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Thursday, April 02, 2020

Meet Sylvia, a #UVA Foreign Affairs and Commerce Student from China!

Today's blog post has some great information about the student experience in the McIntire School of Commerce, which is quite popular among prospective students. Thank you, Sylvia, for sharing your experience! Her photos was taken on the patio outside Newcomb Hall, a great spot to read or meet with friends to eat on a nice day. I can't wait to see it full of students again.
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Hey everyone! My name is Sylvia, and I’m currently a second-year student double-majoring in Foreign Affairs and Commerce (will be joining the Comm School next semester). I’m an international student from Harbin, China, and before coming to UVA, I attended a boarding school in Connecticut. I like to sing, play the piano, and spend time with my friends in my free time. I knew UVA was the place for me the moment I stepped on grounds two years ago, and I hope reading about my experience will help you form a more holistic picture of what it’s like to be a student here!


It’s safe to say that almost everyone at UVA was very successful academically in high school. When all these high-achieving students became my classmates, I felt a lot of pressure. For the longest time, I thought I was the only one feeling that way, but it was simply not true. Everyone is at UVA for a reason, and a wonderful thing about UVA students is that they love helping each other succeed. I found myself in various study groups with my classmates from different classes. We constantly made sure that no one was behind and we made an effort to spend time explaining materials to each other. On weekdays, I usually spend at least an hour in Clemons (my favorite library on grounds) by myself. I take a lot of classes that assign a good amount of readings, so studying alone allows me to truly focus on the text without being interrupted.

Extracurricular Activities

I joined the Caviler Daily, a student-operated news organization at UVA, as a first-year student and became a section editor last semester. To be honest, one of my least favorite things was talking to strangers over the phone, but it was a crucial component of my journalism career because not every source I needed was conveniently in town. Working with the Cavalier Daily forced me to step out of my comfort zone, but the experience was so rewarding as I was able to make connections with students who later became my friends and even mentors. 

I’m also a sister of alpha Kappa Delta Phi, an Asian-Interest Sorority on grounds. I served as Rush Chair last semester and I’m currently the Vice President of Service. My job involves a lot of communication with the House, CIOs on grounds, and organizations in the greater Charlottesville area. Not too surprisingly, my communication and event planning skills improved so much over the course of one year. My sisters also became my closest friends who I do (literally) everything with. 

I got into Virginia Case Club (VCC), a case competition organization at UVA, at the beginning of my second year. My mentor is the president of VCC, and he talked a lot about his experience as a student in the Comm School, which impacted my decision to apply. UVA almost has too many clubs to choose from, and even in the unlikely scenario that there isn’t a single organization that interests you, you always have the freedom to establish a new one.

Why UVA?

 The short answer is “the people”. The first time I came to UVA was for a revisit day. I saw students walking by, smiling at the tour groups and offering help to anyone who got lost on the huge campus. The students also looked oddly cheerful on a Monday morning, walking and laughing with their friends towards the direction of Newcomb Hall (one of the dining halls on grounds). I ran into Jack, Dean J’s famous CavPup by the end of my tour. It would be a slight exaggeration to say that Jack was the reason why I came to UVA, but he really had the power to brighten up my entire day. UVA professors also truly care about their students. I would get email replies that take up my entire computer screen to a question I asked about the lecture or their field of study. It is obvious that they are passionate about teaching and supporting their students. These are stories that constitute my experience at UVA, and I’m beyond thankful that I get to be a part of this community!