and the campuses they are calling home for the next several months. Check out how their experiences have been going so far!

Reggy Katigbak, the Philippines, University of Nevada-Reno

Although we have a lot of activities/requirements per course, I am really excited for this semester because all of the subject subjects are interesting and are aligned with my field of study. The things I love about my host university so far are the beautiful campus, the services offered, and the people. I was really surprised about how the professors take our studies seriously. They really think about our future, and they’re giving us all these opportunities to grow in different aspects, and I appreciate that very much.  I’ve been feeling a bit homesick lately too, but I’ve surrounded myself with good friends that I am starting to feel comfortable with and so I’m slowly adjusting in the best way. I believe that I was placed in a great university.




Linara Akhmedova, Uzbekistan, University of Missouri-St.Louis

Global UGRAD is the best thing that has happened to me! I am so blessed to be here! What I find the most exciting about this adventure is being in a melting pot of so many different cultures. Isn’t it amazing to be around people from all parts of the world and to be exposed to such amazing cultural diversity?! Another thing I am impressed with is the American system of education. I find it so effective, the way the lessons are conducted, the outstanding professors, and exciting group projects. All of this helps me day by day to become better, to improve my competence in different skills and grow as a person. I am so happy to make friends with Americans, they really help me to learn about American culture better and to debunk some common stereotypes about American life. I am looking forward to experiencing American life to the fullest, to make the most of these days, and to bring back many lifetime memories.

Camila Cruz Jacobo, Dominican Republic, St. Cloud State University

This is a place full of opportunities, and every day it surprises me with a new one! I feel very comfortable and I believe that I am adapting quite quickly thanks to the different activities that the university puts on to ensure that we feel at home. I have met many students in these few weeks, they come from different backgrounds and cultures, and they all are really kind. It always surprises me how I can smile to a stranger and that a person will smile at me in return as we were friends for a lifetime. I absolutely adore the Performing Arts Building Center. It has so many facilities! They allow us to use their cameras, computers and different equipment to make sure that we all have the same opportunity to do our homework and learn, it is something I have never seen before and I get amazed every time I think about that. There are a lot of organizations and activities based on entertainment, culture, and academic value. I decided to join one of these organizations, and I have also attended meetings of others to know a little about them. I am delighted with the importance given to diversity and empowerment, there are different centers designed to give support to every student on campus. It is a highly inclusive place. The classrooms are in very good condition, and although it is very cold outside, the interior of each building feels cozy and warm. I know I have been here for a very short time, but I am completely fascinated with it. I am determined to take advantage of each of the opportunities it offers to the students.

Anusha Maharjan, Nepal, Grand Valley State University

My favorite thing about my university so far is that they have their own student radio station, how cool is that? It’s called the “Whale WCKS The Whale,” quite an unusual name for a student radio station but I attended two of their meetings already, and I got to meet some amazing music lovers there. It has been great getting to know them better. The most surprising thing about the university for me was the public bus transportation “Ride the Rapid” is FREE OF COST and gives access to Downtown Grand Rapids! You don’t need to show your student identification, you can just board the bus without owing anything. Okay, I just need to smile and say “thank you so much” to the bus driver for taking me to my destination and nothing more! This was so surprising as in my country we don’t have free bus shuttle services.

Mykola Babiy, Ukraine, Presbyterian College

The second month of studying in Presbyterian College has started, and I am pretty satisfied with being here. I have engaging classes with professors that try to motivate you to study. I have made a lot of international friends, which have become so near and dear to me. Also, I am really glad to be in constant communication with Americans. At the end of the previous week, me and Gurami Jajanidze (Global UGRAD student from Georgia) presented our food and culture here in the college. Lots of Americans started asking questions about my different culture. Some of them turned out to have Ukrainian roots too. America has become a diverse place for me, where all the world is somehow connected. For example, this weekend we took a trip to Florida, and it was amazing to know that a lot of the population speaks Spanish. Food and buildings are somehow different from those even in the South and North, but this is the diversity that makes this country special and makes me understand new positive features of it.