Hello everyone! My name is Lucas Yoshida (most people call me Yoshi so feel free to call me that) and I am a 3rd-year studying Business Economics here at UCLA! I was born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil and moved to Los Angeles in 2018 to start my amazing journey at UCLA! Before I go deeper into my experience transitioning to campus as an international student, I would like to congratulate you all for being accepted to the most applied to school in the United States! You all deserve it and we couldn’t be more excited to have you join us this upcoming fall!
As an international student, before coming to college in the US, I was feeling really excited but also a little nervous. It felt weird leaving my home country after 18 years and going to another country where I did not know anyone and would completely be “by myself.” Honestly, it is completely normal to feel that way. Most of us international students come from different backgrounds and cultures which will make this transition to an American college somewhat scary. However, I promise it is not as scary as you think and I am here to explain what I did to feel more comfortable with this transition.
It all started as soon when I was accepted into UCLA. As a way for me to get to know more about campus and the UCLA culture, I started reaching out to current students who were willing to share more about their experiences and walk me through their transition process. As soon as I started approaching people, it became clear to me how approachable and supportive UCLA students are. Before even committing here, I had many people willing to help me understand what UCLA was all about and understand all the opportunities for incoming students. After talking to many students, it became clear that UCLA was the right home for me for the next 4 years. Nowadays, these people that helped me have become really good friends and mentors that I can definitely call as my family in the United States. Therefore, I greatly encourage you all to find current students that are willing to help and talk to them about their transition to UCLA and ask them for some advice (feel free to reach out to me if you need anything).
After accepting my admission offer, getting to campus in September 2018 was definitely mind blowing. I was surrounded by hundreds of other incoming students who were also really excited to start this new chapter of their lives. Week 0 (the week before the official start of classes) was really important for me to start adapting to UCLA and the American culture. I would encourage you all to attend as many events as possible and be extremely open to meeting other students. Everyone is adapting to a new campus, so don’t be afraid to reach out to people and start a conversation. This tip is also important during the start of classes!!!
Week 0 is also really important because that is when you get to attend the Enormous Activities Fair and get to know some of the more than 1000 student organizations on campus. Be sure to look for organizations connected to your current interests but also be open to other opportunities that might sound appealing to you. There is absolutely no commitment during the activities fair, so be sure to connect with as many clubs as possible. This way, you will be able to choose those that make more sense to you according to your interests and the people you have met. This was one of the most important parts of my transition to UCLA as most of my best friends nowadays are from the clubs and organizations that I joined my freshman year! (Tip: There are many international student organizations so remember to check if there is one for your country!) (Tip 2: The Dashew Center is not a club but it also offers many opportunities to engage international students!)
Finally, another way I found to smoothly transition to campus was immersing myself in professional development opportunities. I knew that I wanted to enter the job market as soon as possible in order to develop real life applicable skills so I started looking for opportunities that would help me achieve this goal. Through clubs, mentorship programs, friends, and other UCLA resources (such as the Career Center) I was able to attain great knowledge about the job market and successfully land many professional opportunities throughout my UCLA career. Currently, I have concluded 3 summer internships at world prestigious firms (1 during my first summer and 2 during my second summer), I will be joining another firm this upcoming summer, and have already received a full-time offer for after graduation. Therefore, in my case, immersing myself in this professional development side made me feel more comfortable with the campus culture. So if you are also interested in immersing yourself in the job market, make sure to take advantage of the many resources available on campus and I’m sure that will also help you adapt to UCLA and the American culture.
There are many ways one can transition to campus as an international student but I just shared with you some ways that helped me make UCLA my new home! Also, don’t forget that transitioning to UCLA is not only about your freshman year. Every year you will meet new people and find out about more resources on campus. Therefore, everything I just talked about is also applicable to your other years of college! Even though these are just some of my tips, I guarantee you will start finding out what makes sense to you when you get here. Just remember: Be open to meeting new people and always stay curious! We can’t wait to meet you all on campus soon and……GO BRUINS!!!!!!