Welcome to our UB Ambassablog! Check back each week for our new posts answering some of your frequently asked questions and get to know our ambassadors!
Coming to UB has helped me to have a broad perspective about the world. I had the opportunity to meet new people from different countries, learn about the American culture, be involved with different students who share the same interests as me, and the most importantly, I improved myself as a person. UB offers a wide variety of opportunities from more than 600 clubs to 110 undergraduate degrees.
However, this is a new experience for all international students, and for many students, the process of adaptation could be a little bit overwhelming. UB takes care of every single student in its community, and it is conscious about its impact on the international student life. That is the reason why UB tries to make you feel integrated, and identify with all students.
One of the best opportunities to continue the connection with your culture is by being involved with a club. Throughout the beginning of my second semester, I began looking for a club which I could identify myself with, but one where I could also continue to develop my skills in a specific area. After looking at a variety of club's lists, I found what I was looking for: The Latin American Student Association, most commonly known by UB students as LASA. The goal of this organization is to educate members on Latino cultures, provide support, celebrate the traditions and customs from Latino cultures, and promote academic excellence and personal intellectual growth. I had the opportunity to make new friends while at the same time feel closer to my hometown. Like LASA, there are different clubs that represent different parts of the world, such as FASA (Filipino-student-association) or MASA (Malaysian student association).
UB is always seeking to promote integration and diversity, and one way to accomplish this goal is by organizing the International Fiesta every year. This event is a competition among different dance clubs that has as a main goal of promoting multiculturalism at UB while also exposing the students’ culture and beliefs around the world. Last week Fiesta took place in CFA (UB Center for the Arts); 4 international clubs were competing against each other. I had the opportunity to participate in this event with the LASA club and for me, it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Every year, Fiesta has a brand-new theme, and this year the topic was human nature. In the case of LASA, we tried to represent our performance through the story of Puerto Rico and how it develops over time. For our presentation, we perform 5 different short dances: Taino, Bomba, Chacha, Salsa, and Reggeaton. Every UB student was supporting each other, and UB also provided each club their own dressing room, food, and other facilities. Furthermore, the performances were evaluated by 6 different judges, who awarded LASA second place in the competition! We were really happy about this accomplishment because every LASA member put a lot of effort into the competition because we not only felt connected with the dance itself, but also with the history that we were transmitting, the customs, makeup, the scenario, etc. In the end, it felt really good the fact that our effort was recognized.
I cannot wait for next year’s Fiesta! Some students already have a lot of ideas and approaches on how to do our next presentation. Finally, we are excited because next month the LASA members and I are going to compete at Binghamton University where we will continue to present and express our culture.
The academic experience in the United States extends way beyond the classroom. Being engaged in extracurricular and supportive academic pursuits is a big part of the student life in US. UB is a research oriented university which makes it one of the best places to get undergraduate research experience in a variety of interdisciplinary subjects. The professors here are involved in a multitude of research projects and the students working under these professors end up publishing papers as well as presenting their research at conferences. As a student at UB, you can reach out to any of the professors on our research portalCURCA or in the concerned department and get involved with their project. Some professors also offer compensation for your work in the form of either pay/credits.
UB offers a wide variety of majors, minors and certificate programs. We have options ranging from pharmacy and engineering to theatre, music and arts. Along with that, you also have the flexibility to pursue a dual major, minor or a dual degree program. If you start early enough, you can chalk out an amazing and unique career path that truly shows who you are!
UB also offers plenty of student support and academic help services. For every class there are undergraduate and graduate teaching assistants. We have a dedicated math help center as well as academic centers offering free tutoring services in all residence halls.
Students frequently ask me as to how they can prepare for adapting to the US education system and the life here. The best advice I can give you is branch off the mainstream and explore different things. College is the ideal period of your life to try out new things and discover new hobbies, passions and interests. Take up cooking or drawing or dance and step out of your comfort zone. You will definitely be pleasantly surprised to discover that there are so many things that could interest you! With around 600 student clubs and organization you have unlimited opportunities. Make full use of all the resources on campus and make this college experience truly and uniquely yours!
Many students have some concerns about living off campus, especially for international students who might be in the U.S. for the first time. Since I live off campus, for now, I would like to share my experience with you. In my freshman year, I chose to live on north campus. Living on campus is the best way to get to know UB life and make friends in the community. If you are a freshman, I highly suggest you experience campus life through living in the dormitory. However, living off campus is also a good idea if you want to be more independent. After the first year, I wanted to start to cook for myself, and have my own living space. So, I moved into an apartment close to the north campus. It was also a great decision I have made! Living off campus is a whole different feeling compared with living in a dorm. But please remember, no matter where you choose to live, be sure you are comfortable with where you live and who you live with. Here are some tips that you should know about before living off campus.
1. Find a Safe Community
Safety is always the first consideration before you choose an apartment. Since living off campus means you are no longer in the school area, you should take responsibility to secure yourself. UB located in Amherst, NY where consistently been ranked one of the safest cities in the U.S. I highly recommend you find a safe area where is near the UB campus.
2. Know Your Needs
Another important thing before making the decision is to understand your needs for an apartment. There are many different types of apartments with various floor plans. Before choosing, you should know if you are okay with sharing a kitchen, living room, even a bathroom with roommates
3. Make a Budget Plan.
Having a budget is very necessary for students because the rent fee is quite a massive amount for a whole academic year. Also, you should know that most of the apartments do not include electronic fee and utility; even some places do not have furniture. So, be sure to include these fees into the budget.
4. Roommate is important!
Your roommate is the one you will meet with every day, and you also need to share a living area with them. My roommate and I get along together very well since we both like a quiet place and have the same habits. Choosing someone you know, or someone who has similar life habits is highly recommended.
5. Shopping & Transportation
Don’t worry if you don’t have a car. Many apartments offer shuttles every day. Also, they run the special line to grocery stores on the weekend. There are many different types of stores that you will like such as Wegmans, Target, Trader Joe, and Asia Food Market. They are both very close to UB. Now, going to grocery shopping became my weekend routine.
Where do I begin?! There is so much to say about living on campus! I guess I’ll start with how it all went down for me. It all began in April of 2018. After a lot of thought and discussion, I decided I would live on campus and let me tell you, that was a great decision. Why? Well, the answer is simple: I’ve grown. Not taller! How I wish that were the case but no, growth in terms mental, emotional and personal development as an individual. To see and experience dorm life as authentic and awesome as it comes is an experience of a lifetime.
When I first came to UB, everything seemed large and I seemed like a speck in this huge dynamic and vibrant environment. However, living on campus helped me gain momentum and joy as I began a new journey. It soon became my home away from home and a safe haven that filled the void of fear and loneliness.
Living on campus is a great way to get involved in the student community at UB. You get to meet people who are very similar and very different from you. You get to experience life with people of different countries, languages, cultures and traditions. You get to learn to love and appreciate the beauty in diversity. You get to see the exciting activities in Residence Halls ranging from watching movies, eating a variety of free food and playing a ton games! Lots and lots of fun games! At the end of the day it is going to be your home away from home!
There are so many places you can choose to live on campus: Ellicott complex, Governors, the south campus halls or the apartments! The choices are plenty! You could choose who you want to live with if you are coming with friends from your hometown or choose to be randomly allotted with someone you don’t know! Both these options are great sources of exposure.
Wherever you may choose to live, one thing is for sure, it is going to be a crazy roller coaster of amazing experiences, laughter and a whole lot of learning! It’s never a dull moment when you decide to live here at UB. I can tell you with utmost confidence that living on campus is the reason I have met my closest friends here at UB. Just remember to be you and be open to learning. Rest assured, you are going to have a fabulous time here at school! Hope I get to see you living with all of us here at UB!
One of the most common questions that I am asked is can I work while at UB? And the answer is yes! Of course!
As an international student you can work 20 hours per week on campus during the semester and 40 hours a week on/off campus during breaks. UB has tons of on campus employment opportunities that allow you to work right from your first semester!
Campus dining and shops hires freshmen students’ right from orientation. You can also work as a Teaching Assistant / Research Assistant, Resident Advisor, Academic Assistant, Tutor or the best of them all as an AMBASSADOR (just like us ;-P) !!
To become a Teaching Assistant you generally need to wait until after you have taken the class and need to get a high grade in the course. After completion of the course you can reach out to the instructor. Sometimes there is a formal application process which includes a personal statement and you may be asked to submit your latest UB Transcript and a copy of your resume.
In order to work as a Research Assistant you can look for opportunities on UB’s research opportunities website CURCA or reach out to a professor whose work you are interested in.
You can also work as an Academic Assistant or Resident Advisor with UB Campus living after completing a minimum of 6 months of living on campus. As a part of this position you get a single room on campus and you get all your housing fees waived off! There is a complete application process for both these position which includes answering a few short answer questions, securing recommendations, submitting a resume and interviewing with campus living staff.
As an Ambassador, you work at the Office of International Admissions and get to know new people planning to come to UB from across the world!
After securing an on campus employment you will need to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) so that you are eligible to get paid for your work. The pay is approximately $10.40 per hour and is good enough to cover all of your personal expenses!
Apart from the pay, some of the major perks of working is the experience you get and the friends that you make! Most of my friends on campus have worked with me at some point. You get to work as well as hangout post work with your friends!
In conclusion, it is a really enriching experience if you choose to work while at UB!
Greetings from University at Buffalo International Ambassador Team! It is great to be the first one writing Ambassablog this semester and we cannot wait to share with you guys the experience that we had during the time being a student at UB. My name is Lily Tran and I am going to tell you about how I got into UB.
The story of me applying for college in the US
I can’t believe it’s been almost 3 years since I started applying for college in America. I was an average student back then and the thought of applying to a high ranked university never came to my mind. I remember applying to 2 schools at first: California State University at Long Beach and University of Missouri – St. Louis. These two schools are decent but my dad asked me why I wouldn’t try to apply to one more school with a higher rank. And then we found out about UB. By doing some research online, I had to know that this is a good school (ranked #100 best public school in the US back in 2016 and now it’s #89) with affordable out of state tuition. As I said before, an average student like me never thought about going to some top schools in the US but I then told myself that I should give it a try.
There was one thing from UB that made a great first impression: The application process was super fast. I remember submitting all my scores and transcript that night and got the acceptance letter on the next morning. While at other schools, I had to wait a week or two. Right after I got the acceptance letter, I still had some confusion about which school I should choose. However, with the financial aid that the school offered me and there was an ambassador reached out to me, I decided to choose UB.
Becoming a UB student
I came in UB as Communication major; however, I realized that I like business better so I changed my major to Business concentration in Marketing after one year and a half. Turning to Marketing was a great decision because I never think that I like this major this much. I’m working on my dream to work at Unilever – one of the biggest Marketing Company in the world.
Becoming a UB student is not all about the academic, it’s about getting involved. Joining a club or doing volunteering helps me a lot in making new friends and learning from them. I know that it is hard to balance between social life and your academic; however, if you believe you can do it, you can do it. It’s very helpful for you if you know to take advantage of that to broaden your connections. It’s super easy to get engaged on campus; just keep track of your email or go to UBLinked on the Event Section and see what is going on campus.
Good luck! See you next time!
The start of term is almost here and I know you all are excited to start your journey at UB! The first few weeks of a semester are a fun period because the course load is decent and there is a lot happening on campus! So I encourage you to make the most of it!
This is the most fun and exciting week of the semester. There are a lot of events happening around the campus and it’s a good time to go out and meet new people. You should definitely make complete use of all the sessions that are offered during orientation. They will make your transition to UB and to the United States much easier. There are fairs, carnivals, late night bashes, etc. during the weekend before classes start. You will be able to meet the local students and can also spend some quality time with your roommates. (The carnival also features a Ferris wheel!! Yayy!!)
FIRST WEEK OF CLASSES:
This is a good time to get a feel of your classes and workload and see what works for you. The add-drop period ends one week after classes start. So, if you want to make any changes to your schedule then sit down with an academic advisor and plan it out. This is also the time when most clubs hold their first general body meetings. Joining clubs is one of the best way to make new friends and de-stress! First week is also a good time to get all your documents in order, submit your immunization forms, transcripts, transferring credits, etc. if you still need to catch up on those.
PREPARING FOR YOUR ACADEMICS:
UB offers a lot of resources for students to succeed. Reach out to the upperclassmen students and talk to them if you have any trouble adjusting or need any help. They have all been through this transition and will definitely have some words of wisdom to share. Attending TA and your professor’s office hours is a good way to get most of your doubts resolved. The professors love it when they see students taking efforts to learn the material and do well in class. If you live on dorms, there are free tutoring services available for all residents at the academic centers. You would definitely want to make use of those! Also, don’t forget to check your UB email regularly!
Wise people have said, the 4 years of college are the best years of your life! Live them to the fullest! Best of luck to everyone starting this new journey at UB!