From China to the UK to Spokane: Ty’s Journey to Gonzaga Global

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By Sakina Taher
Last updated on August 11, 2023

Tianyue, a first-year student at Gonzaga University, transferred to Gonzaga Global after first starting his studies in the UK. Learn how he adapted to being an international student in the US — and how he’s making the most of his time at Gonzaga!

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Tianyue, a first-year student with Gonzaga Global, began his studies at Gonzaga University in Spring 2022, majoring in business administration. After his first semester of classes, he now plans to transfer to engineering. Originally from China, Tianyue had first studied in the UK, but opted to head to the US during the COVID-19 pandemic

We spoke to Tianyue about his experience as an international student in the US, how he supports other freshman students, and his work with the Gonzaga Global Peer Mentorship program.

Tianyue’s Journey to Gonzaga Global 

Tianyue had a plan to attend university in the UK — so why did he then choose to study in the US? The global pandemic, and Tianyue’s desire for in-person classes, were big factors in his decision.

“The global pandemic made courses go online, and the UK insists on studying online, last year and this year,” Tianyue says. “So, I was trying to find a place that [was] going to have in-person classes.” In-person interactions were especially important for his engineering courses.

As a future engineer, he was also drawn to the US for professional opportunities. “There are more chances [in the US], more industries advanced in engineering and [related] fields,” he says. “[Here, I can build] overseas work experience, and [have] better prospects.” 

Tianyue’s Experience at Gonzaga Global

Ranked #22 among Best Engineering Undergraduate Programs by U.S. News & World Report, Gonzaga University is recognized for its academic excellence in research and focus on developing personal and professional growth. Offering 49 majors and more than 60 minors, Gonzaga ensures students can obtain a multitude of skills essential for career development. 

Tianyue appreciates Gonzaga’s supportive and enthusiastic campus culture, which has helped him improve academically and build friendships in his first term. 

“I use the tutoring center, especially the writing center in the library, a lot,” he says. “This is a place where I can seek help from native English speakers to fix my grammar and make my writing more proficient. They are just fellow [upperclassmen] students in different majors willing to help. They have helped me better my skills in writing and other subjects, too!” 

The courses offered at Gonzaga provide a well-rounded education, and help students build relevant skills needed after they graduate. 

“Communication 100 is my favorite class,” says Tianyue. “It is unique, and it focuses on the rhetorical situations of how to make your talking become more persuasive in certain conditions. I have never had such a course before.”

Gonzaga also maintains a student–teacher ratio of 11:1, giving students the opportunity to benefit from focused learning experiences and dedicated attention from instructors. The supportive learning environment enables students to develop critical analysis, and expand creative thinking through interactive discussions with their professors and peers.

“In a smaller class, we can be more engaged and connected to the lecture. Whatever we are thinking about, the teacher is going to respond to it,” Tianyue says. “Questions can be solved quickly [and] we have more conversations, discussions, and brainstorming.”

Additionally, guidance from Tianyue’s student service advisors, James and Toby, has made a big impact during his freshman year. 

“James has been super helpful and surprisingly can speak Mandarin. It is convenient for us to communicate if he knows some of the concepts in Chinese,” says Tianyue. “Toby focuses on academic support, helping us [with] course selection for the summer and fall, and with planning for future semesters. The Gonzaga Global office [staff are] kind and friendly, offering help, and I appreciate it!”

At first, the process of transferring from business to engineering seemed like a big challenge, but Gonzaga Global advisors helped Tianyue navigate the process smoothly. 

When I just came here, I was thinking about [changing my] major and it is pretty complicated. But the Gonzaga Global advisor told me what to do, step by step, and it was super helpful!” – Tianyue from China, Gonzaga Global engineering major

Tianyue is currently a mentor for the Gonzaga Global Peer Mentorship program, where current students help new freshmen settle in. They share how they adapted to living in a new environment and offer support in any way they can. Tianyue believes his journey from China to the UK, and then moving again to the US, has given him a good knowledge and understanding of how to adapt to living in foreign countries. He shares his own experiences to support international students who are facing culture shock, loneliness, and other challenges in adapting.

Studying at Gonzaga and living in Spokane has been a new experience and, as Tianyue sees it, Spokane caters to all the needs of international students. 

“It is pretty good living here. It is the second-largest city in Washington state. Compared to London, I think it is cozier here,” he says. “Things are a little bit cheaper and close by. You can find anything easily. This city has all the things a student needs.” 

What’s Next for Tianyue

Though Tianyue currently studies business, he feels his interests lie in engineering and its many professional opportunities. As he has built up more credits in engineering compared to business, he plans to switch majors and gain faster progression towards his engineering degree. Tianyue also plans to leverage Gonzaga’s strong connections with leading employers to get a head start on his career.

“There are better engineering [career opportunities] here, because in Washington state there is Microsoft and Boeing, which are world-leading engineering companies,” he says. “Gonzaga has [relationships] with other worldwide engineering companies providing fantastic opportunities, such as Ford, General Motors, Tesla, and more!”

Thinking about advice he would give to other international students, Tianyue encourages students to take advantage of the flexible study options in the US. 

The US is going to be pretty different from staying in China or any other country. You can fulfill any kind of plan. The courses are interesting, no matter what kind of major you are doing.” – Tianyue from China, Gonzaga Global engineering major

He also recommends that students leverage the wide variety of opportunities available in the US.

“If you are thinking about coming to the US, I would recommend doing so because it is a world-leading country and there are opportunities here everywhere,” he says. “It is pretty cool to have an overseas experience, no matter if you stay here or go back to your home country. So just be brave and active!”

The assistance Tianyue received from his advisors while studying at Gonzaga gave him the support he needed to confidently pursue the area of study he was interested in the most. Through Gonzaga Global, you too can work toward your goals and ambitions, with advisors who will guide you every step of the way!

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