Meet Our Students: Paula
What advice would you give an international student planning to study in the US?
I would say the most important thing is to be patient, look at many different colleges, and choose the one that makes you feel comfortable and that fits your needs best. A small community will be more homey. It will also make you feel better if there are more international students that you can rely on.
How was the admissions process for you?
It seemed like a tedious process but the staff in the Office of Admissions made it really easy for me. I submitted my grades, essays, scores and profile and received an email immediately with suggestions and future documentation I would need. They advised me through the entire process, making it simple and exciting.
What is a typical day like for you?
I get up around 7:30 every morning and drive to the campus about 9 a.m. Once I’m done with morning classes and a great lunch, I work out in the exercise area in Schwitzer Center. Then I attend my mid-afternoon classes and head to the library to study or hang out in the dorms with some friends. Around 6 p.m. we have dinner, and if I have a club meeting or volleyball intramural game I'll stay on campus until late at night. If not, I’m back home around 8 p.m. My days are full of surprises--there are always many things to do in addition to my routine schedule.
What is the best thing to eat at UIndy? What is the food really like?
UIndy’s cafeteria has a very homey style, and the food is freshly prepared. It has good quality and lots of choices, and there is always a dish that tastes fantastic. I forget about stereotypes regarding American food because UIndy has a wide range of choices. Apart from the cafeteria, there is a walk-in area to grab food to go, so the University is prepared for all students’ needs. The best thing about eating here is that there are themed dinners with lots of international food. It makes me feel a little closer to my country.
What are your professors and classes really like?
My classes are very dynamic and hands-on. My professors are very caring regarding each student’s progress and I feel as though I can ask as many questions as I need to clarify things. Daily work is important but we are not on our own – professors give us material to help us keep on track and succeed.
How do you benefit from UIndy’s small class sizes?
This is the best part of UIndy. With only 18 to 25 students per class, my professors are really interested in knowing us. They give us personal attention if needed and encourage us to talk to them during their office hours. Classes can be intense but professors are very qualified and know how to keep students interested. I feel that I’m improving every day.
What has been a major challenge for you in the US?
My biggest issue is finding a group of friends in which I fit. Social life is very different in the US than it is in my country, but keeping an open mind is the most important factor. Because UIndy is a small private school, people come from many different places and there aren't many groups formed from high school. This is an advantage for first year students because it opens opportunities to meet new people in the same situation.
Has your English improved since you have been at UIndy?
My English has gotten so much better within just a few months! I’m fluent and feel competent to maintain any discussion with faculty or other students. Being immersed in American culture is what makes the difference. Getting to know many different people with diverse backgrounds enriches my own culture while helping me improve. Studying in English is such a fantastic experience!
What are your future plans?
I want to finish my bachelor’s degree in physics with a minor in mathematics, and then further my education with a master’s degree in astrophysics. Maintaining a high GPA is fundamental and I know that building good relationships with my professors will help me when applying for graduate school.