Globalized Campus: Peer Advice to International Students

Do you know, out of the 37,398 students enrolled in UC Davis in Fall 2016, 11.73% are international students? (As sciency as I am, I did the math – this is 4387 students!)

College is a great time to explore and experience. UC Davis not only provides great academic programs, but also creates a rich globalized environment where students can meet people from different cultures and nationality backgrounds.

The students in the official statistics above are F-1 or J-1 visa holding students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. They either study at UC Davis for a full four-year degree, for short term exchange, or for language programs. However, some students who had their entire education before college in another country, or moved around several countries, will also self identify as international students even if they are U.S. citizens.

For all the official and self-identified international students, know that you do have support from the College of Biological Sciences and that you are not experiencing the transitions alone. Here are some advice from a third year international student peer to anyone who has moved to UCD from far away:

  1. Reflect: What to gain from the UC Davis experience?

    As an international student, the first thing you will want to consider is, what do you want to gain from this study abroad experience? The earlier you identify your goal, the more time you can work on it and the more experience you can gain. Everyone has their own unique goal at UC Davis. If you want to immerse in American culture, join clubs and go to events. If you wish to improve on public speaking, take classes and do related internships. If you want to do research, start looking for opportunities in research labs. There are so many things you can do to design your own study abroad experience. Enjoy the best time of life!

  2. Be Open-minded

    Culture is an essential piece embedded in personal values and social structures. You may be aware of some cultural differences beforehand, but unexpected culture shock moments can happen. Be flexible when you experience unfamiliar situations, and be open to try new things (a food, an activity, or a GE class). Look at cultural differences as part of your UC Davis learning and don’t limit yourself!

  3. Academics/student status

    As you already know, UC Davis is in the quarter system, which is different from many other schools. Time can go by really fast on a quarter system, and by the time you know, it is already the first midterm! Remember to attend classes and utilize office hours/tutoring sessions to clarify any questions. As an international student, it is also very important to maintain full time status by taking at least 12 units every quarter. Other than that, remember to reach minimum progress every year, which is an average of 13 units per quarter. Read more about good academic standing on the UC Davis Office of the University Registrar page and visit the Services for International Students and Scholars if you have concerns related to your visa status.

  4. Finding Support

    UC Davis is a big campus, space-wise and population-wise, but you can definitely build your own sense of community. Professors and advisors are more than happy to help international students with questions related to academics and non-academics. The International center, Cross Culture Center, and the Student Health and Counseling Services are also great resources to seek help. Most importantly, be open to making new friends, and remember to stay in contact with family and your old pals. Don’t hesitate to reach out to other people for support!

Linya Hu
BASC Peer Advisor
Third Year, Genetics and Genomics Major


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