Winter Break in Nicaragua


Last winter break, I had the privilege of going to Nicaragua along with about 40 other members of the UCLA student organization “Global Medical Training.” The purpose of GMT is to provide free medical care to the poorer neighborhoods of countries like Nicaragua and Dominican Republic, where there is a lack of sufficient medical care. GMT believes in “learning by doing,” and it gives the students an opportunity to experience what it is really like to become a physician by learning how to examine and diagnose patients. I had been preparing for the trip since the beginning of the fall quarter by attending all of the weekly meetings, where I was trained to do various tasks, such as taking blood pressure, using the stethoscope to listen to the heart and the lungs, and measuring heart rate. I also learned to perform multiple tests to diagnose patients with conditions, such as kidney failure, parasitic infection, urinary tract infection, STD, varicose veins, along with numerous other conditions commonly seen in the country of Nicaragua. Although I was given information about the common diseases and conditions before the trip, I learned the most when I got to the clinic site in the actual neighborhoods of the country. Listening and talking to the patients in person was an entirely different experience than just studying about them through PowerPoint slide presentations. 

This trip to Nicaragua with GMT was an invaluable experience for me, because it gave me a perspective on global healthcare and an awareness of the need for proper and adequate medical care all over the world. Before, I had known very little of the issue of global healthcare and the living conditions of the people in the less developed countries. But going to this trip has informed me about the definite needs around the world and it has strengthened my desire to share my set of hands with those in need. I also found out that I really enjoy interacting with people, whether it be with the patients or with other doctors. Looking at the eyes of the patients, I saw that they had a full trust in my ability to help them. And having their trust inspired me to do my very best. The fact that I was capable of relieving these people from pain energized and motivated me all throughout the clinic. This trip reaffirmed my desire of becoming a medical doctor, and I now cannot see myself doing anything else but spending the rest of my life to serve others. I feel very lucky to have gone to this trip, and I want to thank my parents and GMT for giving me an opportunity to visit Nicaragua. It was truly a life-changing experience.

International (and extremely long) winter break

Normally, winter break at UCLA is a very comfortable three weeks long. Last year, we got a fourth week on account of the new year falling on a Sunday, and the extra time nearly killed me because of the additional gluttony and TV watching. The French school system is set up to give you just a little two week break, which terrified me at the beginning of the semester, but through some freak accident (that I plan on recreating this semester) I took only courses with in-class finals, which all took place in December instead of the middle of January. My break got stretched from a high school-sized two-weeker to a demi-summer break of five weeks. I cannot remember a winter where I have had so much free mental space to think about things besides school and schoolwork and what outfit to wear tomorrow at school.

My break started with a visit from my dear friend Carly who braved two trans-Atlantic plane flights in less than a week and a half just to see me. We spent a few days in Lyon to catch me up on everything happening at UCLA and to let Carly get jealous of my beautiful city. We then sped off to Paris for a whirlwind adventure that included cups and cups of extremely rich hot cocoa, many walks, lots of ice cream, and several visits to Shakespeare and Company (Paris’s English bookshop). Seeing Carly was magical, partly because any amount of time spent in Paris is magic and mostly because Carly is magic. It was like being back at UCLA (and it felt good).

After sending Carly off to the airport, I headed to the Alps for a week of skiing and mountaineer food (think wild deer, boiled chestnuts, lots of melted cheese). If I wasn’t on the slopes getting severely wind-chapped, then I was spending my time reading a book or watching the Alien movies (of which there are four – I started seeing Sigourney Weaver on the ski lifts by the time I was done). The best part of the Alps was having my very first white Christmas, so so picturesque.

I then shot back over to Paris for New Year’s with my friend Sasha. Paris again involved more hot cocoa and more food and a sparkly Eiffel tower to welcome 2013.

To finish up, my friend Gina, who is spending the year studying in Egypt, came for a visit. We went over to London for a week to stay with friends and soak up some English-speaking culture. We got to go look at the Crown Jewels, bounce in and out of pubs, take a tour of Westminster Abbey, see Windsor Castle, and just generally enjoy each others’ company.

I feel completely spoiled by this break, not only because it was so so long or that I got to travel so much but because I got to spend time with some of my best UCLA buddies. But ahhh, now to return to school. I’ll be posting something soon about classes!

Back to LA


I’ve been back in LA for the past week and it has been one of the best weeks yet!  It was nice to be back in my apartment after two weeks all over the state! I was at home for most of the vacation, but I got to spend a night up in Sacramento for a Christmas party, San Francisco with my family for two nights, then down to San Diego! It was a great break, but being a school a week early was such a fun experience.

Over the last few days I have been to two basketball games, a gymnastics meet, given a friend a tour of campus, and been to the movies twice!  Having some time off from school while still being in Westwood has reminded me of all the fun things to do.  Everyday has been a new adventure! Of all my excursions, my favorite has been experiencing life in the Den.

What is the Den? The Den is the student section of sporting events and in the newly renovated Pauley Pavilion it is an experience that you do not want to miss out on!  Not only did we win all three sporting events that I went to, but I also got to sit in the Den for all three.  The students were loud, the giveaways were great, and I got to see the basketball players’ neon shoes up close! There is something so unique about being a student at UCLA and going to the games.  Even if you are not normally a sports fan, the Den is the place to be.  It is just plain exciting!  The Yell Crew leads cheers for the students and even if you don’t know what is going on in the game, cheering with you fellow students is exhilarating!

Overall, this has been an incredible week!  I finally got to do some of the things that have been on my UCLA bucket list and I didn’t have to worry about studying (yet)!

I hope your holidays were equally as fantastic!

Winter Break back in NorCal

Happy belated holidays and a happy new year everyone!

After finishing a successful first quarter here at UCLA, I was finally able to go up to NorCal to visit my family and friends. Although my parents visited me a couple of times, I never had the chance to go back home. I cannot describe to you how happy I was the moment I got home, went into my room, and saw my bed. It was like seeing a long-lost friend for the first time in years. It had been too long since I got a decent sleep and I slept so well while I was home for this winter break. It was good to be back in my true comfort zone with  mom’s home cooking, endless Christmas movies on TV, and my warm, fuzzy bed.

I spent my break going on morning walks to the beach with a cup of coffee in one hand and a croissant in the other. I went on a long hike in Carmel Valley. I took a trip to San Francisco Union Square for a shopping spree. And the best of all, I spent days as a couch potato watching Korean dramas and Christmas movies with a big mug of warm, hot chocolate in my hands.

And I am now back here at UCLA, re-energized and ready to start another quarter. I actually already had my first chemistry class this morning at 10AM. This quarter definitely will be a challenge, but I will carry on as I had in my first quarter. Whatever happens happens and life will go on. The only thing I can do is trying my best.

So to a new year and a new quarter,


Happy Holidays from Undergraduate Admissions!

Christmas Tree---Photo Credit: Deborah Wong

Happy Holidays  from UCLA Undergraduate Admissions!

In observance of the Winter Holiday, our student bloggers will be taking a break from blogging from December 22, 2012 to January 1, 2013. They will resume blogging the first week of January.

We hope you have a safe and joyous holiday season!

Thank you,

UCLA Undergraduate Admissions

Happy Holidays from UCLA Undergraduate Admissions!

Happy Holidays from UCLA Undergraduate Admissions !!!

In observance of the Winter holiday, our student bloggers will be taking a small break from posting from December 19th to December 30th. We will resume posting blogs the 1st week of January 2012.

Seasons Greetings and Happy New Year to you all!

Thank you,

UCLA Undergraduate Admissions

Winter Break / Bye Bye School!

Ahh, the end of fall quarter and the beginning of break. This is a goodbye to some of the things I have or do at UCLA and a hello to the wonderful world of time off:

  • Goodbye (required) reading. I have liked some of you, but some of you have been not so nice. I suppose I have been not so nice to you, too. After all, I did fall asleep reading my anthropology articles about once a week. But for now, goodbye to you all, even the fun ones!
  • Goodbye procrastination. I can’t procrastinate if I have nothing to do!
  • Goodbye my beautiful dorm. Goodbye decently comfortable bed. Tah tah to my huge mini-fridge. See ya later porcelain cat statue. Just bye to everything in here.
  • Also, goodbye to my clothes. You guys are in my room, but you deserve your own goodbye.
  • Goodbye to daily hygiene. You can think I am gross, but what’s the point in showering when you do not have to? Well, the point is to sing, but I can do that whenever I want once I am home.
  • Goodbye dining hall food. You are semi-tasty and if you are from Feast then you are semi-really-tasty.
  • Goodbye to my favorite walk on campus. In fact, goodbye to all of UCLA’s beautiful places. The Skylark balcony at Kaufman. The desert part of the botanical garden. The bridge between Fowler and Royce. The courtyard in Anderson. The second-floor view in the molecular sciences building. And many more. You are all so pretty, and I can’t wait to see you in the new year.
  • Goodbye to most of my UCLA friends, although I am going to try to visit some of you over the break.
  • Goodbye to walking everywhere. And with that, goodbye to all aerobic activity in general.
  • Goodbye Los Angeles. You are a pretty big place. And a big pretty place.
  • And finally, I would like to say goodbye to my French teacher. You rock. I know you probably do not read the UCLA Life Blog but just in case you do, know that I will miss your class over break.

And now onto hellos! Because saying goodbye is really sad, I want to say hi hi to all the new (well, kinda new) stuff that will be my life during break:

  • Hello fun reading. I have been meaning to read Bossypants and the Chamber of Secrets. And of course, I am going to read a bunch of TIME magazine articles.
  • Hello glory of sitting around lazily. I have missed you.
  • Hello weird moist room. You are in need of a dehumidifier, but I love you.
  • Hello miscellaneous clothes. I am so excited to wear all of you – including grandpa’s army peacoat.
  • Hello flossing only before my neighbors’ annual Christmas Eve party.
  • Hello homemade food. And lots and lots of chocolate chip cookies.
  • Hello beautiful hometown! You have memories and magic all over you!
  • Hello high school friends! I haven’t seen you all since… Thanksgiving.
  • Hello to my lovely car. You are also very moist.
  • Hello San Jose!!!!!!

Thanks for reading this year and have a wonderful break. :3

~Cheesy Holiday Blog 2011~

Princeton Ly – Winter Break

At the beginning of this quarter I thought I was going to spend my Winter Break playing way too many video games and basketball. Turns out, fate had other plans, so by the time this post is up, I will be in Asia – Hong Kong and Taiwan, to be exact. I spent a good portion of my childhood traveling, so this won’t be my first time to those destinations, but it will be my first time traveling alone internationally. And to be honest, I’m a bit nervous.

Even in my brief experiences, I have had some strange travel stories to tell. During my medical missions trips, I have been stopped countless times by curious customs officers wondering why I was carrying a suitcase full of syringes or a box full of reading glasses. Other times, I have been asked for bribes and accosted by unlicensed drivers. I know people that have been robbed at gunpoint in Peru and a relative of mine has been held in jail in China because his name happened to match one on a government watchlist. So yeah, I know more than most that traveling is inherently a bit risky.

But in the end, it’s definitely worth it. I’ve had the chance to play pickup basketball in Kenya, Taiwan, and Burma, eaten an all-crab meal on the streets of Saigon, and hiked the King’s Trail on the Big Island of Hawaii. And I’ve become a more well-rounded, informed, and culturally sensitive person for it. This is why I always tell collegians younger than me to travel or study abroad if they can. No one I know has ever come back from a travel-study program regretting it! Having the time to see the world is one luxury you might only have for these four years, so take hold of it when you can.

For now, have a good break. See you guys on the other side!