My name is Jacqueline Siew, and I am from Sabah, Malaysia. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Health and Exercise Science from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, in December 2020. I initially intended to attend the University of New Hampshire (UNH) in Durham, New Hampshire as a first-year student in 2017. After taking a year off from school due to medical reasons, I decided to transfer to Pacific.
The biggest reason why I decided to attend Pacific was because I preferred a more close-knit community. At Pacific, I managed to form close relationships with my academic advisor and professors, which allowed me to receive more direct guidance and assistance throughout my college years. Although there were fewer students at Pacific, it did not mean my experience there was all dull and boring. Our university hosted all kinds of events and activities, whether it was academic, social, sports, career, or religion related. For example, we had talk shows and concerts of famous celebrities; career fairs where students get to meet with different companies, firms, or even future employers; NCAA tournaments for college athletes; etc.
When I first stepped foot into Pacific’s main campus in Stockton, I thought I was in one of the Harry Potter movies! The crisp air, the explosion of fall colors, and a stunning view of ancient-looking buildings surrounded by deciduous trees. It felt like a new beginning to me.
In contrast to public universities like UNH, Pacific is a private college that has a rather small and cozy campus. Nonetheless, it offers all kinds of services and facilities tailored to students’ needs. There is distinct infrastructure for different schools and colleges, advanced laboratories and equipment, various facilities including swimming pools, gym, libraries, and essential services such as Health and Wellness, Career Services, and so on.
There are many part-time job opportunities for international students on campus. I had quite a diverse working experience. At Pacific, I worked at the front desk of the International Programs and Services (IPS) department and worked closely with international student advisors. Working at the IPS was more challenging than all the other jobs I had; however, it was a very fruitful and interesting experience. Besides communicating with students who had different cultures and mother languages, I had to familiarize myself with legal procedures so I could facilitate international students’ compliance with current immigration regulations. Getting a part-time job is not a must. All in all, your academics and overall health should always be your top priorities.
University College Dublin is one of Europe's leading research-intensive universities. Gabrina from Malaysia studied Masters in International Management at UCD in the 2020/21 academic year. She tells us about her experience as an international student at UCD during that time.