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. 

Jonathan

Jonathan Reyna

Year: 4th year
Major: Economics
Home Country: Mexico
Native Language: Spanish

1. What is your favorite American food/snack?
I love macaroni and cheese! Also I love all kind of hamburgers (cheeseburger, crispy chicken burger, hawaiian burger, etcetera). 

2. If you could have a conversation with one person (fictional, living, deceased) who would it be and why?
My conversation would be with Andrew Bayer, who is an American electronic music producer. I have been a fan of him for a long time; I went to his concert last month in Los Angeles and I really enjoyed it. I think he is a cool person and I would ask him several questions regarding the way he produces electronic music, since I want to become a producer in the future.

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

  • Open minded. I am a person who likes listening to other people and learning from them. I like to hear different points of view, to create new ideas and to innovate.
  • Tenacious. Whenever I have a goal I do everything to get it. I am very determined to reach my life goals; everyday I do something to get closer to them.
  • Empathetic. I understand people (relatives, friends, even strangers) when they feel in a certain way. I can share another person's emotions or experiences.

4. Why did you choose to come to UCI for college?
I think UCI has everything. Most importantly, academics at UCI have an excellent status and they are challenging. Besides that, the campus is beautiful, clean and safe and it has plenty of spaces to study well and to meet with friends. Moreover, the location of UCI is just perfect; we are close to several world famous beaches, huge malls and beautiful parks; we are close to Los Angeles as well one of the most interesting American cities.

5. Who or what inspires/motivates you in life/in school?
My biggest motivation in life is my family! In particular my parents; they have taught me a lot of crucial values for success since I was a kid.

6. What are some of your involvements here at UCI? What drew you to these specific involvements/organizations? How does your major/extracurricular involvements fit into your life goals/career plans?
I was part of the Alternative Spring Break program, which is organized by the Student Life and Leadership department. Having participated in this program brought me a number of benefits; I met and worked with amazing people, I learned new things about social issues in America and I also visited new places (In San Francisco and the Bay Area). Now I belong to this community at UCI and I really enjoy being part of it. This extracurricular involvement has helped me a lot in terms of getting new perspectives of different problems that we as a society have to face, such as poverty and environmental issues. In addition, belonging to this team encouraged me to develop many leadership skills that will help me to reach my life goals in the near future.

Moreover, I am always involved in activities for international students on campus, because it is really interesting to learn about other cultures and share thoughts with more college students that are in the same situation (living and learning in another country).  

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

-Similarities:

In general people are nice, friendly and kind in both countries. Also the weather is pretty much the same (most of the time sunny and occasionally cold/rainy).

-Differences:

Transportation. Here in the U.S. everybody uses their car to get any place. In my hometown (Mexico City) a large number of people uses public transportation to commute, which is really big (we have a 13-line subway system and plenty of bus routes). 

Food. In my home country people love spicy food while in the U.S. they do not. In Mexico corn is the most important food, but in America people eat more bread.

The way people greet each other. Back in Mexico we greet each other with a shake hand, a hug and a kiss. Here greetings are less expressive.

8. 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?

Communicating properly with people in a language that is not my native language. Even when I have been studying English for a long time, when I came here I was afraid of not communicating correctly. However I have been practicing a lot (in classes, conversations and workshops) and now I feel more confident of myself while speaking English. I think it is something that happens to all international students. Another challenge was to adapt myself to the food. Since I am not into cooking, at the beginning I just had fast food. However, I decided to get a meal plan on campus in order to eat more adequately and it worked. My piece of advice would be: Focus your mind on good things, always try to be optimistic, even if everything is different from your home country.

9. What is your favorite experience at UCI and/or the U.S. so far?
Before the spring break I went to Joshua Tree National Park with some close friends from UCI. It was a perfect day; it was sunny and we had a lot of fun there together. We enjoyed the amazing sunset at the top of a mountain. 

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

I love perfumes! If I could I would have an entire collection of them!

11. As an international student, what have you learned (or are learning) that has made a difference in your life?
Studying abroad has made me grow up a lot. Now I know myself better. I have learned to manage my time successfully and to take responsibilities of myself. I think the benefits from this experience will remain forever. 

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