Linh (third from the right) and her friends celebrating the Michigan Football National Championship Parade together!

Hello everyone! I'm Linh Tran, a first-year student in MRADS. As you might have guessed from my name, I hail from vibrant Vietnam, a place that's literally on the other side of the world and a whole 12 hours ahead of the U.S.! If you are curious about the experience of being an international student in MRADS, living and working alongside peers and faculty, this blog post is meant for you. 

Coming here alone, I was nervous about finding my place among such a dynamic and intellectually vibrant community. I couldn't shake off the worry that MRADS students, all deeply engrossed in their research and studies, might not be very approachable or eager to connect with newcomers from a different country like me. However, I should have known better that contrary to my assumptions about MRADS, we are proudly the most diverse learning community at the University of Michigan. Have I mentioned that my current friend group includes people from all corners of the globe, from Asia to Europe to North America? It's a true melting pot of cultures! I absolutely adore how MRADS creates opportunities for deep connections among individuals from diverse backgrounds, allowing friendships to blossom in ways that might have seemed impossible otherwise. Below are some cherished memories and experiences I've had here at MRADS with my friends (and I'm excited to create even more in the future!):

  1. My roommate, Bella, and I have established a routine of exchanging notes every other morning. In each note, we include a new word in our respective languages - I write in Vietnamese, while Bella shares Spanish words. Remarkably, language, often perceived as a barrier, has become a bridge between us. It has not only strengthened our bond but has also allowed us to overcome any linguistic obstacles. 
  2. Our friend group has a date at the gym every week around 9 PM. With their company, the gym seems less intimidating, and we all enjoy the opportunity to spend quality time together while staying healthy and active.
  3. I've had the pleasure of immersing myself in American culture with my roommate, from cheering on American football games to experiencing the festive spirit of Christmas, Halloween, and Valentine's Day. This meaningful friendship has even extended to a bonus relationship with her parents. Bella's mother goes above and beyond, always including something extra in the care package she sends. It warms my heart to receive such thoughtful gestures, like having my name written on a homemade Valentine's Day cookie. It truly makes me feel at home and welcomed.
  4. Spending Tea Time every week to chat with friends after class is so stress-relieving. This event is hands down one of the highlights at MRADS because it's all about good vibes, good food, good friends, and good conversations. Seriously, what more could you ask for?

There's so much more to share about MRADS. It's not just a program; it's a place where you forge lifelong friendships with incredible people you never thought you'd meet. MRADS is dedicated to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment by constantly hosting events that celebrate various cultures and identities. With affinity groups and a team of student leaders, including Peer Advisors for academic support and Peer Mentors for social guidance, finding your place in this community is so much easier. And the best part? We all live together, and it’s just a knock on someone's door or a visit to the Lounge away from engaging in fantastic conversations!