Hear from some of our previous International Students about their experiences here at Humboldt State University!
As an animal biotechnology major in China, Jiayun Yang knew he wanted to continue his studies at a rigorous university in the United States.
Out of several options, he chose Humboldt State.
“I knew that HSU would have a wonderful environment for learning because it’s near the forest and ocean,” says Yang who is from Lanzhou, a dry city in the Gansu province.
“The weather in Arcata never gets too hot or cold, “ says Yang, “and the people are very supportive.”
Yang spent his first year in the Intensive English Language Institute (IELI), a multi-level program that helps students improve their English through classes, excursions and visits with American conversation partners.
“I went from a low level of English to a high level very quickly,” Yang says.
IELI laid the groundwork for Yang’s undergraduate studies in cellular and molecular biology. His courses are diverse and combine lab work with hands-on research.
A highlight has been his botany class, which gave him the opportunity to identify hundreds of plant species in the Arcata Community Forest. Adjacent to HSU, the 600-acre forest provides numerous learning opportunities for students in a variety of majors.
Outside of class, Yang plays club basketball and is a member of the Global Connections Club, which organizes social and cultural events like karaoke nights and Chinese New Year.
His favorite part of HSU? The people.
“When I go out, people will just walk up to me and say ‘Hi!’ Everyone is so nice and friendly,” Yang says. “I’m always making friends!”
When Yue Shen was considering graduate programs in education, Humboldt State immediately caught her eye. She was looking for a small school with rigorous academics.
“HSU has very strong programs and it is the type of place where you can get plenty of help academically,” Shen says.
With an average class size of 29, international students get one-one-on attention from their professors.
That sense of community extends beyond the classrom, Shen says: “Even outside of school people are friendly. Everyone is always smiling.”
Shen grew up outside of Shanghai and studied English to Chinese translation at Xi’an International Studies University. She is researching teaching methods at HSU and how education can improve one’s quality of life.
“All of my professors are experts in their field and very enthusiastic about teaching,” she says. Her goal is to earn a Ph.D. in education in the United States and eventually teach in China. “I’m very interested in teaching the next generation,” she says.
One of Shen’s favorite things about HSU is having the freedom to select her classes and her course of study.
“I really appreciate the fact that I can make my own decisions,” she says. “There is a higher expectation to be on your own, but it helps you grow.”
For Yang Yang, studying at Humboldt State hasn’t just given her an undergraduate education. It’s opened the door to numerous career and academic opportunities.
After graduating from HSU, Yang earned her master’s degree in geography at the London School of Economics. She recently received a scholarship from the University of Colorado to pursue a doctorate in geography.
HSU’s dedicated professors and small classes helped lay the groundwork for her success, she says.
“HSU gave me lots of opportunities to get engaged in class and group discussions, to become a critical thinker and a confident individual,” she says. “It also allowed me to step out of my niche and expose myself to something new and different.”
So what’s next? “I would like to become a cultural geography professor but I haven’t decided where yet,” Yang says. “As someone who is always enjoying adventures, I am open to new places where I have never been!”
When Musaad Alowaysi arrived at Humboldt State from Saudi Arabia, he spoke very little English.
“I knew maybe three or four words, but that was it,” says Alowaysi, who received a scholarship to study at HSU.
Alowaysi spent a year improving his English in Humboldt State’s Intensive English Language Institute and is now studying business. His goal? To receive a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) at HSU and eventually work in the United States.
HSU’s MBA is a unique program that allows students to earn a degree in one academic year instead of two.
Alowaysi has also taken advantage of the numerous outdoor activities HSU has to offer. Earlier this year, he joined other international students for a river-rafting trip organized through the Center for International Programs.
They spent a day in the sun and three hours river rafting. His favorite part? “The amazing weather,” he says.
When it comes to campus life, Alowaysi appreciates the balance that students strike between work and leisure.
“People study here and are motivated, but they also find time to go hiking, camping and take advantage of all the fun things to do here!” he says.
1. Where are you from?
I am from Gimpo, South Korea. The city is located at the river mouth of Han River and has 300,000 residents.
2. Why did you choose to come to Humboldt State?
Before I decided to apply for an exchange student program, I had heard about the tallest trees on earth. I really wanted to visit those magnificent forests one day in my life, and it seemed like the exchange program between HSU and my university (Kangwon National University) was the best opportunity for me to see and study the forest.
3. What is your major and why did you choose that?
When I was in a middle school, I read a book named 'The Man Who Planted Trees' and I was inspired by it. Like the man who planted trees on a wasteland dedicating his life, my dream is to plant trees in deforested areas of North Korea. This is why I chose forestry as my major.
4. What has been your favorite class at Humboldt State so far? Why?
Forest Ecology. The instructor, Dr. Stuart, was open to any questions. The most interesting thing was that there was a lot of learning in the field. Every two weeks we went to Prairie Creek, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, or the Arcata Community Forest. I could get hands-on experience, which is better than sitting and listening in a classroom!
5. What do you like to do off campus or in Humboldt County?
6. What have you enjoyed most about coming to Humboldt State?
That is really a hard question because I enjoy a lot of things here! If I had to choose one thing, CCAT (Campus Center for Appropriate Technology) would be my answer. I went there several times to volunteer and it was really cool. I could meet many people who have similar ideas for sustainability. I could do meaningful work like making bricks with clay and reused paper, making fertilizer with the food waste of our campus, and planting vegetables. Every Friday is volunteer day and they have a lot of other events, so I recommend visiting to all of the international students.