How to Study at UAlbany

Wherever you go, be the best you!

How to study at UAlbany


How is it going everyone? This blog is about my academic experiences at UAlbany.

First of all, I want you to know that no matter why and when you choose to go to UAlbany, you should always remember that education is supposed to be the first priority. College is not only for studying, but studying is the biggest part.

Generally speaking, the education culture is very different between China and the USA. If you are from another country, you may have the same experience as me. Students can have more freedom and rights on campus. You may ask your questions in class whenever you come up with  a new idea or if you are confused. At UAlbany, if you are an exchange student, you may use the first two weeks to try all of the courses that interest you and make your decision freely. I looked up the class schedules on MyUAlbany (UAlbany Student Portal) and researched as many courses as I could during the first two weeks and then finally chose three accounting courses and one community service course.

The first and most difficult challenge for me was the language problem. I still remembered the first day of class, which probably was the worst day of this semester. I found that I could not understand the professor’s speaking most of the time. Everyone else around me was understanding what was going on. I had no idea what was happening when the whole room suddenly burst into laughter at one of the professor’s jokes. Can you imagine how bad it might feel if you were in another world but actually  sitting in the same classroom with everyone else?

A UAlbany Classroom

Apparently, I needed to do more work after class!

Make best use of your syllabus. Almost every professor will post their course syllabus and other resources on Blackboard. Blackboard is an online studying platform used by UAlbany. Because of this online system,  I could find out the content of the upcoming lecture. I would preview the lectures and look up words in the dictionary to make sure I know what the professor would talk about before every class. Even if you still do not understand some points, you can be more confident to raise your hands and ask the professor your questions in class. After class, I definitely needed to go over all the material again and make my own notes! One thing I recommend doing is to check your Blackboard constantly since your instructor might  post the newest information there and most of the homework or group assignments have different due dates.

Speaking of homework, one thing I would recommend is doing your homework as early as you can. Never leave it until the last day. You can never predict what will happen before the due date.

Project MyStory Student-to-Student Success Series: Fall 2019 Schedule
ANNOUNCEMENT: Project MyStory Student-to-Student Success Series: Fall 2019 Schedule

Vending Machines in the Library Another recommendation is to form a study group if you are not a self-disciplined person. There is collaborative area for discussion and also group study rooms for private space.

If you still have problems about studying the course, do not forget the professor’s office hours! Most of the professors here are very nice and helpful. You can always reach out to them by email and make an appointment. Here, I must mention one of the best professors I have ever met. Professor Mark Hughes gave nearly all his time to teaching and supporting students.  He helped me a lot by talking with me and encouraging me to talk with other people. If it were not him, I could not have taken the first step to talk to people here and have so many amazing stories. Before I met him, I just could believe that there could be such a kind person in the world, who is always willing to help with everyone; who will greet and chat with everyone he meets.

The other night, when I was saying goodbye to Jill, one of my candidate classmates in BAP (See previous blog post). We hugged with each other and cried for the farewell. She told me that she loved my personality and that my personality has changed hers. I told her that this was because professor Hughes has changed mine first.

By studying and learning new things every day, I gradually felt that language was no longer a big problem for me. At the end of my semester study, I earned a 3.77 GPA. I am sure if you put your heart into it, any difference between your country and wherever you choose to study should not be a problem. You can do better than you might think.

All right, that is for the study part of UAlbany Please feel free to leave comments below and don’t forget to check out my next and last post!

UAlbany Fountain

Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Academic Support Center or the Center for International Education and Global Strategy. These are their stories  – their voices.
About the Author:

Jade Hu Headshot

Jade H.
Spring 2019 Exchange Student
Major: Accounting
Blog Theme:
Wherever You Go, Be the Best You

Start Changing Now. Be a Better You!

Okay, for my first blog post, my goal is to encourage you, my dear readers, to go abroad and see different things. Start changing now!

Study Abroad Banner

Let us take a time machine and go back to the beginning of Winter 2018. That was when I decided to come to the USA and when I applied for the University at Albany Exchange Student Program. Since I want to pursue my master’s degree in the USA, I thought that it would be a good idea to go and study for one semester first. Hopefully, my time at UAlbany, will help me to decide whether I want to spend more years studying here.

Blog 1 Airplane Pic.jpg

Honestly, I am the first generation in my family to study abroad. So literally, I finished all the complicated preparation procedures by myself when I still had to deal with all of the junior year’s school work at my university. Anyway, after submitting all required materials, getting my visa, getting three vaccine shots for the immunization requirements, booking air tickets, getting my international credit cards, and packing all the luggage for the whole semester; finally, on the 16th of January, 2019, I boarded the flight to the United States, with only my two suitcases and one backpack.

Blog 1 Map distance from USA.jpg
From Beijing to Albany: 6844 miles

I still cannot believe it took me three plane transfers and more than 30 hours to finally arrive in Albany. First, I flew from Beijing to Los Angeles. Then, from LA to Philadelphia. When I was waiting in Philadelphia airport for the third flight to Albany, I met the first person I spoke to in the USA. OK, technically, the first people I spoke to were the airport staff, LOL.

A lady was sitting and reading a book in the seat next to me. I wanted to charge my phone with the electrical outlet near her seat. At first, I was really nervous about talking to strangers. But my phone was going to die, so I got up the courage and began talking to her. As I mentioned in my introduction,  people are more generous than you may think. She was such a nice and warm woman and we talked a lot about ourselves. I also told her about my first experiences in the USA and my reasons for coming here. Her hometown is Albany, but she works in California. She comes back to Albany to take care of her mom once in a while. She also has a very cute and nice grandson, and other family members. She gave me her number for any questions I had so I could contact her. When we said goodbye in the airport, she told that me she was my Albany mom. In the first week, we could not find a meeting time due to the snow storm. On the 4th of February, we went out together for lunch and we had a nice conversation. She even gave me gifts, gloves and scarves, which saved me during my first Albany winter! Thank you again, my Albany mom! Good people deserve good words! I welcome you and all your family to China one day! You are all definitely VIP guests for me and my family!

Blog 1 Pic with USA Mom.jpg

Though I do admit that you have to prepare a bunch of things before your departure, and you will probably have to overcome a variety of differences including food, culture, weather, etc., which could be really challenging at first, please remember that you will never see new things without going out of your comfort zone! After all these hard yet valuable experiences, you may finally discover a totally different you.  I will share what happened to me when I studied abroad with the experiences in food, studying, and living in Albany! Do not miss it. Check this website again! And feel free to leave your comment below! See you next time.


Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Academic Support Center or the Center for International Education and Global Strategy. These are their stories  – their voices.
About the Author:

Jade Hu Headshot

Jade H.
Spring 2019 Exchange Student
Major: Accounting
Blog Theme:
Wherever You Go, Be the Best You

Wherever You Go, Be the Best You

Picture of a Building in Chongqing, China

Hello everyone! Thanks for clicking into my blog. I promise you will not regret it! As you can see from my title, “Wherever You Go, Be the Best You” and maybe from the picture above, I am not from the United States. I come from China. I have been to Australia and England. Now I am here, at UAlbany! My name is Jade and I am an exchange student for the 2019 Spring semester.

Without any exaggeration, I think I am a person who loves being exposed to new things and making new friends! I am never satisfied with staying in one place forever. Looking back on all the experiences so far, I do have many amazing stories. I mean, really unbelievable.  I have learned a lot of things from all the stories. and I also enjoy writing and sharing my stories. So here I am. I cannot even wait to share with you guys!

Even though it is not the end of this semester yet, I can definitely say that this will be a life changing experience for me because I have already learned and changed so much!

So basically my theme for Project MyStory is about the college students’ study abroad life experiences. My topics include academic experiences, the food, the activities, and the culture, the people, and so on in this lovely city called Albany. I am not going to just pour out what has happened to me. Every story is connected to at least one person I met in my Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind. -Henry Jameslife. As far as I am concerned, the reason why people are the most cherished creatures in the world is that we have emotions, love, mercy and virtue. No story can happen without the involvement of personal characters. I do believe in fate now. Think about how many people are in our planet in total? Around 7.6 billion. If we can meet each other at the probability of the 1/7.6 billion (for example,  you are reading my story now), then this must be one reason why I should be friendly to you and keep it for good.

So if you are a new UAlbany student or a student who is considering studying abroad, this would definitely give you some tips and insight of your new stage in life. If you are not, you will also get some idea about how to create a different life, and new inspirations about how to make your life more amazing. At last, I mainly want to prove to you two sentences: The world is better than you’ve thought. People are more generous than you’ve thought.

Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Academic Support Center or the Center for International Education and Global Strategy. These are their stories  – their voices.
About the Author:

Jade Hu Headshot

Jade H.
Spring 2019 Exchange Student
Major: Accounting
Blog Theme:
Wherever You Go, Be the Best You

Welcome New Danes

Welcome New Danes 2018

…And so it begins! 

Summers are exciting at UAlbany because of you, the future of  this university – your new home away from home. Your academic advisors in the Academic Services Center look forward to meeting every one of you and to helping you achieve your goals.

Here are a few stories from our alumni and current students to help you to dream big while you are thinking about your purple and gold future.

Staying Focused…

Click on the images below to read about Buo and Chisom, two UAlbany graduates, who are now in medical school.

Buo Poster 2015a

Chisom Project MyStory 2015.jpg

Learn more about Pre-Health Advising at the Resource Fair.

Click here to join the UAlbany Pre-health List Serv.

Networking Can Start Now!

Joseph DeSantis, served as one of our Project MyStory volunteers, and blogged about finding a home here. Click HERE to check out his posts. He demonstrated how to seek out opportunity when he used our UCAN Alumni networking tool to reach out to one of our graduates for career advice. He did not wait until he was a Junior, but began searching for possibilities as a  freshmen. Check out his story:

Click Here to learn more about UCAN.

Explore the World


Exploring more of the world, allowed Erica to heal and learn more about herself. Click HERE to check out her Project MyStory blog series, “Around the World and Into Myself.”

Visit Education Abroad at the Resource Fair
to find out more about how to Study Abroad
and how to earn Global Distinction Recognition
for your International Activities.

Putting Your Naysayers to Shame


Have you ever been told that you were not smart enough or not good enough to achieve your objectives? Heather Moore knows all about this. If you are nervous about what is going to happen after you get here, her words may bring you life! Check out her blog series, “One Life’s Potential”.


Do you want to read more stories? Click Here!


The Ends, the Beginnings, & the In-betweens Part 2


MyStory Mondays is a weekly digest of our latest posts. 
Yes. We know. It is not Monday.
Our UAlbany MyStory Bloggers share their lives with you to help you to stay focused on your goals, to remind and inform you about the many supports that we have on campus to help you succeed, and to let you know that, whatever you are going through, you are not alone.
This week, we share more Finals Week inspiration, conclusions from last semesters’ posts, and some follow-ups to old themes. But first…

Call for Volunteers

“Since last semester, I feel like I can say that, through time, I have learned to let Albany in and I am just beginning to enjoy it.  In the beginning I felt like I didn’t have an identity but after a while I realized that the world doesn’t stop turning.” 

Was this your first year at UAlbany? Are you like Simonti? Check out the rest of her post, and consider volunteering with Project MyStory. While students are not asked to be biographical, they usually join MyStory to tell their stories. If there are topics that you feel would help other Danes to adjust to UAlbany and to thrive here,  Join the Team!

Mid-Week Graduate Celebrations



Internationalize Your Degree – Consider Adding Global Distinction to Your Diploma

This week Franshelis Calderon shared her last MyStory posts. On Thursday, she will receive the Unsung Hero Award at the Lavender Graduation for sharing her personal journey with the world. Several persons have expressed how her blog has helped them through difficult moments. Your story matters. Own it.
Grad 3

Check out Fran’s last two offerings:


Latinos & Sexuality and Goodbye UAlbany

CS 2

Craig Stropkay graduated from UAlbany in Spring 2007. He has since earned a doctorate in Molecular and Cellular Biology from Brandeis University, and is now an entrepreneur. Many graduates are unsure about their future. Even those who intend on going to graduate school, may not be sure of their next steps. Craig has some information and words of career advice for those thinking about pursuing a PhD.

Check out Craig’s blog post here.

Leobianny Hilario 2017.jpg

Taylor Grant

Taylor Grant will graduate in a few days and he wanted to share a bit of his journey with future Danes.

The past four years at the University at Albany have been nothing short of life changing. Each year, I have grown academically, socially, and mentally.

As a freshman, I was thrust out of my comfort zone, which was quite an adjustment. Growing up in Long Island, I had the same group of friends since 1st grade. I had to actively force myself to engage with my classmates from various backgrounds and to not just rely on my stable friend group back home. I was also challenged by the new demands of time management – balancing my free time with my course load. – Click here for more.


Brittany Newell graduated in Spring 2017.  We are sharing her last post for everyone who has no idea what is next. We want you to know that your future is bright. Click here for more.

Nicholle Project Mystory 2015




Life is a Journey not a Destination

Picture of Turkey (The Country)

Kayla looks back on her life and she has some lessons that she wants to share with you before she graduates. Her guiding theme last Fall was “Let God Take the Wheel.” This was not her theme because she was particularly religious, but this theme resonated with her because it spoke to how she learned the hard way about the many things were outside of her control, and about those things that were in her control which she may have taken for granted.  Click Here for Kayla’s Past Posts.

As a child I grew up in reverse.  I allowed my parent’s lifestyle to guide mine.  Their lifestyle was and is the family business, so I allowed my lifestyle to be structured around the family business.  Their lifestyle was taking care of their parents, so I allowed my lifestyle to be structured around helping take care of my grandparents.  Their social life lacked, so I allowed my social life to lack.  I was a child, and now as a young adult reflecting, I have learned and I want to share:

1) Lead your own lifestyle.
2) Take care of yourself: eat healthy, exercise, and go to the doctor.
3) Think about the type of social life you want/would want.

I decided to get my feet wet early.  As a child, watching my parents work influenced me to want to work.  My first job, as a cashier, was what I thought would be my last job.  What had been a constant routine, helping take care of my grandparents, was what I thought would be my lifelong career.  What had been a lacking social life was what I thought would be a permanent problem.  Apparently, it was time for a wake up call.  I have learned and I want to share:

1) Do not limit yourself to one job .
2) Take some time to really explore different fields.
3) Find someone who is similar to you.

Once I got my feet wet, next was to get soaked.  I had worked so hard to keep a job where I thought I could move up.  I had worked so hard to prepare for what I thought would be my lifelong career and I worked so hard to only realize that I was not having any fun.  I got a big smack in the face; another wake up call, and from that smack in the face I learned and I want to share:

1) A dead end means getting back up to move forward; try a different job .
2) Find what interests YOU to move forward; take classes from a variety of majors.
3) When you feel overworked,  move forward, have some fun, and then try again.  

Getting soaked helped me move forward. After trials of different tasks at my family’s business, I moved forward to another job.  After trials of preparing for becoming a nurse, I moved forward to UAlbany and enrolled in different classes from a variety of majors.  After trials of all working and no playing, I moved forward by accepting to enjoy the fun in life.  From finding ways to move forward, I have learned and I want to share:

1) New experiences and new relationships come with a new job
2) Changing your environment and learning new concepts can help redefine your interests.
3) Accepting and having fun is one of the best ways to keep moving forward.  

Life is a challenge.  For any UAlbany student who is reading this, do not give up.  If you appreciate the lessons I have learned and shared, please use them to your advantage. Know you are not alone at this time in your life. Lead your own lifestyle, get some experience (learn from it), work hard, and keep moving forward.  Whenever you feel uncertain, stressed, or anxious: stop, step back and. . .

Let God take The Wheel

Here are some tools that may help you to move forward:

Academic and Career Tools:

Personal Growth 

Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Advisement Services Center. These are their stories and their voices.
About the Author:

Keyla Intro Pic

Kayla K. 
Class of 2018 | Transfer
Major: Psychology
Minor: Business
Past Blog Theme:
Let God Take the Wheel

The New Global Distinction Program

Global Distinction Program Flyer

Global Distinction Demos:
Follow your Major towards Global Competence

Undergraduate students, pursuing any Major, come learn how you can make the most of your University at Albany degree, graduate globally competent and on time! Let us guide you through your unique combination of

  1. Interdisciplinary globally focused coursework,
  2. 2 years of foreign language study, and
  3. International immersion (a study abroad semester and an 8-10 week internship or research placement abroad), so that you enter today’s dynamic multicultural workplaces with Global Distinction.

Be Here Now!

Tuesday, 12/5
The Bean (Campus Center Expansion, downstairs)

Wednesday, 12/6
Board Room (Campus Center Expansion, upstairs)
Thursday, 12/7
The Bean (Campus Center Expansion, downstairs)
CLICK HERE to learn more!

Click here to check out the Global Distinction Flyer.

The End and the Beginning: Around the World and Into Myself


If you are considering an Education Abroad experience, visit their office on the first floor of the Science Library, check out their website, and/or stop by the Education Abroad Fair when it takes place during the Spring and Fall semesters. Whatever you do, get the information you need. There are options for every budget.  What may seem impossible, might be highly probable!

Picture of Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre

Last semester, Erica Bertucio shared her study abroad experience in Italy. These are the last three installments of her series, “Around the World and Into Myself.” If you were wondering what happened to the lady who flew off of the ATV in Italy, your wait is over.  For context, you may want to read Mountains & Broken Things: No Stopping Me.  If you are ready, read on!

Continue reading “The End and the Beginning: Around the World and Into Myself”