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!