The Financial Math program at NC State has students from diverse backgrounds and cultures; Yizhou Chen from Shanghai, China shares her story and tips for those moving to Raleigh, North Carolina.
By- Yizhou Chen, May 2015 Graduate, Financial Math Intern, Career Ambassador
"A new semester is coming! Since we have been living in Raleigh, North Carolina for one year, we have something to share with new classmates moving here as they start the Financial Math program at NC State.
First of all, I want to say that Raleigh is a great place to live. I am from Shanghai, China. Compare with Shanghai, the weather here is not too hot in summer and not too cold in winter. A lot of trees are around us and it is very quiet here compared to living in a big city. There are many ways to have fun with a several entertainment options.
The most important thing I think for new students, especially international students, is where you plan to live. Around NC State campus there are many different places to live from renting apartments, townhouses or sharing a house. Most students rent but there is options to buy as well. NC State has a great bus transportation system and is convenient for traveling back and forth to campus. However, a car is useful to run errands and see the rest of the city. If you can room with someone who has a car, that would be ideal. Many students end up having their own car after a year and move further from campus where rent is cheaper.
There are many restaurants near campus. Most places to eat are cheap and the food is decent. If you have a car, you can find some great restaurants in downtown Raleigh, North Raleigh and nearby cities of Cary, Morrisville, Chapel Hill and Durham. We enjoy venturing out to different nearby towns to eat at their restaurants. There are all types of cuisines here including Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Italian, Mexican, Southwest, American, European, French, etc.
Regarding coursework- It is good for students to register for four courses at the beginning in first semester. This way you can gage how much you can handle during the first few weeks. You can get the syllabus for each course and figure out the professor's style and expectations. Then evaluate your time and see if you can still handle four courses. You may find you need to drop one course.
Because every student's background is different, it is hard to know which courses will be hard and which ones will be easy. You will find after a few weeks that you can make friends who can help you study in courses that are challenging.
My advice is to not overload yourself in the first semester. Hard courses require a lot of time and energy. For example, I think MA 546 (Probability Theory and Stochastic Processes) is a very hard course, because I need to understand the different theories and figure out the proofs. However, MBA (Masters in Business Administration) courses are not very hard. Even though I need to read cases and prepare for presentations, these courses are not heavy brain work and time consuming.
For fun, we always go to mall for shopping. It is not very far and the shopping malls have a lot of interesting stores to check out. North Carolina has beaches and mountains which are not too far from Raleigh. We have taken day trips to the beach, hiked in the Smoky Mountains, and visited lakes to swim in close by. There are many forest parks and lake parks here. During the spring, summer and autumn, we can pick fruits in some farms. Sometimes we go to concerts, visit museums, and go to the theatre here.