Hear from some of our previous Internation Students about their experiences here at Humboldt State.
Jiayun Yang (’13, Cellular and Molecular Biology)
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!”
Yue Shen (’13, M.A. Education)
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.”
Yang Yang (’11, Geography and International Studies)
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!”
Musaad Alowaysi (’17, Business)
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.