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.
Kevin (Zijia) Ke
Year : Junior
Major : Computer Science; Business Economics
Minor : Accounting
Home Country : China
Native Language : Cantonese, Mandarin
1. What is your favorite American food/snack?
As a meat lover, I love rib-eye steak the best, especially the one from Outback Steakhouse (at Culver) because it is relatively cheap and it taste REALY good! I also have a crush on fried chicken wing. Well, technically, fried chicken wing is one of the traditional Korean dishes, not American’s, but since I never tried it until I got here at 2014, I count it as an “American food” to me. In the mean time, I am also a crazy lover of plain-taste food – I don’t eat heavy-taste food a lot (especially spicy) because my stomach is too vulnerable. Therefore, ever since I tried American-style shabu-shabu at Walnut (15 minutes driving from the campus), I became one of its most frequent costumers. It is like a transformed version of Chinese hot-pot, but its taste is much more plain, and my stomach feels more than comfortable every time I stepped out of that restaurant. (Trust me, the kombu broth is the best!!!)
Other than American food, I will put cereal as my favorite snack – well again technically, cereal is not counted as a snack, but it does for me. When I sit down for a long time to do my homework, facing a monitor, I love having a bag of cereal alongside. It satisfies my hunger, maintains my mental status, and more importantly, it tastes much better than an energy bar.
2. If you would have a conversation with one person (fictional, living, deceased), who would it be and why?
Matthew Perry (acted as Chandler Bing in Friends). He gave me so much fun and laughs when I shouldered huge pressure of applying American colleges. More importantly, he and other actors from Friends offered me a general idea about the country when I was still a high school rookie. That is also why I eventually decided to study abroad to the US and learn more about its culture.
3. What are three words you would use to describe yourself and why?
Humorous: I am an individual who is aware of tiny details from my stressed life, which afford me a lot of fun and release me from academic. And I love sharing my hilarities to my closed friends.
Helpful: I enjoy experiences of helping others, especially internationally students. As a peer advisor at ICS school, when my peers have problems, not matter they are academically, socially, physically or mentally, I am always there to console and help them out. For me, the best reward of helping people is when they say “Thank you so much! You help me a lot, and I really appreciate it!” And that stimulates me to keep helping people around the campus.
Perseverant: I am a stubborn individual, and turns out this quality has pros and cons. The up-side is that I now become a person that rarely give up, especially on pursuing things what I love, but on the other side, sometimes I could not listen to others’ suggestions at all and become arrogant. In a nut shell, being determined and perseverant offer me a lot more benefits through out these years.
4. Why did you choose to come to UCI for college?
The “Academic Freedom” is the paramount. UC Irvine provides amazing opportunities for me to pursue what I love academically, such as computer science, business (accounting), and basic economics.
Another main reason is its location. I am so comfortable with sunshine, the moderate living pace, and those delicious Cantonese food : ) The only down side of Irvine, in my perspective, is its incredibly high tax rate. (I’m kidding, but it is the truth!!!)
5. Who or what inspires/motivates you in life/in school? Is there a specific quote or phrase that you live by?
I would say my family and my awesome friends. They encourage me all the time and always tell me to be optimistic in life. They contribute nothing but warm and love to me, and I love them to the moon and back.
Quote: “Keep busy living, or keep busing dying.” —— Shawshank Redemption
6. What are some of your involvements here at UCI?
English Conversation Program: Basically my initial idea of joining ECP is to practice my oral English and know more about American culture – in fact, this is also the essence of this amazing program. Later on, however, I found out that meeting new people in ECP is not only to practice my speaking or to learn cultural stuff, but a valuable time for me to relax from stressful academic coursework. That is why I keep showing up in this program every quarter from Fall 2014.
Also I am currently a peer academic advisor at Donald Bren ICS School. If you are students in ICS school or if you are trying to change your major into ICS, you are more than welcomed to come talk to me!
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?
I would say the toughest challenge I have faced is the ability of self-constraint. I grew up in a typical Chinese family, which means that on the one side, my parents are strict to me, but on the other hand, they take care a lot of things in my life, so that I don’t need to worry too much. Since I got here, however, I was forced to manage my life all by myself, financially and academically. It was really to get lost (I have seen a lot of instances) if you cannot control yourself well. Thus, make your own time schedule, build up your social network, and please be executive.
Different individuals possess various life, and you need to pick yours.
8. What is your favorite experience at UCI and/or the U.S. so far?
Definitely the time at ECP. It is an amazing program that assists me to know American culture in a short time. It allows me to keep meeting nice and helpful peers, and there is always so much fun during our conversations.
9. What would people be surprised to know about you?
I played in a professional Pin-pong team when I was 11 back in China. Later I left the team because of my wrist-pain.
10. What do you want your legacy to be after you graduate from UCI?
“I have a peer (student) before. He is always optimistic to his life, smiling all the day, and the most impressive is that, his helpfulness encouraged a lot of us.” (hopefully, I will reach this goal lol)
11. Any thing else you'd like to share?
Although I am a heavy boy, I love playing sports. If you need someone to play Pin-pong, badminton, basketball, or swimming with you, I am the right one to reach, so hit me up!
Meet Other Fellow International Anteaters