Jacqueline from Sabah, Malaysia, started her undergraduate studies at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) in 2017, but had to take a year off for medical reasons. When it was time to resume her studies, she decided to transfer to the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California – and earned a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Health and Exercise Science in 2020.
She recently shared her inspiring study in the USA journey, why she chose Pacific, and recommendations for other international students considering where to enroll.
Choosing to Transfer to the University of the Pacific
“When I first stepped foot onto Pacific’s main campus in Stockton, I thought I was in one of the Harry Potter movies!” says Jacqueline. “The crisp air, the explosion of fall colors, and a stunning view of ancient-looking buildings surrounded by deciduous trees – it felt like a new beginning to me.”
“I decided to attend Pacific because I preferred a more close-knit community,” says Jacqueline. “At Pacific, I managed to form close relationships with my academic advisor and professors, which allowed me to receive more direct guidance and assistance throughout my college years.”
In contrast to public universities, Pacific is a private college with a small and cozy campus, yet offers all types of services and facilities tailored to students’ needs. There is distinct infrastructure for different schools and colleges, advanced laboratories and equipment, and extensive facilities including swimming pools, a gym, and libraries. Student-focused services cover health and wellness, career planning, and much more.
“[There] were all kinds of events and activities – academic, social, sports, career, or religion-related,” she says. “[Pacific has] talk shows and concerts with famous celebrities; NCAA tournaments for college athletes; and career fairs where students get to meet with different companies, firms, or even future employers.”
Working While Studying at Pacific
Jacqueline took advantage of campus employment opportunities while studying for her BS degree.
“There are many part-time job opportunities for international students on campus,” she says. “I had quite a diverse working experience at Pacific: I worked at the front desk of the International Programs and Services (IPS) and worked closely with international student advisors.”
“Working at the IPS was more challenging than all the other jobs I had,” she continues, “however, it was a very fruitful and interesting experience. Besides communicating with students who had different cultures and mother languages, I had to familiarize myself with legal procedures so I could facilitate international students’ compliance with current immigration regulations.”
Be very thoughtful, though, when considering whether getting a job during your undergraduate program makes sense for you.
“Getting a part-time job is not a must,” Jacqueline says. “All in all, your academics and overall health should always be your top priorities.”
Making the Most of Your Time at University
“If your schedule allows, do not be afraid to take the first step, go out there, meet new people and expand your horizons!” says Jacqueline. “You will realize that college life is not all about meeting deadlines and getting good grades. It is like a warmup session before you enter the real world; a small society where you will meet all kinds of people and face different challenges. Regardless of what you will go through, remember that your experience is unique, and you will make it as long as you set your mind to do it.”
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