Thursday, December 24, 2015

What to do on Hoilday Breaks?

Finals week has officially ended (WOOT), and now its time to relax, sleep for long hours and figure out what to do for the holidays. Winter break is short (23 days) yet we get to celebrate two of my favorite holidays, Christmas and New years.

Some students make plans to go visit family in their home country and some of us, myself included, who can't go home due to financial or other reasons, spend the holiday break with friends and/or family in the states.




Quick Fact: Approximately 85% of the students at USU are living away from home. Campus feels a little lonely at times because most students travel home to spend the holidays with their family. However, there is always students that stay in Logan. For us international students, we get together, celebrate and make the best out of the break.

I have spend the Holidays in Logan/ Utah. If you decide to stay in Logan/ Utah for the Holidays, here are some places I recommend visiting and things you can do.


1. Sledding down Old Main! Yes, you don't have to go far to enjoy the snow.














2. Hard Ware Ranch is one of the most magical places I have visited in Logan. There you visit ELKs.


3.Visit the Temple Square lights in Salt Lake City to get into a Holiday spirit.   












4. Skiing and Snowboarding. 

If you have never went skiing/ snowboarding, this is your chance. People from all over the world come to Utah to ski and snowboard. Beaver Mountain is about 40mins away from campus so you and your friends can go skiing/snowboarding any time you want. It will be a cool experience!  




Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Winter Break!

Hi Everyone!


Yes, Finals Week is upon us. But, something that is getting closer is our winter break. Winter Break is a 3 week break in between the Fall and Spring Semesters to allow students to have a little breather before getting back to school and starting another busy semester. So, if you are not going back to your home country, what can you do in Utah?


Something that I really like is going down to Salt Lake City. At this time of the year, Temple Square has lights put up. It is so pretty and you get to walk around and feel of the Christmas Spirit.


Another thing that you can do is to go skiing. Depending on how much snow there is, the slopes may be open. And if you don't know how to ski or snowboard, you can always take classes.


What would I advise? Do something that you will never get a chance to do in your home country. Enjoy Logan. And have fun during this break!


Go Aggies!

Exams, exmas...... EXAMS!

Hi everyone. Finals week is around the corner and it can be a very stressful time of the year. Here at USU, the week before finals is known as "dead week". During this week, teachers are not supposed to give and tests, and this is the week where most of our projects and assignments are due. It also gives us a chance to wrap up the semester and to spend more time preparing for our finals. USU also understands how important having places to study is, so the library and computer labs have extended their opening hours to allow more students to stay on campus to study.
There are also many resources on campus that students can use if they need help. There is a free Math and Statistics Tutoring Center. Students that would like to improve their study skills can go to the Academic Success Center to visit with advisors on how you can have better study sessions. And if things are getting a little too rough, we have our Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) to help.
So. Have a great week!

Go Aggies!   

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

VACATION IS AROUND THE CORNER!

As the finals week is getting closer, international students start getting ready to pack and go home! This is the most exiting time of the year for me because finally after one year and seven months I can go home and see my family and friends. Not everything is awesome because even though I'm really exited to go home, I  cant stop thinking about finals week. You guys probably don't know what "saving the semester" is yet, but I assure you that once you are on your junior year you will understand. To make things simple; I will explain what this means. "Saving the semester" means that the first few months you didn't do good in a class, and your only chance to pass it is to study really hard for the final and pray to get a good grade. well that's me right now! I'm praying to get a good grade in genetics.


Lets forget about all that finals week stress, and lets focus about going back home!
I want to do so many things will I'm there that I cant even plane what I want to do. The only thing that I know for sure that I will do is cry when I step outside of the airport and see my family. I don't know why I always cry when I return home. I guess that after a long time being outside of your country and far from your family there is nothing better than seeing them again! ( or I'm just too emotional-This is very true!). This Christmas is going to be very interesting because my American boyfriend is coming home with me! He DOESNT know much Spanish, and most of my family doesn't speak English. We've been dating for two years and three months already, and this is his first time meeting my family. I think they will love him because he is very kind, funny and loves food. Talking about food... I cant wait to eat Dominican food. This is the second thing that I will for sure do, eat "LA BANDERA DOMINICANA" which is a Dominican plate that has rice, chicken, and beans. Lets not forget our friend the avocado! ummmm know I cant stop thinking about food!!! Like fried plantains with salami, "un sancochito" (which is a type of Dominican food), "moro de guandules" ( type of rice mix with beans), "pastelon de todo tipo" (this is a bake meal, and I said all kinds of it) , and last but not least "batida" which is like a milk shake made out of natural fruit. This is just a little description of what I will be eating, but there is so much more to add to it. I just don't want to make this post too long!


I cant wait to go to the rivers and the beaches. I don't want to brag about it, but we have the most beautiful beaches in the worlds, and I cant wait to go swimming in one of them. They have the most crystalline water and the whiter sand in the entire world. Some of this beautiful places are Bahia de las Aguilas, Punta Cana, Cayo Levantado, Las Terrenas, Sosua, etc.


I love going to Utah State, and living at Logan, but there is nothing like going home. I cant wait to listen to Dominican Christmas songs which are very cheerful, and dance along the rhythm of the tambourines. there is nothing like going back to where you are from after a long journey somewhere else.
    

Go Aggies!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

It's Thanksgiving Break!

All work and no play makes everyone dull! Something that every student looks forward to are the breaks. This past weekend was our Thanksgiving break. In America, there are so many different holidays that many international students would never have the chance of experiencing if they were not in America. One of my particular favorites is Thanksgiving. The Thanksgiving holiday is used to help us remember the things that we are thankful for. It also gives families a chance to get together and helps to build stronger ties within family and friends. I know that many international students do not have families here. So how do we celebrate Thanksgiving? We have our friends to be thankful for. This year, I went to a friend's farm near Logan to have Thanksgiving dinner with them. I got to have my favorite turkey!
Another thing that we have this Thanksgiving season is snow. Lots and lots of snow! I come from a country where we do not have the four seasons and I have never seen snow. Coming to USU, I was able to have the experience of living in a country where it snows. And when it snows in Logan, we get a lot. So please remember to dress warm and enjoy the beautiful scenery that that snow brings as well.

Go Aggies!

Housing

When coming to USU, the one common thing that every student has to go through is to select housing. The decision of whether to stay on-campus or off-campus can be a very important one. In my first year, I made the decision to stay on-campus in the Mountain View Towers, which is an all male housing. This proved to be a very pivotal decision for me because it helped me to settle into life here at USU. I was able to make many friends and learn the culture of being here in Logan. Many of the friends that I made still remain close friends till this day. You also have the opportunity to be involved in many fun activities that the Housing Department puts on for the students.
I would recommend every student coming to USU to look into staying on-campus. It is a great way to kick off your first semester here and to soak in the life here in USU and Logan. Plus, being on campus makes it easier to go to your classes. And it is very safe too!

Go Aggies!

Events on Campus

Ever since I knew that I was coming to USU to study I have been looking forward to going to the sporting events. I had heard before coming here that our fans were the best in the nation and I wanted to experience it for myself firsthand. Naturally, when I had the chance to attend the football and basketball games, I jumped at the opportunity to do so.
First, let me tell you about the football games. The Maverick Stadium is where the football games are played. We have thousands of fans ranging from students to teachers, even alumni coming back to support the Aggies. As students, we get free tickets to the games which we can collect from the card office. One of my most memorable games that I have ever been to is the one where we played the University of Utah in my first year. It was such a close game. We even went into overtime and eventually won! All the fans in the stand rushed onto the field to congratulate and celebrate with the players. What an amazing experience!
Our basketball games are just as intense. Our fans go all out and cheer for our team throughout the whole game. Being in the Spectrum with that many fans and cheering along gives me such a sense of pride and it is so fun! Oh. Basketball games are free to students too!
If you are ever in Logan, going to one of our sporting events is a must. I look forward to cheering alongside you soon!

Go Aggies!

USU INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION WEEK AT A GLANCE


International Education Week is an annual event held at schools throughout the country to celebrate the benefits of international education, international students and diversity. Utah State participated by organizing various events to highlight international students and their cultures, and students study abroad experiences. I was able to attend most of the events and I had a blast.




 













MR. & MISS INTERNATIONAL was the first event of the week. International and multicultural students presented their native culture through dress, talent and video to compete for the Mr. & Miss international title. We had participants representing the Dominican Republic, India, Saudi Arabia and the United States. Miss Dominican and Mr. India took the tile for Miss and Mr. International this year. All the participants did great showcasing their unique talents while representing their cultures. 



AROUND THE WORLD FAMILY NIGHT
Consisted of fun activities including international fashion show and cultural performances open for USU students and community.



STUDY ABROAD PHOTO CONTEST
Displayed photos from USU students’ recent study abroad adventures. Picture with the most vote won a prize.


DIWALI - "The Festival of Lights"
The Indian Student Association put together the annual 'Festival of Light' celebration through great performances, great food and games. This event was my favorite. I had borrowed an Indian outfit and got to pretend to be Indian for the night. Aside from that, I won prizes for wearing a traditional outfit to the event.
Do I pass for Indian or what? lol

 


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

International week!

International Education Week is an annual event that is there to help students expand their horizon about the diversity here on USU's campus through various sub-events throughout the week. The event will include exciting activities such as: a fashion show, a family night, a photo contest, guest speakers, food and fun games.


This week is celebrated with enthusiasm by all the international students on campus, like me! This week allow the students to share their culture through events where they can explain to everyone how living in their country is like by sharing their food, dances, and more.


We stared the international week off by celebrating the Mr. and Miss international pageant where a group of students from different countries competed for the crown. To win the crown; the students had to make an introductory video explaining who they are, how living in their country is like, and other things about themselves. They also had to put up a talent show that reassemble their cultures, and finally they had to answer a question selected by the judges. At the end of the night Mr. India and Miss Dominican Republic were crown as the Mr. and Miss International 2015-2016.


We also had the around the world family night where the international student council together with all the international clubs put on a night for the international families to enjoy. Here we had performances from the different clubs, and from the new Mr. and miss international. Also each club had a table set up where they had videos, objects and food typical from their country. Let's not forget that we also had Aggie Ice-cream.


On the next couple of days we will also have other interesting events like:
  • The study abroad photo contest where you can view photos from USU students' recent study abroad adventures, and you can vote for your favorite ones, and others.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Apply for Housing!



As a student you have the opportunity to either live on or off campus, Yes! the decision is all yours. However it’s hard to make that decision, when you are in a different country, without knowing what these options are......... Here, I provided resources for you to explore the different housing options so as to help you compare and make that decision.

The USU housing department has provided short video clips to show you what campus housing looks like and provided you with information on where they are located. You can check out these virtual tours at the linkS below.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLKjRF3mmEsGhin06LfiWbxcIZXQXgGo01

On- Campus:
Single Housing: https://www.usu.edu/housing/singlehousing/
Family Housing: https://www.usu.edu/housing/familyhousing/

Living on campus, you will experience student life in whole different level .......
Each residence hall have residential assistants (RA), who are like your to-go person if you need anything. They are like your student mentor pretty much!  RA's plan different extracurricular activates that can enhance your collage experience and help you to make friends with the other students in your complex.

One thing to notice is that if you wish to live on campus you will need to have a meal plan. You will find more info about the different meal plan options on the link below.
https://www.usu.edu/dining/htm/dining-meal-plan-options


Off- Campus: 
Living off-campus is like living at home with no parents. I have lived off-campus since I started school at USU. I currently live with 5 roommates and the house is literally 5 mins walk from campus. Most off campus houses are not that far from campus. Logan is a college town which means its a community dominated by students. Therefore, wherever you decide to live you will always be around students. If you live off campus, meal plans are optional not mandatory.

Use the resources provided in this link to explore more off- campus housing options, http://www.usu.edu/soar/intl/housing/offcampus/



Living off campus doesn't make you less of an Aggie or limit you from staying connected to campus life. 

GO AGGIES! 










Tuesday, November 24, 2015

International Education WeeK @ Utah State University



International Education Week is the best time for all Aggies to get to know the international student culture and ongoing efforts at USU. This comprehensive list of events represent many cultures and best of all, there are activities for everyone!

If you like good food and performances, Diwali is the event to go.   

If you are a fashion guru and want to learn anything and everything about ethnic clothing, Family Night is your place to be at. 

If you are a social media expert, and like posting pictures from your travel around the world, Photo Contest is what you should check out.

If you believe that you possess a talent that you can use to win a cultural pageant, Mr. and Miss International is the contest you should participate in.  

This marathon of great events is put together by International Student Council (ISC), and here is their website:


Being an international student at USU is a rewarding experience for me and I am proud to represent the International Aggie culture to prospective students!

╔═════════════════╗
║        AREG HAYTAYAN    
╚═════════════════╝





Sunday, November 22, 2015

Lets Talk International Week - Yuzhen Luo

International students are an asset to USU diversity. International week started competitively with Mr and Miss International, filled with love and laughter with International Family Night on Monday, and finished brilliantly with Diwali on Saturday. What a phenomenal achievement by the Office Of Global Engagement, International Student Council, and the international student clubs.
I mentioned Mr and Miss International earlier last week so if you missed out, make sure to go back and catch up. Diving in, Family Night is probably one of my favorite. It's all about sharing culture and diversity through music, dances, fashion, food, games, and all sorts of entertainment. The best part - it's free! At USU, we are family. Family breaks all barriers by introducing kids and balloons - unbelievably cute!
Diwali - also known as The Festival of Light, is an Indian celebration for the victory of Light over Darkness. The stage was packed with energy and action, the food was fantastic and the ambiance was victorious! Great achievement by the Indian Student Association and we thank them for sharing their light with USU. Happy Diwali!






A visit to international high schools - Yuzhen Luo

As an international ambassador, it is our responsibility to build and reinforce the bridges between high school and college. Last week was my first time as I had the opportunity to visit three different high schools, namely, Snow College, Selnate International School, and Wasatch Academy. These high schools were located just about two hours drive from Logan (trust me, the drive was beautiful - see picture for yourself). These visits consist of giving free USU stuff, building better relationships with professionals and teachers, and sitting in a student panel. The goal of these visits was to share our experience as Aggies (or Utah State University students) and excite them for what it's like to be at USU. As for me, when interacting with the high school students, I spoke from the heart. I can vividly recall about 4 years ago, I was in their exact same position, same state of mind, with the same questions; what to do, how to do it, and where to go next?
To answer these questions, we present our best knowledge in areas of academics, sports, residence life, outdoor recreations, clubs and organizations etc etc....  Our influence on these students can impact them for the rest of their lives. It's a win-win situation for all of us and we definitely look forward to future high school visits and welcoming new Aggies to USU.









Sunday, November 15, 2015

International Education Week - Mr and Miss International - Yuzhen Luo

It's time! Time for international students to showcase their cultures and celebrate diversity on campus. This year, the International Student Council (ISC) kick started the week with Mr. and Miss International Pageant. Mr and Miss International  is a tradition that is well preserved by the international student body and this year was no exception. It involves students with international cultures or heritage to demonstrate their unique cultures through videos, performances, and questions and answers. Contestants are evaluated by judges and at the end of the night we crown a new Mr. and International. This year we congratulate  Mr India and Miss Dominican Republic for their outstanding performances and representations of their cultures. Without further due, let's take you to the fun part! Remember, this is just the beginning.....










Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween at USU - Yuzhen Luo

It's Halloween!!!! This is a celebration and it can be traced back to Christian (or religious) roots, for more information follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWQm79Ftc98
But what does this mean for USU and students? Basically, just another excuse to party! At USU, Halloween is celebrated extensively through dance parties, pumpkin carving, watching scary movies, costume competitions, trick or treating, and everything that is spooky, scary and freaky. Back home, we don't celebrate Halloween so it was a learning experience for me. Since I am not a fan of ghosts, blood, or scary movies, it was a rather scary experience for me to see myself surrounded in such an environment - good thing it only lasts a week. However, as time progressed, it just becomes a week of parties and candies and all the scary stuff just become a cliche - you'll get used it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Live ON campus

Living on campus has gave me the opportunity to easily meet friends my first year of college, and also the rest of the years which is crucial for a freshmen that is new in the area. Every time that there is an event or activity going on I'm one of the first person to know because I live on campus and there are always posters of the activities around the residential halls. Also all my classes are yous minutes away. I love that I can wake up ten minutes before class and still make it. Plus, if I'm late for any class, I just need to throw something on and run to class and still make it, so there is no way that I will missed class.

Studies have shown that students that live on campus:

  • Get better grades
  • The drop out rate is lower
  • Take more credits, which will help them to graduate faster
  • Are more satisfied with their college experience
On campus housing is very convenient. The utilities are included as well as TV cable and high speed wireless internet. Depending on the location of the residential hall other things can be included, like laundry room, big common area with big-screen TV, volleyball court, covered parking, private work out and others.
We have different styles including family housing, single housing that can either be traditional, apartment or suite styles, and also different prices convenient for any student. You can find out more about this apartments at www.usu.edu/housing/ 

Personally from all the places that I've live in I like the apartment style more that any other just because I feel like I'm at home away from home. This apartment has a living room, a little kitchen, a private bathroom, and on top I can get a private room! Don't get me wrong, my first year I had a share room and a roommate, it definitely was the best experience I've ever had, but she left the next year and since to me she was the perfect roommate I was afraid to get a different one.

Something else that I love about my residential hall is that they always have an activity going on! sometimes they have Netflix and ice cream night, pizza night, game night, or other activities for the residents.  

I love being a resident at Utah State University!


Sunday, October 25, 2015

USU Housing - Yuzhen Luo

Okay! ...... Pause for a second....... Now imagine yourself in a foreign country; different people, culture, language, you are not sure how to get to the international office, you are not familiar with the transportation, you don't know where to find your academic adviser, you are not sure what to expect when it comes to dinner, in fact, you are not even sure where you can find food! Those were some of my barriers when I first came to USU. My starting point to overcome these barriers was on campus housing. I mean, if you think about 'housing' as a location where you are summoned everyday and where you report to at and the end of everyday - it actually does play a very big role during your time at college.

First I would like to clarify that campus housing is not simply a room or rooms with bed spaces and studying tables, there is a life there! Hence we also call it residence life. Living on campus is definitely a great way to be introduced to American culture. Yes,  American culture does exist! I enjoyed my experience as an international student living on campus for the past three years - here's why. 
I had to start somewhere. It could have been anywhere but I chose residence life (or campus housing) as my starting point. You know when you first end up in a foreign place, you tend to be this quiet person that just stands around, looks around, and just follow along? At least that's how it was for me. Residence life offered the opportunities for me to tag along with groups of friends that shared common interests - the community is very friendly and welcoming. For me, residence life was where I met some of the most influential people throughout my time. Whether it's sitting at the dining tables, playing volleyball at the lawns, converging in the studying rooms to play board games, or challenging each other in table tennis, pool or foosball, it was always a fun, entertaining, and engaging. 

Campus housing offered the convenience to literally everything! From classrooms, to fitness centers, transportation, entertainment, food, parking, etc etc... there's just too much to list. Imagine waking up at 7:20 am for your 7:30 am class (you know, it happens!), nothing beats the comfort to get to class in 5 mins! 

All I can say is that you will not regret your decision to live on campus. It has been a rewarding experience for me and I can only imagine that it gets better every year.