Tong Chen and Junyi Ouyang


International Student Experiences

International students come to the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences (IAS) from different countries and educational institutions, and with diverse linguistic backgrounds. Like other IAS students, they have their own individual experiences and perspectives. But living and studying in a new country has its particular challenges – and rewards.

IAS’s Mission, Values, and Goals stress equity, access, and responsiveness to the needs, demands, and capacities of diverse student populations. When it comes to IAS’s international students, this support has to look different than it might for U.S. based students.

Recently IAS created a new 1 credit course called: “Supporting International Students.” Organized by IAS staff members Sakara Buyagawan and Jung Lee (see the alumni feature in this issue for more), the course was designed to serve as an orientation both to higher education in the United States and to the specific resources and expectations of undergraduates at UW Bothell.

What makes the international student experience different? While international students are a diverse segment of our student population, we thought it would be good to sit down (virtually) with a couple of them to hear about their experiences in their own words.

Both of these students, Junyi Ouyang and Tong Chen, were enrolled in the “Supporting International Students” course. While both of them are from China, they have distinct takes on the international student experience. One thing both stress is the importance of making personal connections with faculty members. Listen to each of the videos below to hear their perspectives.

Junyi Ouyang

Junyi OuyangJunyi Ouyang is a senior with a double major in Society, Ethics & Human Behavior and Global Studies, with a minor in Human Rights. Junyi is in the process of applying to graduate programs in public policy. Her goal for the future is to work for an international non-profit organization, preferably based in China.

Junyi cites IAS faculty member Min Tang (see faculty feature in this issue) as an important resource during her studies in IAS, as well as being a mentor that has helped her think about her future academic and career directions.

Tong (Tommy) Chen

Tong ChenTong Chen is a senior with a double major in Media & Communication Studies and Law, Economics & Public Policy. Tommy is currently weighing his options after graduation, trying to decide between pursuing law school or a master’s degree. He sees himself working back in China in public relations or human resources.

In the video below, Tommy notes the major influence IAS faculty member Maryam Griffin has had on his education here.

Tommy is hoping that the pandemic will be controlled enough that he can attend an in-person graduation ceremony!