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
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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

You are What You Eat

apple-3053108_960_720.jpgHello, everyone! Welcome to my blog again. As I have mentioned  in my previous blog, I am going to share my interesting experiences in the U.S. with you. Today, let us talk about eating when you go abroad for the first time.

Honestly, Chinese food and American food have huge differences. I still remember my first two days at UAlbany. I was trapped in my room for  two days, because I knew nobody here at that time. The whole school was still closed due to the bad weather. All I saw outside my window was the snow. I did not expect there to be such a big snow storm right after I arrived here. Fortunately, my friendly roommate gave me several bags of noodles, which saved me during the snow days!

After the new semester started, I kept eating surprises in blind spots and guesses every day. Can you imagine that every day you are ordering food with names that you actually do not understand? Well, scroll down to see how I survived.

Jade 2aOne day I bought a bottle of “milk”. And I asked my classmates in our group chat whether I could recycle the bottle. (because we have to recycle bottles for community service every week, which I will talk about later in my following blog). Instead of answering my questions, they asked me, “More importantly, Jade, did you really drink it?”

I was kind of confused then, “Not really, but why did you ask? Is it not delicious?”

“Because it is not milk, it is half and half.”

What is half and half? Honestly, I still did not know what this word really meant. I searched on google and found out that half and half  refers to half cream and half milk. People add it into coffee but never drink it alone.

OMG, thanks to the group chat, I did not drink it.


Jade 2b

After I figured out the bus routes in Albany, I began to go to Walmart by myself to buy things I needed. There are two floors and so many different kinds of food, vegetables and fruits, which makes it seems a good place for shopping, but to me, it looked like a maze the first time I went there. I wanted to buy instant coffee, finally I found the coffee area between shelves. Then I also bought some cracker biscuits, fruits and paper. After I came out of Walmart, it begun snowing heavily. I carried two shopping bags and waited for the bus. Honestly, now I even cannot imagine how could I carry those heavy bags and walk from the bus stop to my room without glove or boots. I did not expect the weather to be so cold here. I just remember stopping at the entrance door of my building. I found that my fingers were so frozen that I could not even control them to take out my SUNYCard to wipe for the door. I put down my bags and put my hands near my neck to unfreeze them. Several minutes later, I could finally feel my fingers move and I was able to take out my card and keys to enter my room.

Jade 2c.jpgThe two bags were already covered with snow. I wiped off the snow and opened them carefully like a trophy from a difficult battle. I opened the coffee jar because I wanted to warm myself by drinking hot. But I found out that it looked different than the instant coffee I had seen before. I checked the jar again. OMG, it said “ground coffee”. I went to Google and found out that ground coffee is result of roasting & grinding fresh coffee beans, and needs to be brewed via plunger, espresso machine etc.

The first several weeks, I relied on the campus center to eat, but I did not understand most of the names on the menu. More importantly, I did not know how to answer when people asked me “what do you want,” especially when there was a long line behind me. It would be rather embarrassing to take out your phone and look up every word of the menu in the dictionary. I have discovered several ways to save myself in these situations. I think that they will work for you if you study abroad in a country where you do not speak the language. First, I would look up the menu before and make sure I knew the exact meaning. These menus are all on the UAlbany Dining website. Secondly, if you forget the meaning one day, you can also just point to the food which looks like the one you want. Even if you do not know what you should point to, you can always ask “Can you just give me the most popular one?”   Remember: never be afraid to ask questions! I actually tried this way several times in the CC, which worked out well. At least, I found out that my favorite sauce is BBQ at Halal Shack!

Ok, what if the dining staff says they do not know which meal is the most popular? The last way to save yourself is just saying,  “I would like the same thing the person bought before me.”

Finally, I cannot be satisfied by fake Asian food. I began to cook by myself. Cooking is not as difficult as you think. I began by buying a saucepan, bowls, and all the cooking stuff from Walmart. Then I called my mom to learn how to cook rice and noodles to feed myself.

Jade 2d.jpg

After two weeks, I could make Chinese food and did not have worry about being hungry in my room. Last week, I invited my “Albany Mom” to my apartment and cooked delicious Chinese food for her!

Jade 2e (2).png

If you have a kitchen, it actually saves you more money by cooking!

But I have to remind you guys to pay attention to your input! Eat regularly and healthily. Take me as a negative example. At first, I did not understand how many calories some foods had, and ate many fatty food without noticing, such as the coffee cream, which I thought was just sugar. Most of the bread or snacks here contain more fat and sugar than those I eat in China. Plus, I tended to eat later in the evening somehow. Not surprisingly, I gained 22 pounds after the first two months! But you can definitely avoid this by knowing what you are eating and working out regularly, which is what I am trying to do now.

All right, that is what I want to share with you guys about my food experiences in Albany. Feel free to leave your comments 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