From Beijing to Auburn to Johns Hopkins: Jingfan’s Journey

Auburn University
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By Sakina Taher
Last updated on August 24, 2022

To succeed as an international student in the US, Jingfan from China recommends following your heart and pursuing a program you are passionate about.

JingfanChinaAuburn University

Jingfan is an international student from China. She started her studies at the Beijing University of Chemical Technology as an applied chemistry major, and then transferred to Auburn University in Alabama to study finance. She recently was accepted as a graduate student at Johns Hopkins. 

Read on to learn more about Jingfan’s experiences as an international student in the USA!

How Jingfan Discovered Her Passion

In search of her calling, Jingfan explored multiple subject areas to identify which potential degree programs interested her most. When she chose her applied chemistry undergraduate major in China, she was unsure where the future would take her. 

“I actually didn’t know much about chemistry, about what it really is, and also about what’s going to be waiting there for me,” she said.

Working as an intern offered valuable experience and new insights, and is how she discovered her first passion — the intersection between finance and law. 

“So, I decided to transfer to the United States to study finance and [hoped] it could be a solid foundation for my future studies in law,” she said. “That’s pretty much why I chose to transfer to Auburn.” 

From Beijing to Auburn, Alabama

Auburn University has a beautiful campus in a charming small town in the American South. The university is ranked #42 for Top Public Schools by U.S. News & World Report, and is renowned for its strong school spirit, extensive research opportunities, and nurturing faculty. 

With her new finance major, Jingfan was heading into uncharted territory. “Because it’s a whole new major, you have to start all over again,” she said. “I needed to study financial accounting 101. Auburn helped me a lot in the transitioning process. I received a lot of assistance from the school [and] my advisor.”

Jingfan also notes how the social life at Auburn provided a community that supported students personally and professionally. A diverse range of campus clubs and societies brought together students with similar interests. 

“If you want to build a career in investment banking … you should probably go for a financial management association,” she said. “If you want to find a career in human resources, you can always go for a club or honor societies with that theme. I would say the [Harbert] College of Business at Auburn helped me both academically and socially.”

As an international student, Jingfan also had to adjust to an unfamiliar academic culture. She made the most of the support services available. 

“What I experienced in China is very different from what I am experiencing now [in the US],” she says. “There is more communication [here] between the instructor and the student and there are far more resources to help a student if they [have] academic challenges.” 

With the support of her advisors and faculty, Jingfan was able to develop her professional portfolio and skills early in her studies.

“We have certain classes to help you [learn] how to find a good job or how to prepare for an interview. I think those [types] of practical coursework definitely helped me to be more professional,” says Jingfan. 

Up Next: Studying Bioinformatics at Johns Hopkins

Jingfan has now begun graduate studies in bioinformatics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, ranked #9 among National Universities by U.S. News & World Report. 

“I think the future lies in the intersection of life science[s] and computer sciences, and Johns Hopkins happens to have the best biomedical program,” she said. “I am very excited!”

Her diverse academic background (chemistry, biology, computer science, finance, and law), coupled with her communication and interpersonal skills, made her stand out during the admissions process. A bioinformatics major offers a multitude of career pathways, from pursuing roles in software engineering or biomedical engineering, working for an NGO, or considering opportunities in law, medicine, or business. Jingfan’s short-term goal at Johns Hopkins is to complete her graduate degree and then remain open to many future possibilities.

Jingan’s Advice for International Students

Jingfan encourages students to jump out of their comfort zones and build confidence in pursuing their career interests. She believes following a career pathway that you are passionate about enhances your educational experience. 

“Just follow your heart!” she says. “Just trust your instincts. Follow your passion!” 

Jingfan’s enthusiasm, combined with the support of her advisors, helped her stay motivated through her journey as an international student in the US. If you want to know more about the support services available at Shorelight universities or need guidance with figuring out which program is right for you, a Shorelight advisor can help you navigate through the process!

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