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The Gachon Herald
Unforgettable Memories from the University of Arizona
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Updated : 2014.06.29  00:15:25
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  Ever since I was freshman in university I have always wanted to participate in an exchange program. One day I saw a notice from International Affairs about an exchange program in University of Arizona (UA). I did not even hesitate for one second because University of Arizona is known for one of the best optics program among the universities in the US. Furthermore, I am majoring in Biomedical Engineering (BioNano) and University of Arizona made Biomedical Engineering degree available to undergraduate program in 2009. Besides, Tucson, one of the biggest cities in the state of Arizona, has beautiful weather. Usually many Koreans conjured up the idea of a desert when they hear about Arizona. However, Arizona has blue skies and dry summer unlike humid Korean summer. Therefore, my experience in UA was life-changing both on campus and off campus.

  The most memorable class I took was Molecular Biophysics which is a senior-graduate level course in the Physics Department. Not only was it hard, but the professor taught me how to analyze and interpret the physics phenomena. The professor who taught this class is Koen Visscher who is an expert on Optical Tweezer and his research is about manipulating Kinesin single molecule which is a protein involved in regulating the movement of the cells in eukaryotes. In that class, I needed to read articles every week and prepare for the questions and comments. The hardest part was making my own presentation by using a paper regarding biophysics. Even though I had chosen a paper which I liked the most, but I struggled because I had chosen a poorly written research paper. So I had to visit my professor in his office hours. He was very kind in person and helped me a lot with my presentation.
  When I had free time on weekends, I usually participated in activities held by International Students Association (ISA) where I met my first American and international friends. I met many graduate and undergraduate students with diverse backgrounds. Legal drinking age in Arizona is 21 unlike in Korea. Sometimes I was invited to many house parties and birthday parties so I could enjoy being with many friends(Usually undergraduate students who live in student apartment hold house parties so they can drink alcohol without worrying about age limit on alcohol). So I found myself hanging out and socializing with older friends whenever I went to a bar. While I was enjoying with my friends at the bar I shared episodes and wisdoms from friends in graduate school. For example, my Indonesian friend in master’s program told me how he got into the UA graduate school and life of a graduate student. He had to be in a lab for three years even after his graduation and also won Fulbright scholarship. I was moved by his hard work and patience.
  UA had several football matches in fall semester. I bought a Zonazoo pass to watch whichever game I wanted. Zonazoo pass is a kind of free pass ticket to watch every game in UA . I went to the stadium in UA four times and every time I watch football games I could not help myself screaming to let off my steam from hard work. Plus, it was the best way to cheer for the football players along with shaking a key chain. It is a UA’s method of cheering. When there is no activity on weekends, my closest friend and I went to Mountain Lemmon which is not far away from UA.
  As I was the first Gachon student in UA, I had some difficulties starting from technical errors in online application, housing (finding student apartment and signing up for a lease), and tons of documents that I had to deal with, this exchange program not only trained me as an independent human being, but also to broaden my horizon for my future life. I recommend all Gachon students to challenge for being an exchange program opportunity to improve themselves.

LJ Kim Dept. of Bio Nano11

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