SERVING UP A FRESH START
UOP is one of the most beautiful schools in the United States. I’ve been able to learn about so many other different cultures, meet new people and learn about different things that I wouldn’t have been able to do in China. My major is computer science and UOP is near Silicon Valley, which was a big reason why I chose to go to UOP. I love to drive around the Google campus and see the possibility of my future, especially since I would like to do a co-op internship in Silicon Valley with either Google or Facebook. I had a friend who worked with Intel and he said his experience with the company was very exciting and he learned skills that you just can’t learn on campus.
When I first came here, I experienced a lot of culture shock—I couldn’t even speak with others. I didn’t know how to communicate with other students, and when I went to a restaurant, I didn’t know how to ask for the check or how to give a tip; it was very awkward. When I took my first class, I was very uncomfortable—I couldn’t even understand what the teacher was saying. But my English has improved by hanging out with others and studying with other English speakers; I’ve even organized student study groups for my classes. But the University of the Pacific International program has also been a huge help. They get students together to go to football or basketball games, and they organize an event called Taste of Nations, where we can try food from all over the world. It’s very interesting—I make a lot of friends going to events and my favorite thing to do is eat, so I love it.
Coming to UOP has given me a new life—a fresh start where everything is different. You can build a new network, learn a new language or culture, and gain a whole new type of educational experience. The class sizes are small, which is very helpful so the professor can focus on each student. It’s not like China where each class has hundreds of students. But aside from the minor differences, I think I have changed a lot, too. Back in China, I really didn’t know what I should do with my future. But since coming here, I’ve realized the importance of finding a good job, like at Google, and how to be independent. Before coming here, I depended on my parents for everything, but now I have to work it out myself.
Time for fun:
If it’s the weekend, my friends and I will go to San Francisco or San Jose. When I go to San Francisco, my friends and I get fancy food, go shopping and walk around Union Square. Last time I visited, we went to Chinatown. There are so many good restaurants, so if I’m ever missing China, I go there to get something to eat. I also really like the breeze in San Francisco—it always feels so smooth and smells really good, and I love the Golden Gate Bridge. The first time I went, I took a boat from Fisherman’s Wharf and it went underneath the bridge; it was a great experience. But on campus, my friends and I like to go to the movie theater or go bowling and I really like to cook and teach my American friends about Chinese food. Before I came to America, I didn’t know how to cook, but I’ve been learning how to make Cantonese and Szechuan food for my friends. During my first semester, I had an American roommate who really liked Chinese culture, so I brought him to a Chinese dim sum restaurant and ordered chicken feet. When he first saw the food, he didn’t want to eat it, but after trying it he thought it was so delicious and eats dim sum all the time now.