Loyola University Chicago

First and Second Year Advising

Student Academic Services

Advice from International Students

We asked several International students to share their experience here at Loyola. You can find out about fun places to explore in the city and learn ways to acclimate to Chicago!

Jeffrey Phonn

Name: Jeffery Phonn

Country of Citizenship: Seychelles

Major: Psychology, Painting, and Drawing

Q: Why did you choose to attend Loyola University Chicago?

A: I like the location, mission statement, and the Liberal Arts program.

Q: What do you miss most about home?

A: I miss my friends and family.

Q: What activities are you involved in on or off campus?

A: I joined the Japanese Club last semester. I am thinking of joining Habitat for Humanity next year.

Q: How have you handled language differences?

A: Sometimes I have a hard time expressing what I want to say, but [thankfully] my friends have patience.

Q: Adjusting to a different educational system?

A: It is the same because I went to an international school for two years before I came to Loyola.

Q: Making friends?

A: I was anxious in the beginning because I was new to everything, but I met a lot of people and was able to make a lot of friends.

Q: What has been your favorite class and why?

A: Painting [has been my favorite class] because it is my passion.

Q: What is your favorite place to visit in Chicago?

A: The Art Institute.

Q: What words of advice would you share to prospective students?

A: In order to enjoy life at Loyola, it is imperative that you stay positive. If you are shy, try to push yourself out of your comfort zone and you will find many friendly folks at Loyola. 

Name: Byron Waluco Maheia

Country of Citizenship: Belize

Major: Environmental Policy

Q: Why did you choose to attend Loyola University Chicago?

A: I chose Loyola University Chicago because I really wanted to be in the Chicago area and after touring the university I was very satisfied with the scenic quality of the Lakeshore Campus. I was also a member of the Bridge to Loyola program/community, which really heightened my appreciation for Loyola.

Q: What do you miss most about home?

A: The two things I miss the most about home are the environment (including the warmer weather) and my family!

Q:What activities are you involved in on or off campus?

A: This year, I was involved in multiple activities both on and off campus: I played intramural soccer in the fall, I worked along with the LABRE community distributing food to the homeless of downtown Chicago, I played intramural basketball in the winter, I played club lacrosse in the spring, and I volunteered at the Rice Education Center in Evanston, Illinois.

Q: How have you handled language differences?

A: Language has not been a major issue for me while attending Loyola. I would say so because my native language, Kriol, stems from the English language. Belize considers its main language to be English.

Q: How has it been adjusting to a different educational system?

A: Adjusting to a different educational system took some time, but like most freshmen students, I learned to cope with it. I am still learning, but I feel a lot more prepared for this upcoming year than I felt entering as a freshman. There are resources available for academic achievement, which is why one must not waste these opportunities but instead implement them.

Q: Making friends?

A: I consider myself to be a very sociable individual. I enjoy meeting new people and I have had minimal trouble making friends here at Loyola. 

Q: What has been your favorite class and why?

A: Thus far, I can say my favorite class was, Human Dimensions of Conservation (Envs 383). This was my first class pertaining to my major. I enjoyed learning the material and I found the importance of the different aspects of a conservation project to be very interesting. 

Q: What is your favorite place to visit in Chicago?

A: My favorite place to visit in Chicago is the Belmont area. There is a nice atmosphere in this region, and I really enjoy spending time at the lake near here. It is absolutely beautiful!

Q: What words of advice would you share to prospective students?

A: My word of advice for incoming students is to make sure you use the necessary resources available for doing well in your classes. I also advise incoming students to ditch the shyness and live free because that is what the atmosphere here is like - there are many welcoming faces!

Simon Festa 

Name: Simone Festa

Country of Citizenship: Italy

Major: Double Major in Finance and Accounting

Q: Why did you choose to attend Loyola University Chicago?

A: I chose Loyola primarily due to the Rome Start Program. The opportunity to spend the entire freshman year in Rome, in my country, was a very exciting opportunity that I could not ignore.

Q: What do you miss most about home?

A: After my first Chicago winter, I could say that the weather is what I miss the most, but obviously I also miss hanging out with my friends and family over the weekend.

 

Q: What activities are you involved in on or off campus?

A:I work for Conference Services, I am a member of the Quinlan Ambassadors, I am a brother of the business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi, and I participated in the intermural soccer tournament last fall semester.

Q: How have you handled language differences?

 A: I did not have many troubles with the language difference, especially because I had good teachers. I only had trouble with the “slang” words my friends used.

Q: Adjusting to a different educational system?

 A: The American college system is actually pretty easy to adjust to.  It is easier that the Italian high school system.

Q: How has it been making friends?

A: Attending freshman year in Rome, I had no trouble in making friends because I was one of the only three Italians on campus so many students asked me questions about Rome like what to do, where to go, what to see in Italy and in Europe.  Eventually, I became friends with almost all the students that studied in Rome Fall 2013 and Spring 2014.

Q: What has been your favorite class and why?

A: My favorite class so far has been Accounting 201 with Professor Kevin Lee. Accounting is one of my majors so I really enjoy the subject.  Also, Professor Lee is an amazing teacher, and was always willing to help even outside the classroom.

Q: What is your favorite place to visit in Chicago?

A: Museum of Science and Industry.

Q: What words of advice would you share to prospective students?

A: Get involved in on-campus activities, don’t be shy and start talking with other students in your classes and outside classes. This is the best way to make friends, and friendships in college could be life-long friendships. If you can, study abroad at the Rome Center, it will forever change your view of the world.

Patricia Zhang

Name: Mingyan (Patricia) Zhang

Country of Citizenship: Beijing, China

Major: Information Systems & Marketing

Q: Why did you choose to attend Loyola University Chicago?

A: Growing up in a big city in Beijing made Chicago a great fit for me. After visiting the campus during my senior year in high school, I fell in love with the beautiful Lake Shore Campus. I could also picture myself walking around the Water Tower Campus downtown.

Q: What do you miss most about home?

A: What I miss the most about home is probably the food and KTV!

Q: What activities are you involved in on or off campus?

A: Inter-chapter Committee head of Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity

    Student caller at Loyola Phone-a-thon

    Chinese tutor

I didn’t do much during my freshman year because I didn’t find my niche on campus so I pretty much just stayed in my room and studied. However, I started to realize that college life shouldn't be like that; therefore, I started to look at the possible actives that I could fit in. So I found Alpha Kappa Psi, which is a co-ed business fraternity. Pledging AKPsi was the best decision I have made in my college career! I found my best friend there. This group of driven and dedicated people taught me so much and without them, I would not have been the person I am today.

Working as a student caller at Loyola Phone-a-thon really enabled me to overcome my language barrier. With my experience working there, I got the opportunity to chat with a litany of very cool alumni from all different backgrounds. I gained communication, listening, and writing skills there. I would say that Phone-a-thon was the biggest contributor to my English development.

Not only is getting to know the American culture really important to me as an international student from China, but I also want to share the traditional Chinese culture. Because of that, I became a Chinese Tutor on campus. Furthermore, I also sing Peking Opera, which is the traditional Chinese Opera. I have performed at some Chinese organizations on campus.

Q: How have you handled language differences?

A: Language was definitely a barrier for me that prevented me from getting involved on Campus. However, I realize that it was not as big of a deal as I made it to be. All of my friends understood that English is not my first language, and they were all willing to help me as much as they could.

Q:  How has it been adjusting to a different educational system?

A: In college, I learned how to study on my own outside of my classes. There is so much free time in college, but the importance is how I use it.

Q: How has it been making friends?

A: I met majority of my friends from the business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi. This group of people, like I mentioned before, are all very driven and dedicated. The reason that I love to hang out with them is because they have made me a better person. Oh! I also met my best friend there.

Q: What has been your favorite class and why?

A: Information Systems 346- database warehouse by Professor Jukic. I really like Professor Jukic. He truly cares about his students' futures and gives really sound advice. On top of that, the material that we have learned in this class is very useful.

Q: What is your favorite place to visit in Chicago?

A: There are a lot of great restaurants around Chicago. I love to explore Chicago by finding great restaurants. Cho Sun Ok is probably one of my favorite Korean BBQ places in Chicago.

Q: What words of advice would you share to prospective students?

A: Don’t let the language barrier stop you from whatever you want to do!

Name Cristina Megumi Kimura Tomida

Country of Citizenship: Mexico

Major Studio Art: Drawing and Painting

Q: Why did you choose to attend Loyola University Chicago?

A: I just love the city and the Loyola campus is beautiful.

Q:What do you miss most about home?

A: I miss my family and the food.

Q: What activities are you involved in on or off campus?

A: I am part of the International Club.

Q: How have you handled language differences?

A: It was just practicing and learning from peers and classes.

Q: Adjusting to a different educational system?

 A: It was a hard process but the key was to manage my time better and finding a study method that suits me.

Q: How has it been making friends?

A: I was in a Learning Community on my first year so I made friends with some people that were part of it, it helped me a lot since I am really shy.

Q: What has been your favorite class and why?

A: 2Ddesign, because I had a great teacher that really helped us to express ourselves and enjoy what we were doing. She would help us to better our work always considering our personal style and preference.

Q: What is your favorite place to visit in Chicago?

A: Definitely downtown, there is always something to do and there are really good restaurants. Also, the Shedd Aquarium since I love their conservation program and it is one of the first places I visited in Chicago.

Q: What words of advice would you share to prospective students?

A: Just be yourself and don't be afraid to show people who you are.

Beatriz Reiner ‌‌

    Name: Beatriz Reiner

    Country of Citizenship: Brasil

    Major: Psychology (Peace Studies minor)

Q: Why did you choose to attend Loyola University Chicago? 

A: I had many questions when deciding which college to go to and Loyola`s staff was always the quickest to reply my e-mails. There were many other aspects that made me come to Loyola, but when it came down to my top three universities, I chose the most helpful one. 

 Q: What do you miss most about home?

 A: My pets and the weather.

Q: What activities are you involved in on or off campus?

A: I am president of the Brazilian LUC Club and play in the intramurals.

 Q: How have you handled language differences?

A: It is not the first time I have lived abroad so it has not been a problem; however, I usually spend most of my time with other international students. 

Q: Adjusting to a different educational system?

A: The main reason I came to the U.S. was because of the educational system - I was not sure of my major when I started school and in Brazil I had to be certain of my major right from the start. So I did not have a problem with that at all. However, some things are harder, such as the grade system. In Brazil a 7 is an ok great, but I quickly learned that a C- is not (and they are worth the same thing). It only made me study more and work harder on my papers.

Q: How has it been making friends?

A: As I mentioned before, I usually hang out with many international students, since we all met at the pre-orientation, but I also have friends from my dorm, my classes, and friends of friends - during freshman year everyone is looking forward to meeting new people and are usually very friendly.

Q: What has been your favorite class and why?

A: Social Psychology. I am probably biased because of my major, but to me it is a fascinating subject and studying for the tests was actually very interesting.

Q: What is your favorite place to visit in Chicago?

A: I like to go ice-skating during the winter (even though I don`t know how to) and going to Wrigley field to watch the games (even though I don`t understand anything about baseball). Whenever I am home sick, I enjoy going to the restaurant Brazilian Bowl at the Belmont stop.

Q: What words of advice would you share to prospective students?

A: Be friendly, join as many clubs/orgs you can, and sit close to the professor in classes.‚Äč

  Aye Aye Mint

Name: Aye Aye Myint 

Country of Citizenship: Myanmar

Major:  Biology

Q: Why did you choose to attend Loyola University Chicago?

A: I chose to attend Loyola because of the beautiful campus, big city, and easy access to public transportation.

Q: What do you miss most about home?

A: Food and the normally unbearable hot weather. 

Q: What activities are you involved in on or off campus?

A: Not much apart from the events that are hosted by the International club.

Q: How have you handled language differences?

A: Practicing with native speakers and not being afraid of asking questions when encounter words and phrases that I didn't understand.

Q: Adjusting to a different educational system?

A: Giving myself enough time and talking with my advisors.

Q: How has it been making friends?

A: My involvement with a learning community during my freshman year really helped bring my floor mates and I closer and eventually I ended up becoming friends with several members.

Q: What has been your favorite class and why?

A: Theatre In Chicago was by far my favorite because it not only gave me a chance to experience the theatrical cultural of the western world, it also took me to different parts of Chicago.

Q: What is your favorite place to visit in Chicago?

A: I don't usually go out much but I like to walk down Devon on weekends and challenge my taste buds with the different food cuisines that are available. 

Q: What words of advice would you share to prospective students?

A: Relax and fully enjoy what the school and the city have to offer. Education is important but the experience that is gained by living in a different country and region is even more valuable. Do not afraid to seek help from friends, professors, and advisors if there is any problem. Last but not least, take care of the body. Do not skip meals or sleep because a healthy body is the key for a happy college experience.