Experiencing U.S. Academics

Global UGRAD students bring diverse perspectives to U.S. campuses. From over 60 countries around the world, they provide different ideas and experiences that enrich the classroom environment and foster global understanding. While studying in another country is a thrilling adventure, it also comes with a set of challenges such as language barriers, cultural adjustments, and adapting to a new education system. However, Global UGRADs are embracing this experience with open arms!

Thu Anh Huynh, a UGRAD from Vietnam who studies at Boise State University, shares, “When attending a class in the U.S., it is not a typical one with long lectures from professors as in my country. It is truly a discussion with numerous perspectives. In addition, the students are also engaged in lessons with additional materials and readings.” Moreover, students can take advantage of a wide array of course offerings at their host institutions.

Rejana Avdiaj posing with her ISP certificate in the UNI library

As Global UGRADs are settling into their campuses, they have found their favorite study spots where they can focus. Katerine Soto, from Panama and attending Bemidji State University, states, “My favorite place to study is in the university cafeteria, Eco Ground. It is the perfect place for me. I personally like to work with some background noise. It is located in a very central location on campus, that way while I am working I can still see the activities from the windows. It depends a lot on what I’m doing but for assignments it is perfect.”

Aside from coursework, Global UGRADs are involved in other projects. Rejana Avdiaj, from Albania, joined International Student Promoters (ISP) at the University of Northern Iowa. Rejana explains, “I have been participating in this group since they introduced us to it in the beginning. We hold trainings on how to be professional promoters for the university and for other international students who are thinking of attending the University of Northern Iowa. As a member of ISP, I am a spokesperson for the YouTube group and help create content for our YouTube channel. We also represent our cultures; I created a video and presentation about Albania and shared it with other students.”

Weng Lam Chiew attending a manufacturing exhibition in Chicago

Weng Lam Chiew, from Malaysia, also studying at the University of Northern Iowa, visited a manufacturing exhibition in Chicago. He shares, “I gained valuable insights from this event, which enriched my technical understanding of manufacturing technologies and cutting-edge innovations like AI-powered automated welding arms, 3D printing, and 3D scanning. Additionally, I had the opportunity to network with like-minded peers from universities and experienced engineers. A career path-sharing speech from a senior member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) definitely gave me inspiration and guided my thinking process for my future career path. Overall, it was a fruitful and eye-opening trip.”

As these students demonstrate, Global UGRADs embark on a unique academic journey filled with opportunities. They bring a world of perspectives to U.S. classrooms and, in return, gain knowledge, skills, and experiences that can shape their futures.