Student: Johnson Mou | College: UC San Diego
Introduction: I am Johnson (Chunjiang Mou), a second year student at UC San Diego. I major in Applied Mathematics and minor in Computer Science. During my college application in high school, Vinnie helped me a lot, especially in the summer school application. He explained in detail how to choose a summer program that matched my career interests and how to write a sound essay that matched the prompt and captured the admission officers’ attention. With his relentless help, I got admitted to Columbia University’s summer program.
1.) Tell me about your experience at UC San Diego.
I have been in UCSD for two years and it is a wonderful experience. I made a great number of friends in my first year. They came from different countries: China, Korea, Japan, and even Saudi Arabia. We hang out during the weekend and play basketball at night. From chatting with them, I got to know a lot of things about the culture, art, and sports in their countries.
I have a pretty big work load, since UCSD has a nickname “UC socially dead.” The professors usually leave a great amount of homework, and exams and quizzes are held almost every week. But I love challenges and enjoy the process of working out the problems in my assignments.
2.) What’s the international community like there?
UC San Diego has a quite a large group of Chinese undergraduate students (should be more than 5,000 in total). They come from various parts of China but get along with each other with no problem. There are 3 large Chinese organizations in the university: CU, CSSA, and CSA. They regularly hold events at the campus to familiarize the Chinese students with the campus and solve the problems in learning. In such a collaborative-stimulating environment, almost every freshman from China could find their place and adapt to the college life within several weeks.
There are also a considerable number of Koreans and Japanese at UC San Diego. But I am not quite sure about them.
3.) What is the best thing about studying there so far? What do you find unique about the university or surprising maybe…
Probably computer science. UCSD is a perfect school to study computer science. The lecturers know how to raise the students’ interests in CS. Consulting from TAS and tutors also help lot.
The most surprising thing about the school is that it is actually really strong in academics, although it has a pretty low ranking by US News. Students in the school are smart and helpful. They understand the course material quickly and are willing me to explain the bullet points to me after class and help me prepare for the examinations.
4.) What are some activities you’re involved with there? Briefly describe…
I joined the Robot Design Club. The clubs holds meetings once a week to make sure everyone is on the right page and talks about ways to improve our design. In the club, I am responsible for testing our programming. It is not an easy job since I have to examine our code thoroughly, including the edge cases.
5.) What’s your favorite local food since you’ve been there?
I personally do not like the local Mexican food in San Diego. But I really like the seafood restaurants in La Jolla. They are great. The Stone Crab is my favorite!
6.) What advice would you give to other students planning to attend university overseas?
There is a lot to say!
The most important thing is to be prepared. American university is not easy, since the professors usually give a great amount of assignments. Most of the time, I have to do my work until 2 am.
Also, do not always stay at home. Go out and enjoy the life with your friends. There are a lot of fun things to do in America and also hosts of interesting people from all over the world.
Moreover, remember to have a phone call with your parents once a week. They miss you and want to know everything that happens with you!
Finally, get a driver license as soon as possible, no matter if you buy a car or not!