1. How did you come to study in the U.S. and what was your application experience like? 是什么促使你来美国读书？申请过程是怎样？
I was in the joint degree program at Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) so I applied to the Aerospace Engineering program at the University of Michigan in my sophomore year. My application process was also a bit easier for me since most of my courses at SJTU were taught by University of Michigan professors in English.
This prepared me very well for the writing skills needed for the application, especially the statement of purpose. I also took a TOEFL prep course before I went in for my exam. Another advantage was that I was very passionate about engineering even before I went to college. In high school, I won many competitions on robotic designs and started a design lab at SJTU to continue my work. These experiences helped me tremendously with my undergraduate application.
2. As a science major, was the U.S. curriculum challenging? What kind of research opportunities did you have as an undergraduate student? 作为一门理科生，美国的课程对你来说很难吗？本科的时候，你有机会参与一些研究吗?
Most Chinese students have a very solid background in Math and Science from high school. That certainly helped me to make an easier transition to the U.S. curriculum. The most challenging part for me is team work. As an engineering student, you are often required to work in teams. The grades not only depend on the quality of the assignment, but also the peer evaluations from your teammates. It took me awhile to sharpen my communication and teamwork skills.
Many science majors offer undergraduate research as part of the curriculum. At Michigan, over the summer and during the semester, I was able to work on some research projects, such as water tunnel experiments and conceptual aircraft designs. These research projects can count as course credits as well toward your degree.
3. What are some ways Chinese students can get more plugged in at school and make a diverse group of friends in the U.S.? 能讲讲中国学生怎样才能更好得融入美国校园、结交许多朋友？
There are many on-campus activities to help international students to get more involved. The international center at the University often organizes social events tailored for international students. You can also join student organizations, sororities, fraternities, or sport competition teams. On-campus jobs are also a great way to meet different people.
I worked several on-campus jobs as an undergrad. My first job was a football referee for intramural flag football. Football is an important part of American culture, and it is certainly new to most Chinese students. It wasn't a high-paying job, but working as a referee helped me to better understand the American football culture.
In my junior year, I started to work as a student bus driver for the campus buses. It was a quite challenging job for me. Driving a 40-feet bus around narrow streets in Ann Arbor can be quite difficult. However, the part that I really enjoyed about this job is that I had a chance to meet thousands of people every day. As a driver, I help people who need directions; I talk on the radio to coordinate with other drivers; I sometimes also drive charter buses for large events or tours. All of those helped me practice my English (and driving skills of course) while helping other people at the same time.
大三的时候，我开始做了校园司机，这份工作对我来说蛮有挑战性的，想想在安娜堡狭窄的街道上驾驶40英尺长的公车还是有点难度的。但我就是很喜欢每天认识许许多多不同的人， 有时告诉他们哪里哪里怎么走，和其他司机们用对讲机协调，有大型活动的话也会开着专车到处走 。帮助别人的同时，我也锻炼了英语，当然还有开车水平啦。
Hello everyone, my name is Peter Lyu, and I am current a PhD candidate at University of Michigan. I came to U.S. in 2008 under a joint degree program between Shanghai Jiao Tong University and University of Michigan. Since then, I have embarked on a wonderful journey. I have driven 40-foot-long campus buses for 2 years. I got my boating license in 2010 and my private pilot license in 2011. I have also developed several websites and mobile apps. It's my pleasure to share with you my experience of studying in the U.S.
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