A Guest post from Alex Hu, student leader and proud member of the Leadership Learning Community.

Welcome to the University of Connecticut. My name is Alex Hu, I am a proud member of the Leadership Learning Community172. I am also a junior majoring in communication from Guangzhou China, that’s why I always tell people, like a lot of things in this world, I am a hundred percent made in China. Choosing to live in a Learning Community is the best decision I have ever made in my life besides getting a Netflix Account. My Learning Community Americanized me and helped me transition into my college life ever since my first day at the University of Connecticut.

I can still remember when I first moved into my dorm after a sixteen-hour flight with two huge suitcases. A real-life, living American greeted me and told me if I ever need any help he would always be there for me. So I thought, “wow, thank you America, people here are so friendly!” This American’s name is Ali Etman, my freshmen year RA who became my mentor-for-life. Since then, making friends has always been that easy. In the LLC, we have an open-door practice where everyone leaves their doors open whenever they are free to talk. Through the open-door practice I met my best friends, and I knew everyone on the two floors in my Learning Community.  Now I know wherever I go and whatever I am going to do, I always have my Learning Community Family supporting me from behind.

There are several things that I wished I knew as a freshman from China. First, for my fellow international students, there are no actual spirits or ghosts in ‘spirit shops’, I learned that the hard way.  Secondly, push yourself out of your comfort zone. There is no doubt that you will be comfortable around people from your high school or same town or when speaking the same language as those around you. But doesn’t that sound really familiar? Doesn’t it sound like what your life was like for the past four years? Take a break with your clique, rather than staying with them all the time, reach out to people. College is an amazing place for you to meet new people and make new friends. By doing this, you can make this campus a lot smaller.

Also if you have an accent, don’t be scared and shy to speak English. Be proud of your accent, it is who you are and proof of where you come from.