International student Liyu An, a native of Dalian, China (population six million), has adapted well to her new home in Burlington, Vt. (population 40,000). "It's a very nice town," she says about one of America's most highly ranked cities. "Even though it's small, it has everything a student needs."
So does the local university.
Given Liyu's dreams of being a doctor, in fact, she's close to ideally situated at the University of Vermont. Within weeks of starting school, the Honors College biology major was assisting a prominent faculty member in her research lab, a critical requirement for med school, and has worked in two other faculty labs since. "That would never happen" at a Chinese university, she says — or at most American ones.
Liyu, a sophomore, also plans to take advantage of the university's on-campus medical school, ranked 6th by U.S. News & World Report for primary care, by applying to UVM's pre-med physician-mentoring program.
While her math and science courses have come easy so far (she's avoided the most rigorous while getting used to English language textbooks), others were challenging, especially first semester.
An Honors College humanities course, for instance, required her to write a paper a week, exposing flaws in Liyu's writing. But her professor went out of his way to help, working with her on her rough drafts and finding her a writing tutor. "That's how my writing greatly improved," she says.
Although many families in China want to send their children to study in America, most aren't aware of the breadth of higher education here, Liyu says. "They only know Harvard and Stanford."
That's a shame, she says, since the U.S. boasts many other fine schools. If they only knew: "students at Harvard and UVM have the same resources," she says.