Meet Your Fellow International Anteater

The International Center is committed to facilitating an enriching college experience for the international community at UC Irvine. Meet Your Fellow Anteater is an opportunity for us to connect international students by highlighting the involvements, accomplishments, and experiences of the outstanding students in our community. Don't be afraid to say "hi" when you see your fellow anteater around campus. 


Imam Uz Zaman (Symon)

Year : 1st Year Grad
Major : Electrical Engineering
Home Country : Bangladesh
Native Language : Bangla

1. What is your favorite American food/snack?

My favorite American food is Burgers and I love In-n-Out. I also love Pizzas, specially Gina’s and Bjs.

2. If you could have a conversation with one person (fictional, living, deceased) who would it be and why?

I would have a conversation with Steve Jobs. I would like to ask him why he decided to leave Reed College, and about his motivations in becoming a successful entrepreneur. I would also like to ask him what his next invention that could have changed human perception of technology would be.

3. What are three words you would use to describe yourself and why?

Three words that describe me are motivated, friendly, and hard working. Without motivation, it would not have been possible for me to come to America, thousands of miles away from my home country and from my family to pursue my Ph.D. in EE. I am working really hard to be a successful person in my field. I have friends from all over the world at UCI. I have friends from Italy, Germany, China, Korea, Belgium, India, Vietnam and many other countries. So being friendliness is in my nature.

4. Why did you choose to come to UCI for college?

UCI is a great research oriented school for Electrical Engineering. One of the professor’s research attracted me immensely so I decided to come. I also got full scholarship from UCI so I am here.

5. What are some of your involvements here at UCI? What drew you to these specific?

I am involved in Anteater Photography Club and UCI Swing club. Photography was always my passion, so I joined photography club. I wanted to try something totally new, I had no idea about dancing so I joined Swing group. These groups are quite helpful to keep balance between my research and social life. I am also closely related to the UCI International center. I try to attend their all events and meet new people all time.

6. What are some similarities and differences that you’ve noticed between your home country and the U.S.?

Things are quite different. One of the major differences is the weather. My home country has a hot climate, it is often humid, and it rains a lot. However, California weather is very decent and it barely rains. In Bangladesh, we have six seasons instead of three. Here in US there are huge open spaces everywhere, but my home country is very small, everything is congested. Driving is also totally different. In my country, the driving seat is on right side instead of the left. Here, people use credit/debit cards mostly, while in my home country they use cash. Food habits are also very different. People in my country like to have gravy items with rice.

7. What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them? / What advice do you have for other international students currently adjusting to life in the United States?

Most challenging task for me was to adjust with the new environment, new culture and new people. Language was also a barrier for me. But I overcame these challenges very easily with the help of my friends and relatives living here. UCI’s International Center helped me a great deal in overcoming these challenges. I went to tours with them, attended their workshops, met people, talked to them and gradually learned US culture. Attending workshops was really helpful to make life comfortable here. Sometimes I went to counseling center to clarify some confusion. I also took ELS classes to understand American pronunciation in language. Making connections with other people is an important aspect of that helped me learn American culture.

I would like to suggest to other international students currently facing trouble in adjusting to life in US is to attend as many workshops as they can. There are many social events are happening all around the campus, try to engage yourself in these events. Meet new people; don’t just keep yourself within people from your own country. The Career center, Counseling center, International center, Cross Cultural Center, they are here for us. They are here to make our life easy. Take advantages of them.

8. What would people be surprised to know about you?

People would be surprised to know that in the last 7 months I have made so many friends from different countries. Just in these months I came to know cultures of many countries like USA, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, India, Malaysia and many others. People would be surprised that instead of being a PhD student I am also engaged in Photography and Swing dance club and I attended almost all events hosted by International center for the last three quarters.

9. As an international student, what have you learned (or are learning) that has made a difference in your life.

As an international student, I have learned to be tolerant of other people’s cultures. I have met so many different individuals from all over the world and they all belong to different religions, and have different values from my own. Maintaining an open mind and being respectful of other people’s beliefs and cultures have allowed me to grow as a person. 


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