Where should I go to college? Student stories, UC Irvine

September 30, 2015
Carolyn Chang, right, graduated from the University of California, Irvine in 2013 with a degree in international studies. Her sister, left, is also a UCI grad.

Carolyn Chang, right, graduated from the University of California, Irvine in 2013 with a degree in international studies. Her sister, left, is also a UCI grad.

By Carolyn Chang

I chose to go to UCI because my sister was currently going there, and it was close to home in Palos Verdes to get something in case I forgot it, but it wasn’t close enough to have to commute from home.

UCI has many different organizations that you can get involved in, such as ASUCI (the student government), Greek or multicultural Greek organizations, and many clubs. The majority of freshmen stay in dorms on campus, in Mesa court, or Middle Earth (named after places in Lord of the Rings).

During my first year, I was involved in Zeta Sis, which is a program where “sisses” are paired with a pledging brother of Zeta Phi Rho, and you encourage and support your “bro” through pledging, and then you get Zeta Sis letters at formals, which I was really excited about. I found out about the Zeta Sis program through my sister.

I eventually got involved with the Chinese Association (which held fun after-events that included scavenger hunts, ice skating, clubbing and food) and ASUCI (I was an intern under one of the vice presidents of ASUCI, and we were trying to get UCI to become more involved in politics).

I also found a job at the on-campus Anteater Recreation Center (where I worked as a bar attendant, a baby-sitter, and a kitchen assistant) and would eventually tutor, work at a local flower shop and as a Chinese conversation partner during my four years.

I really enjoyed being an international studies major because of the wide variety of classes you could take. Plus, one of the requirements was to either study abroad or get an internship. I chose to study abroad after choosing Korean as my two-year language course (I was in love with K-pop by then.) Through Korean class, I met wonderful friends. I studied abroad at Yonsei University in Korea in its international summer school program.

UCI does not have a football team, but there are plenty of sports events to go to. Earlier this year, we made in into NCAA March Madness. We also have a high-ranking baseball and volleyball team.

When students need a place to hang out, they usually head over to our student center or cross the bridge to go to the University Towne Center, which has a bunch of food places.

Looking for hotspots in Irvine? Diamond Jamboree plaza, home of the original 85C Bakery Cafe; Tustin District; South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa; Downtown Fullerton; Newport Beach; and Irvine Spectrum (an outdoor mall).

If you want to eat wonderful food, I would try Peter’s Gourmade Grill in Tustin (Greek fries), Mick’s Karma Bar, Harry’s Deli, Ruth’s Chris (if you can afford $$$), and Fukada.

There are so many more places that are worth exploring. You can also go to the Orange County fair in the summer.

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The Korea Times is looking for college students or graduates who would be willing to share advice regarding the search for the right school.

If you or someone you know has a story to share, please contact us at news@koreatimesus.com.

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