Wanning Liu, '13, and sophomore Serajh Esmail visit UCSC together earlier this year. (Photo courtesy of Liu)

Freshman Focus Q&A: UC Santa Cruz freshman Wanning Liu warns class of ’14 against public universities

Wanning Liu, ’13, attends UC  Santa Cruz. Liu, who is majoring in economics is an international student from Beijing, China.

Q: What classes are you taking, and which do you like the best (or hate the most, if you prefer!)?

A: I’m taking honors calculus and microeconomics as well as a core class called Global Issues. Shewetha Prasad, ’13, is also in my core class. It’s great to see somebody you already know.

Q: How’s your dorm? The weather? The food?

A: I spend my weeks in my single dorm and my weekends in a townhouse I’m renting with three other guys I met here in downtown Santa Cruz. The weather is pretty similar to Sacramento only it’s about 20 degrees colder and more humid because we are right by the ocean. In fact, my dorm room is about a five-minute walk away from the beach. The water’s freezing, though, so I have only seen some crazy surfers get in. We have five dining halls on campus, but they cook the same thing week after week, so I am already sick of it. I found a couple good Chinese restaurants in town. I go there when I am really sick of the university food.

Q: Are you participating in any extracurricular activities? Greek life?

A: I haven’t found an extracurricular activity that I really like, so I’m not currently involved in anything.

Q: How’s the town around the school?

A: The metro bus stop is literally right outside of my dorm, so it is super convenient to go up to campus. I literally walk out the door and can be on campus in minutes. I am pretty sure I am going to move out of the dorms once I get a car because the space in the dorms is really small.

Q: Have you gotten lost or had problems navigating the campus?

A: My first couple of days on campus, I got lost. The campus is split up into the different colleges, and it’s spread out. My econ class is by the main bookstore on campus, and my math class is on the other end of campus. I only had a 30-minute break in between to get from econ to math, and I got lost. There weren’t any people to help you get around so it was a little tough going, but I know where I am headed now.

Q: What’s the most embarrassing freshman mistake you’ve made so far?

A: I haven’t made any (thankfully!)

Q: What has disappointed you about your school? Delighted you? Surprised you?

A: It’s pretty much what I expected but not what I wanted. When I was in high school, I was one of the international students. I still am here, but the school is so much larger. It’s not as warm as Country Day was. You don’t really know anybody.

Q: Any advice for the class of ’14?

A: Don’t apply to a public school. It’s so different from private schools. The professors are nice, but they are totally different from high-school teachers. They have hours, but I think few people use them (at least, I don’t). Some of the classes are huge too. My econ class has over 400 students. The TA’s do all the grading of homework and exams, and the professors pretty much just teach the class and do their hours.

Q: Any interesting stories?

A: I went to a Chinese restaurant in town one day, and I bumped into my professor. He is from Hong Kong. We greeted each other, but he only spoke Cantonese because he is from Hong Kong and I speak Mandarin so we couldn’t talk to each other.

Q: UC Santa Cruz was voted the fourth most diverse UC by U.S. News and World Report. How global do you think it is?

A: At Country Day, international students really meant Chinese students, but here we have kids from Spain, Italy, Korea—all over. I also have a lot of ABC’s (American Born Chinese) on my floor in the dorms. About the only time that I speak Chinese now is when I interact with someone that I met at the International Student meeting. Otherwise, it’s all English.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email