I am very happy to start my master’s degree at the University of Illinois as an international student. This is my first time studying abroad. Coming to the US for the first time on my own, everything is such a great challenge for me. Booking plane tickets, commuting from Chicago to the Urbana-Champaign area, settling down, buying necessities, or even cooking, are all thrilling adventures. I am thankful so far that this process went smoothly, especially during the pandemic. I also met many friends from different regions, and we all support each other in a new environment. I even started a new hobby of vlogging to treasure all these memorable times
I have had a good time experiencing the campus culture. Here are some things I found remarkable:
⟨Distance between places⟩
First, the distance between everywhere. The campus of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is much bigger than I ever imagined. The distance between locations is a lot farther than expected, which is very different from the schools I have studied in before. And of course, it may take more time to travel to different places. At first, I was not quite used to it; however, in another way, it is very relaxing to enjoy the beautiful view of campus while walking. If it is not within a walking distance, like going to the shopping centers in the Champaign area, the well-organized campus bus system offers lots of routes and it is very convenient to commute to another place, which is quite nice for new students who just came here like me or those without a car on campus.
Despite the distance, campus is filled with good vibes and makes everyone well-connected. The school offers a variety of activities, such as workshops, recreation activities and of course concerts, in which many people participate enthusiastically. Also, I often see people enjoying the sunshine on the quad (I don’t know if this will happen in the snowy winter), no matter alone or in groups, just relaxing or chatting or discussing with friends. Some even take a nap in a hammock or play some ball games! Maybe I can often experience this kind of cozy lifestyle and a relaxing mood on campus in the future. In addition to these various fun activities, my peers are also very hard working and highly involved in class discussions. There are always many people studying in libraries, which surely creates a great academic atmosphere as well.
I have met many people from different countries in classes and through social activities. They are all very nice and friendly, which makes me feel quite comfortable in a foreign country. The professors care about their students very much, and my classmates are so wonderful as well. Every time we chat or have dinner together, they always provide me emotional support. I am also involved in chamber music, piano accompanying, and the wind orchestra. I enjoy making music with lots of talented musicians. Not only do we communicate in English, but also through music. Having performances on stage together always creates happiness and a sense of belonging.
Well, I think there are more things waiting for me to explore thoroughly. Now is just the start and I really look forward to enjoying the rest of my colorful graduate life here.
Chin-Hsuan Sharon Cheng (written in September, 2021)
Chin-Hsuan Sharon Cheng（2021年9月）