Sponsored Student Spotlight 

Name: Muhammad Farhan Aiman Arsani

Year in Program: 2018 - 2019

Country: Malaysia

Sponsoring Agency: Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA)

Field of Study: Engineering                         

Majors and Minors: MS in Structural Engineering


Why did you decide to study in the U.S.? What made you choose to come to San Diego?


Aside from having all the awesome places in the U.S. as shown in TV shows and cartoons that I watched when I was growing up, the education system in the U.S. is one of the best in the world. I choose San Diego because I have experienced studying in the east coast and I want to experience a different environment. San Diego is also a very beautiful place and very close to the coast.


How did you become interested in UC San Diego and your program? What do you hope to gain out of your experience here, academically and personally?


UC San Diego offers one of the best structural and earthquake engineering programs in the U.S. The amount of research done and experts in earthquake engineering are a few things that made UCSD stand out than my previous university and other universities I applied to. I hope to learn and connect with more people in this field after I finish studying at UCSD.


What challenges/difficulties did you meet while preparing your stay in the U.S. or adapting to your new setting in San Diego?  How did you overcome them?


I did not find it to be challenging/difficult to adapt living and doing Master’s program in the U.S./San Diego because I actually lived in Virginia for about 4 years when I was doing my undergraduate study. I think getting connected with my peers from my home country and joining other clubs/activities on campus would make the transition of living abroad easier.


How do you find the academic climate at UC San Diego and within your program?  Describe any highlights and/or challenges.


I find the quarter system to be really challenging because everything is going at a faster pace than the semester system. It definitely requires more effort and hard work to stay up to speed with everyone and the system itself. I am glad that I am slowly getting used to this system.


What extracurricular activities do you participate in?  Are you a member of any student organizations?  What is the best experience you’ve had so far? How do you spend your free time in San Diego?


I am not really in any student organization. But I do outdoor activities like badminton, hiking and running. I haven’t really had much opportunities to enjoy the beauty of La Jolla/San Diego, but I definitely want to go to Pebble Beach and visit national parks around California when I have the free time. I am a member of the Malaysian Student Organizations here at UCSD.


What was a defining moment in your academic career that shaped who you are now?


I think my academic career defining moment was when I received a scholarship to do my undergraduate study in the U.S.  Being almost 10,000 miles away from home really forced me to be independent and make me step out of my comfort zone.


What have you accomplished during your studies at UC San Diego that you are most proud of? How has this impacted you?


There have not been much that I accomplished since I have only been here for a few months. But I can say I have met great people and learned a lot in structural engineering so far during my short time here.


How will your experience here in San Diego fit in your educational/professional plan/future career? 


My future plan is to work in a consulting firm designing structures like buildings, bridges and railways. I strongly believe that the program I am in will prepare me for all the technical knowledge that I need to. Having strong connections with my professors and peers that I meet here will also increase my network in this field.


What is one thing you would tell aspiring sponsored students?


Being abroad is definitely challenging especially because everything is so different than back home. Always remember your goal and why you want to be here in the first place. Despite all the challenges and difficulties, remember to always have fun and explore the new surroundings.