With more than 200 areas of study across its undergraduate and graduate programs, it should come as no surprise that the University of Wyoming attracts students from all 50 US states and more than 70 countries. In fact, every year, more than 500 international students call the campus in Laramie, Wyoming, home.
We spoke to five students from the University of Wyoming to hear why they chose Wyoming, what life is like on campus and in Laramie, how the University of Wyoming is helping them achieve their goals, and what advice they have for other international students who want to study here.
Why Study at the University of Wyoming?
There are hundreds of programs to choose from at the University of Wyoming, including the #7 ranked petroleum program within the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences.
The petroleum program is what brought Moustafa to Wyoming to earn his doctorate. Moustafa, who is a third-year PhD student in the Energy and Petroleum Engineering department, grew up in Egypt, as well as in Germany and Saudi Arabia.
“The petroleum engineering program at University of Wyoming is a very strong one,” he said, “with many state-of-the-art instruments that any researcher would dream of having available for their studies. I hope to become a world-class researcher in the energy sector who will help solve many of the energy problems that we are facing today.”
Similarly, Moaath is earning his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at Wyoming. Growing up in Jubail Industrial City, Saudi Arabia — an area famous for producing petrochemicals and polymers — Moaath was inspired to go into the field.
“Chemical engineering is a puzzle in achieving goals with limited resources,” he said, adding that he can use his creativity to solve these challenges.
Undergraduate students Lucas and Sulthon chose the University of Wyoming for other programs. Lucas, who is from Brazil, is studying physiology; Sulthon, who is from Indonesia, is studying wildlife biology and management.
“I want to be a doctor, and this major provides me with information and classes that help me learn more about medical education,” explained Lucas.
Sulthon chose to apply to University of Wyoming because of the reputation of its ecology and wildlife programs. He also spent three years in nearby Aurora, Colorado, when he was 10 years old, before returning to the area to pursue his career goal of becoming a wildlife research scientist working with mammals.
“My particular interest is in large carnivores, like big cats and bears,” he added. “Not only are they charismatic creatures, but they play a significant role in conservation.”
Third-year PhD candidate and Global Student Ambassador Sindu Reddy from India said studying at UW has given her access to amazing research opportunities and professional networks.
“My research focus is specific to cybersecurity, and we perform offensive and defensive analysis on variable devices using behavioral biometrics,” she said. “I’m also a vice president for the Women in Cybersecurity chapter at the University of Wyoming.”
Life in Laramie and on Campus
The University of Wyoming is surrounded by national forest lands and is located along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, creating beautiful views everywhere you look. In addition, Laramie, Wyoming, is ranked #1 on College Value Online’s list of 50 Best Small College Towns in America. It is two-and-a-half hours from the Denver International Airport.
“Being [at] Wyoming is fun because there’s so much to enjoy outside,” says Sindu Reddy, who recently tried skiing for the first time through the university’s Outdoor Program. “If you are a nature lover, then Wyoming is for you!”
Getting outdoors is a common activity with options such as hiking, skiing, and camping, to name just a few. There are also 17 parks and plazas within the town itself, allowing you to do more casual outdoor activities such as reading or picnicking.
“Laramie is awesome!” said Moustafa. “It is not too big and not too small — just right. People here are very friendly, helpful, and welcoming of international students and their families.”
Sulthon agreed: “Our community is small but intimate at all levels, including the international community.”
A typical weekend depends on what you like to do. Lucas pointed out that there are events and even nightclubs you can go to in town, while Sulthon prefers to relax by cooking, going to the gym, and doing homework. “Although I try to save the least stressful assignments for the weekend, so even doing homework is relaxing,” he shared.
On campus, the students all agree that getting involved with student organizations and clubs is a must. “You constantly get to meet people,” said Sulthon.
There are more than 300 student organizations, including Anime Club, Ceramic Art Guild, Club Baseball, Engineers Without Borders, and even an Ice Cream Club, to name a few. Sulthon is the president of the Muslim Student Association, while Moustafa is president of the Table Tennis Club as well as a Global Student Ambassador working with the International Students and Scholars Office.
“Even if you are not an extrovert, look for any opportunities for involvement on campus. You will not regret it,” said Moustafa.
As a self-described introvert, Sulthon attested to that. “I have been trying to break that bubble by being more involved in community engagement,” he said. “Being a contributor to your community is always rewarding in one way or another.”
Achieving Your Career Goals
One of the major reasons Moaath chose Wyoming was the International Students and Scholars office. “I have had all the support possible throughout my journey,” he said, noting that the office has been key to helping him achieve his goals and earn his degree.
Lucas cited additional benefits, including tutoring for classes, advising, and counseling services.
“The on-campus support is awesome,” agreed Sulthon, who plans to pursue a master’s degree to continue his wildlife study and gain more in-field experience. “The International Students and Scholars Office is always willing to help and assist anyone in need.” He also noted that his advisor is always ready to help with academic or personal concerns.
“If you have trouble with something, help is as easy as asking someone,” said Moustafa, who plans on joining a research facility after graduation, either at a university or within an energy company. “And if they cannot offer it to you, they will know who to contact.”
“My advisor, Dr. Shukla, she helped me in collaborating with lots of professors,” said Sindu Reddy.
“The Wyoming community feels like a big family that you are a part of,” Moustafa added. “Just remember, if you need help — and everyone needs it at some point — ask.”
Pursue Your Own Goals at the University of Wyoming
Beyond asking for help when you need it, all the Wyoming students share the same advice: get involved. Joining campus clubs and organizations provides opportunities to meet new people and make friends who share your interests, but it can also help you make crucial connections for life after graduation.
Get out of your comfort zone and meet as many people as possible.” — Lucas, physiology major, Brazil
“We have a lot of activities,” said Sindu Reddy. “We at least have one activity per week where we can go and talk to other international students and collaborate or engage with them on fun activities such as bingo — or explore outdoor activities through the Outdoor Program.”
“If you wish to study in the US, do not look further than University of Wyoming,” added Moustafa. “I know I am biased, but based on my experience and what I have heard from friends at other US universities, University of Wyoming is the place to be.”