Ryo Suzuki is a new international student from Tokyo, Japan, who arrived at UNK in May of 2012. He is majoring in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management.
How did you discover UNK? When I was in Japan, I went to an English school. It had lists of recommended universities and UNK was on the list. I did some research on UNK and initially had no interest in this school and did not think I would choose it. However, I had an opportunity to hear about UNK from one of the UNK students. She really recommended the school to me if I wanted to receive a sophisticated education.
What was your first impression when you arrived in Kearney? When I got to Kearney, I saw many cornfields and one-story buildings. I thought I came to the countryside. I have now been here for seven months and my impression of Kearney has not changed. Kearney is countryside. There is no argument on this fact, but Kearney is a good place to spend time. The people are so kind to international students.
What suprised you the most about Kearney? I was most surprised about about transportation. In Kearney, it is almost impossible to live without a car, and almost all students have one. When I was in Japan, it was impossible to imagine that every student would have a car. Here, all of them use cars to go places, even to class.
What do you miss the most about Japan? I miss Japanese food mostly. It is tough to find seafood to eat here in Kearney. When I was in Japan, my diet was composed of mostly fish, but in Kearney, their diet is composed of basically beef.
What do you like the best about UNK? I like the UNK classes. Every single class is sophisticated and amazing. I have never been bored during the classes. They are not easy to finish homework and get a high grade.
How do you plan to leave your mark on UNK? I am planning to be in the position of RA. I would like to help international students as an RA. Also, I am a member of the International Students Association. I would like to leave marks of mine as a student who is helpful to international students, like Ramesh (recent UNK graduate and current graduate student).
What would you recommend new international students do to enjoy life and American culture while here? My advice is to be outgoing. This is very important to learn American culture, especially for students who stay here for a year or less. Go to class! Go to class! And then go have fun! Those are the keys to a successful life in Kearney.
Good Recommendation from Friend
Abdulwahab Akbar is an international student from Saudi Arabia. who began attending UNK in the fall of 2011. He is majoring in Radiography.
How did you discover UNK? Word of mouth. A friend of mine in Saudi Arabia who attended UNK told me about this school.
What was your first impression when you arrived in Kearney? I realized that I would have a fun experience here.
What surprises you the most about American culture? There is a lot of healthy focus on sports.
What do you miss the most about Saudi Arabia? The things I miss the most about Saudi Arabia are my family and the beach.
What do you like the best about UNK? One thing that I appreciate about UNK is that there is not a lot of walking distance between all the buildings so it is easier to get from class to class on time.
How do you plan to leave your mark on UNK? By successfully completing my degree program and graduating from UNK.
What would you recommend new international students do to enjoy life and American culture while they are here? I think in order for new international students to have the best experience here they need to keep an open mind, be willing to try new things and work at mingling as much as possible with the locals.
From 50 degrees to -10 Quite a Shock!
Peijie Li, 19, is from Kunming, China. He is a Business Administration major at UNK, and arrived in Kearney in January of 2010.
How did you discover UNK? When I was in high school, I used to go to an English Corner ever week in a coffee shop near my home. The owner is an American. I asked him for information about studying in America. He recommended that I go to his home state, Nebraska. He gave me a lot of information about schools in Nebraska, UNK being one of them.
What did you know about Kearney? Nothing! I did not know there was a state in the U.S. called Nebraska!
What was the hardest part of your journey to the U.S.? When I came here, I was 17 years-old. That was the first time I traveled that distance. The hardest part would be travelling to extreme weather I have never experienced. It was still 50 degrees in my hometown when I left, but it was -10 degrees and a blizzard in Chicago when I landed! It surprised me that I survived the weather!
What do you find fascinating about Kearney? People in Kearney are friendly; this is my favorite part of this town. People say "Hello!" to others instead of ignoring each other.
What do you miss most about China? I miss the food in my hometown. I've been here more than one year, but I just can't get myself "Americanized" on food.
What do you like best about UNK? The size of UNK is what I like best. It is perfect for me. It is not a university with a huge campus, so it is easy to travel on campus. A bike will do. Moreover, because it is a smaller university, it is easier to get involved with different associations and organizations.
How well has UNK met your expectations? Even though I did a lot of research before I came to Kearney, I was shocked when I came here. Kearney is much smaller than I expected. It is something different to me, but it is good. UNK is actually better than I expected. It is a smaller university, but it has everything I need.
How do you hope to leave your mark on UNK? I love to help other people, so I joined a lot of different associations on campus. It doesn't really matter if I get recognized for "making a difference". It is the effort to help others that is most important to me.
The following articles were written by UNK Alum Sanam Bhaila (Nepal) for the Kearney Hub. Special thanks to Sanam and the Hub for permission to publish on this site.
After UNK, Wan will finish senior year in China
Xia Wan, 21, is from Kunming, China. She is a marketing major whose minor is business administration at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
She arrived at UNK in fall 2007.
Xia is one of the many Chinese students at UNK enrolled in the 1-2-1 exchange program.
Students in the program complete their first year of undergraduate studies in their native lands. The next two years are at UNK. Wan will return to China for her senior year to graduate.
This is her final semester at UNK.
Q: What is the thing you like best about UNK?
A: It is the academic program that I am most attracted to, which also played a big role in choosing UNK. It is safe and less crowded here.
Q: What did you find fascinating about Kearney?
A: People here have warm and big hearts and have all the time in the world for everyone and everything.
Q: What is one thing that needs a change, something that’s changing, and a thing will never change at the UNK?
A: I don’t see many things that need to change, except maybe the weather. UNK is getting bigger in terms of the number of students, which has been a big change in the last few years. Something that will never change would be people pronouncing my name wrong. Some of the names I got here were “Jaye,” “X-ia,” “Zix” and sometimes “Jiya.”
Q: How do you find UNK different?
A: According to what I have heard from my friends studying in places like Lincoln, Florida and other big places, they have a much higher teacher-student ratio compared to what we have at UNK. Here you are treated in person by the faculty. Most of the faculty remember each student’s name, except mine.
Q: What do you miss most about China?
A: My band in my university back home.
Q: What did you play?
A: Guitar and keyboard.
Q: How did you manage to finish so many classes in such a short time?
A: Summer classes helped me come so far. That’s one of the reasons why I said that UNK is excellent. It provides a platform and track for both the slow movers as well as the fast pacers.
Q: What kept you going in your last semester?
A: There are two things. My internship as marketing assistant in Chartwells (student dining service), and Kaffeeklatsch (a program initiated by Xia in which students can show their hidden talent to the crowd). It takes place every other Thursday in the student union.
Q: How do you hope to leave you mark at UNK?
A: As an intern and marketing assistant at Chartwells, my current assignment is to make the late-night breakfast (arranged by Chartwells during dead week) a successful one this semester. I am really working on it now. I hope my attempt will make a difference and leave my mark.
Thapa comes from Bhutan’s peaks to Neb. Prairie
Sushma Thapa, 20, is a freshman from Gomtu, a small town in southern Bhutan. The country lies in the eastern Himalayas and is sandwiched between China and India.
Thapa arrived at the University of Nebraska at Kearney this fall to complete her degree in psychology. She is undecided on a minor.
She is one of the two students from Bhutan at UNK who were chosen by their country's Ministry of Education for a scholarship program.
Q: What were the major steps to apply for the United States?
A: The first major step was competing for the scholarship in February. After I was selected, the second major step was going to New Delhi (the capital of neighboring India) on Aug. 5. There is no U.S. embassy in Bhutan. I got my visa on Aug. 7.
Q: When did you leave for the United States?
A: On Aug. 14, a week after I got the visa. It was short notice. I did not get to go back to my native place after I got the visa. My parents came to Thimpu, the capital, to see me board for the United States.
Q: What was the hardest part of your journey?
A: Jet lag and long hours between connecting flights, on board and finding the right terminals. It was my first traveling experience, but I was in the company of a friend whom I had met only a few days earlier. She was also my close competitor during the selection procedure in Bhutan. Now, we are good friends and roommates.
Q: How well has UNK met your expectations?
A: It was far better than what I had expected in size, number of students and the way it looks. I still remember the first few days when I got lost looking for classrooms and buildings.
Q: What did you know about Kearney?
A: An American couple from Omaha, Susanne Shore and Pete Ricketts, who visited Bhutan, told me that Kearney is a small, quiet place surrounded by cornfields, yet both the university and Kearney are bigger than I thought.
Q: Do you miss home?
A: I miss home a lot, but I am recovering. Every time I missed my home I sat by a corner of my room and cried, then called home to hear my parents' voices. I made sure that I did not sound as if I was missing them. I don't want them to feel sorry for me. I do Facebook and Skype.com to keep up with them.
Q: What are some of the things that you are still fighting to overcome?
A: I am yet to get used to the food. I am surviving on stir-fry, rice and desserts. Sandwiches and pizzas are too big and cheesy and don't have the flavor I like. I am used to spicy food with lots of flavor.
Q: What is the farthest you have been from campus?
A: I have traveled to Walmart and to Omaha on a trip arranged by the International Student Association. I would like to visit all the major U.S. cities before I leave.
Q: Who do you think about a lot?
A: It is my brother, Bhakta Chettri. It was him who pushed me, even until the last moment. I had given up hope several times. It's him who heard about the scholarship program and encouraged me. Had I been rejected a visa, he would be more disappointed than me.