UCI International Center

Meet Your Fellow Anteater

Section 1


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.


Frances Li

Year: Junior
Major/Research: Education Sciences, Psychology and Social Behavior
Department: Department of Education, Department of Psychology and Social Behavior
Home Country: China
Native Language: Mandarin and Cantonese

Watch this video to hear from Frances:

Zekai Zhao

Learn more about Frances below:

1. Self-Introduction

Hello everyone! My name is Frances Li and I am a third-year international student from Guangzhou, China.

2. What is your favorite American food/snack?

My favorite American food is Southern fried chicken (e.g. Popeyes). Although I have been keeping a healthy diet otherwise, I am never able to resist having fried chicken.

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

I am an energetic person. I believe that life is more fun when I am engaging in a variety of different activities, so I found myself involved in multiple research projects, leadership & career positions, and sports at the same time. I am also very open-minded. Even though I am graduating with degrees in psychology and education, I am open to different career possibilities from being a police detective to working in student affairs. I am also very spontaneous: I enjoy going on random road trips and food adventures. 

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

I thought UCI is a college that truly wants to foster success in individuals from diverse backgrounds, and the longer I have been in UCI, the more I found that to be true. Prior to coming to college, I learned UCI offers many resources in academics, research, and careers. These resources would help me explore my interests and (hopefully) find my career passion. UCI also provides tremendous opportunities: such as the simple procedures in switching majors and many student leadership positions. I thought these would allow me to have a fulfilling college experience (and they did!)

5. Who or what inspires/motivates you in life/school?

Life's randomness motivates me. I am always excited to see how life is going to be because it is so unpredictable yet interesting. I believe that "Everything happens for the best", and there's no wrong way to go as long as I am putting efforts on something positive. There are countless moments when I was stressed, overwhelmed, or frustrated by setbacks, but I believe that there are numerous ways to suceed and we just need to have faith & carry on. 

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

I am currently a programs intern at the International Center. I believe that international students have great potentials and the help I can offer for them in adjusting to the American culture and overcoming the language barrier would assist them in achieving their potentials. Hence, I put efforts in planning programs and activities that engage international students in leadership opportunities and meaningful conversations. I was a peer mentor at International Student Excellence program and an orientation staffer for Student Parent Orientation Program. Both positions enabled me to help students from where I was as a freshman to where I am right now upon graduation.

7. What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

The biggest challenge I faced was that as an international student, I have a different experience growing up than the domestic students do. As a result, I often hear people talking about their past experiences (e.g. the theme song of Disneyland movies they watched) that I found no connection with. Luckily, I share many current experiences with my fellow students (e.g. watching Netflix, going to the beach), and I am able to connect with my friends with these experiences. Something I found to be true is that although it is better to know the American culture, we should only adopt to the aspects that we enjoy or feel comfortable with, rather than adapting to all aspects solely for the sake of building connections.

8. What advice do you have for other international students currently adjusting to life in the United States?

Don't put a definition on yourself! UCI offers so many wonderful opportunities and resources for you to explore your interest and meet new friends, so don't put one single definition on yourself and refrain from trying out new things and meeting new people! When I first came to UCI, I thought I would find research boring and tedious because most tasks are repetitive. However, after I got involved in two research labs, I found myself constantly learning new things about psychology, which is extremely fascinating to me. Now, I found my passion in psychology and will be pursuing research as my career. Had I stick with the original definition I had for myself, I wouldn't be able to find my true passion.

9. What has been your favorite experience at UCI and/or the U.S. so far?

My favorite experience at UCI was taking graduation photos with my friends. In the three years I had at UCI, I was fortunate enough to meet these wonderful people and built strong relationships with them. I really appreciate the support, accompany, and the precious memories they provided to me, and I hope that we will stay in touch in the future. 


Previous Anteater Spotlights: 
Takuya Yamamoto 
Jasmine Loo
Zekai Zhao
If you have any questions or need more information, please contact programs@ic.uci.edu

Check out photos from International Center Programs & Activities our Facebook page!