My Favorite Things About Illinois

One disadvantage about living abroad is how difficult it is to actually know what campus is like. Before I came to Illinois, I had never taken a campus tour and had no idea what Champaign was like. I wanted to write a post for those of you in the same boat. Hopefully, this blog gives you some insight to the things students have available to them on campus, especially the things I really like!

Not too big, not too small.

A huge factor that influenced my decision on which college to attend was the university’s surrounding area. I’m from Hong Kong – a huge city, and one of the most densely populated places in the world. After 18 years, I was pretty sick of it – I wanted a slower pace of life.

After living on campus for nearly three years, I can firmly state that Champaign-Urbana is exactly what I was looking for. It’s not too big: the Urbana side of campus is especially quiet. Want to escape the hustle and bustle of campus? Just take a walk in the Japan Gardens and the surrounding area! It’s not too small either – there’s always something to do on Green Street. Plus, you’re only a little over two hours away from both Indianapolis and Chicago!

I absolutely love the Champaign-Urbana area. Coming here wasn’t a huge shock and culture change for me, even though I grew up in one of the biggest cities on Earth. It’s the perfect medium between a big city and the countryside: peaceful, but not boring!

Challenging, but in the good way.

I’ve talked a little about campus: what about the classes at Illinois? For those of you who don’t know, I’m an Astronomy major. This doesn’t mean I can spend all my time learning about cool stuff like black holes and multiverses, though. I have to spend a lot of time studying the physics and math behind these physical phenomena.

I’ll be honest: sometimes, the math and physics classes I take make me want to change majors. They’re tough, and force me to spend a lot of time working. However, if I compare myself now with me freshman year, I can see that I’ve made a lot of progress. The classes at Illinois are challenging, but you will learn a lot if you put the work in. I plan on attending graduate school in the future, and I have no doubt Illinois has supplied me with the quality education I need to be prepared for graduate-level classes.

Work hard, play hard.

I love Illinois both inside and outside the classroom: it feels like there’s a well-established ‘work hard, play hard’ ethic on campus. It’s easy to be involved in extracurricular activities; with over 1,600 registered student organizations at Illinois, there’s something for everyone.

Want to continue a sport you played in high school? There’s probably a club team that competes against other Big 10 colleges. Classes not intellectually stimulating enough, and you want to be surrounded by people of similar interests? Illinois has a huge number of honors and professional societies that can help you get a head start on your career. Just really like everything about autumn? Join the October Lovers, a club that lets students enjoy festive activities throughout the month of October!

I absolutely love most things about Illinois – I’m super happy I decided to come here, and will be an extremely proud alumni. I could go on about the things I love about Illinois, but I don’t want to write a novel! Hopefully, what I’ve written in this blog gives you a little insight into what life at Illinois is like!



Class of 2022
I grew up in Hong Kong, China, and I’ve come across the world to Illinois to major in Astronomy in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. I’ve always thought outer space is super cool, and I love that I’m learning everything that I can about it at Illinois.

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