Linda Luo is a South African student from China: Majoring in Biology and Minoring in Chemistry at the University of Redlands

Why did you decide to study in the USA?

I visited the USA for two summers of my high school to do summer course programs. My experiences were great and really provided me some perspective. I also really like the diversity I experienced. As a result, I’ve always just had plans to continue my higher education in the USA.

Additionally, I’ve always wanted to be in the health and medical field. My belief was that the USA was the place to receive the best education for medicine.

Why did you choose University of Redlands?

I heard about the university when a representative came to visit my school. I had relayed the information to my parents. They were at first very hesitant and upset that I would apply for a college that they never heard about. However, as time went on and they did some research of their own, they found that the university was actually quite good.

What really solidified my decision to go was because of mainly three reasons: location, financial aid and generosity. The school was the first to reply to me and the only university that provided a generous scholarship. Additionally, a business professor had flown to China and was so kindly to take my family out to dinner. In fact, when one of my high school teachers knew about the professor’s gesture, she convinced my mother that this was indeed a very caring and good school to consider. Consequently, I ended up going to the University of Redlands.

What do you like best?

I appreciate the small classes as they have helped me pay more attention in class and it is nice to have actual professors teaching and knowing their material to pass onto us.

I also am very grateful for the opportunity to really know my professors. They provide really good feedback and give really good advice to guide me in a good direction.

What do you miss most?

To be honest, I feel the most at home at my university and/or my time here in the USA. However, if home is meant where my family is living then I really just miss my family members and Chinese food.

What was your biggest surprise?

After some thought, I think some cultural shock I got was actually the American greeting habit. I often get confused why people will ask how you are and then proceed to walk away fast and not actually stay to hear how you really are.

... your biggest disappointment?

That Southern California does not have a very good public transportation system.            

How have you handled:

... finances?

Typically, my parents fund my education. Fortunately, my school has provided some academic scholarship. Working on campus has certainly helped me learn how to budget myself and to fund myself for living expenses.

What are your activities?

Here are some of the clubs that I’m involved with: Liberty in North Korea (LiNK), Hands for Africa (HFA), Biology Club, Phi Sigma (Biology Honours Society), Ultimate Frisbee, Redlands International Students Association (RISA) and Rotaract. I’ve also worked as a Global Ambassador, which the role was to help international students acclimate to the USA and the University of Redlands.

I did my community service requirement at the Micah House. It is a after school program that helps underprivileged children with school work and extra-curricular. Additionally, I am part of a local Redlands group associated with the Trinity Church.

How easy or difficult was making friends?

I think it’s on the easy end to make friends in the USA. In often cases, I find that Americans are very friendly. Sometimes they can be overly friendly and overzealous to help out. In fact, I have made my best friends here. They have made me feel very accepted and have helped me accept myself and understand myself better.

How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country? 

I initially wanted to become a doctor, but found that the financial costs and timeline was realistically very difficult to manage. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that I want to pursue becoming a physician’s assistant.

Since my goal is to eventually work and stay in the USA, I’ve started to build my skills and careers goals on what the USA requires and focusses on.

What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?

Talk to the Professional Department at your university as soon as possible. They may help you understand your status as a foreigner in the U.S. a little better, and therefore be able to aid you in job hunts so that you can secure your position here if the U.S. is where you plan to work.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There will always be someone that is willing to help you and understand your situation.

Try to explore diversity. Although it is nice to hang out with people that are from the same background like country and language, it’s actually very helpful and fun to make friends from different group types. Learning from someone that has little to no similarity to you is very productive and eye-opening.

University of Redlands

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