November 04, 2021
Please tell us about your experience using iGlobal to review pre-arrival information and request your I-20. Did you see any areas for improvement?
“The iGlobal website greatly helped me with checking my pre-arrival checklist and staying on top of all the actions I had to carry out while preparing to move into UCSC. The pandemic posed unique challenges for me and many of my colleagues who started their programs in UCSC in 2020, and one of these challenges was the multiple re-issues of documents such as the i20 form due to the dynamically evolving pandemic situation. In this regard, the iGlobal website helped me maintain awareness of my immigration requirements as I planned to move to the US and into UCSC.”
How was the Graduate Preparation Program helpful for you? Did you see any areas for improvement?
“My GPP experience was overwhelmingly positive, and I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent as a part of the program. I got to know many of my fellow graduate students through GPP. During the pandemic when physical movement out of homes was restricted, interacting with my peers during GPP classes and activities was a breath of fresh air! I also learned a lot about U.S. classroom culture, and I believe this will greatly help with being prepared for my forthcoming TA duties. Noting a minor point that can be improved upon, I observed some hiccups with the operation of the Zoom platform (for example, one class involved a group presentation activity; however, there was confusion regarding how to share screens and create interactive polls, and the final solution was rather ad-hoc). Should any future edition of GPP be remote, it will be convenient for everyone if the instructors can anticipate and mitigate any possible issues with the interactive usage of Zoom.”
How was the Graduate Student Orientation helpful for you? Did you see any areas for improvement?
“The Graduate Student Orientation was very helpful for me, as it enabled me to have a good visualization of what UCSC will be like, even before I arrived here in person. I appreciate the depth of information that was conveyed through the different programs which were part of the orientation. The orientation also helped me with my personal preparations as I moved into UCSC. As constructive feedback, I loved a session in the Graduate Student Orientation where we were shown 3D views of different parts of the campus, and I would appreciate if more such views are included, as they really give the ‘feel’ of being on-campus in person.”
Did you attend any of the fall events or programs for international students? If so, what are your reflections on the event or program? If not, please tell us why you chose not to attend.
“I did attend the orientation for international students, which was informative. I also attended the session hosted by Frank Calabrese Esq. in which he detailed the various modalities related to different types of visas, OPT rules, work permits, etc. Before the session, I only had a vague idea about the visa and work-permit rules for aliens in the US, but now my understanding of the same is rather concrete. I attended the workshop on financial literacy, which was great, and helped me know a lot about the personal finance landscape in the US. If possible, I recommend that the scope of the financial literacy workshop be extended to incorporate things like the different types of bank accounts, investment instruments, tax regimes, etc.”
What connections did you make with the Graduate Commons?
“I got to know many people as a part of GPP and the Graduate Commons. As a pleasant surprise, a member of my research lab was also a part of GPP, and while I was acquainted with her before, we got to interact a lot during GPP! I also met researchers in different disciplines and the interactions helped create a sense of community. It was also very intellectually stimulating to get to know about the diversity of both the graduate student body, as well as the academic research topics being pursued by these brilliant graduate students. In a time when everyone had to sequester in their homes, the community building which the Graduate Commons provided is much appreciated.”
Are there any other campus resources or programs that you found helpful?
“I mostly took part in GPP and the weekly events that followed the GPP classes, and I found the resources presented therein very helpful. I also dropped in for some other events that took place during and after GPP such as the Lunar New Year Celebrations and virtual Halloween celebrations. Due to time zone differences and a busy schedule, I did miss some events such as the virtual treasure hunt, but overall, the experience has been nothing short of amazing! My thanks to the entire team for making GPP and all the associated events possible!”