My mentors inspire me to do things differently and independently. For example, I tried new foods such as Italian, Chinese, Thai and American and did some solo travel while staying in New York. I went to Central Park and Columbus Circle to explore by myself. My mentors also introduced me to many great and lovely people, and made my experience special.
Then on August 19, I left for school. Looking from the sky while on the airplane, Minnesota had already stole my heart before I landed. There I met Amal, my “local mentor,” who lives in Minnesota. She hosted me at her house, and it was great to experience living with an American family. I felt a sense of belonging and enjoyed watching her family interact on a daily basis. On August 20, Amal brought me to the campus. The first time I saw the university’s logo I realized finally I made it! And I know I wouldn’t be here without the immense help and support from my mentors and the SHE-CAN organization. Their guidance throughout this entire process so far has filled my heart with joy and gratitude!
The most interesting part of my orientation was meeting my academic adviser Melanie Johnson. She was so professional, resourceful and funny. I like her a lot. It’s the first time I’ve had a personal academic adviser who’s someone I can talk to and discuss my academic career.
Additionally, I also enjoyed the “Chew and Chat” activity where all of us new transfer students had the opportunity to eat and chat with the transfer student ambassadors. It was really fun. I learned so much about life as an international student and the on/off-campus experiences. Also, in the evening I had the chance to join the “New International Welcome Day with President Kaler and Goldy Gopher,” where I met Scholar Sreytom Tim, my SHE-CAN sister. She introduced me to Gabriel and other board members of the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS)!
Another fun aspect has been using Google Maps to explore the campus. The University of Minnesota is so beautiful! It’s green, clean and there’s water everywhere. Living in temporary housing at the dorms was a unique experience. I got to meet many people from different nationalities, who speak different languages and I told them about where I’m from in Cambodia. I’m learning that people here are friendly and they’re willing to help me under any circumstances.
Along with exploring campus, Amal brought me to a Cambodian restaurant in Minnesota where she got to try our great Cambodian cuisine. She liked it a lot and tried Cambodia Noodle. I thought the restaurant's food tasted good, and I enjoyed being able to speak in Cambodian with the server. Later, I tried Amal's traditional cuisine - Arabic food. I liked it a lot because spicy food is delicious.
While on campus, I got a gift from Amal - three UMN sweatshirts - and OMG I love them! This upcoming weekend, I can’t wait to move into my apartment, meet my roommates and start my first class on September 5 at the University of Minnesota! Go Gophers!
Read stories written by our talented scholars and multiple voices across the SHE-CAN network