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Name: Ayushi Agrawal

Year: 4th Year

Home: India and Mexico

College: Muir

Major(s) and Minor(s):
Clinical Psychology (B.S.), International Studies Minor



  1. Why did you choose UC San Diego?
    I have always been interested in participating in research and UCSD is a research focused university. Attending UCSD opened up many opportunities for me to get involved in research. Moreover, I wanted to study in California and UCSD is perfect! Its by the beach, the weather is amazing and I have access to amazing Indian food and Mexican food!

  2. What was something about UC San Diego, California or even the United States that surprised you or was unexpected before arriving?
    Communication! Many of my friends used Instagram, snapchat and texting to communicate all the time. That was something I had to get used to. But I appreciate having people I care about checking in on me to make sure I am doing okay. I think I have also learnt to check in on them (especially during this pandemic period!)

  3. Describe your first year at UC San Diego:
    I was excited and scared. Leaving behind family and friends to come to a new country was hard but I was excited to step out of my comfort zone and dive into all the opportunities available for me at UCSD. My first year was a lot of experimentation; attending many org events and meetings, talking to many people and finding my people, my place at UCSD. It was hard. For the first couple months I was scared I would never find my community, but I found it in Muir, in the orgs I joined, in the classes I took and in the friends I made.

  4. What has been your favorite memory (so far)?
    My favourite memory is very difficult to pinpoint. One thing that comes to mind immediately is how my suitemates and I bonded our first year. After we had all gone through Week 0, we had been well acquainted with UCSD. But we wanted to explore outside the college campus. So we decided to go to Old Town in San Diego and spend time there. We had a lot of fun! We visited the Haunted Whaley house, walked around and took in all the stores (some authentic, some full of jelly beans and candy). It was very windy but I enjoyed that day a lot and bonded with my friends on the way.
  5. What has been your biggest challenge? How did you respond to or overcome that challenge?
    It was a challenge finding my community and my people. Arriving in a new country, not knowing anybody, feeling alone was difficult. But I overcame that by searching! By stepping outside my comfort zone, searching beyond what I already knew. I attended events, talked to people, listened to them and I found my community. My community happens to be a small group of friends who are understanding, weird and hilarious! It also happens to be my coworkers, my lab-mates and my club companions.

  6. Are you involved in any extra-curricular activities (sports, clubs, volunteer organizations, work, etc.)? If so, describe them and your experiences in them:
    I work as an International Peer Coach for the International Students & Programs Office and the Student Success Program. We provide one on one coaching for incoming international students where you can talk to us about ANYTHING and we also have a lot of fun planning events. I also work at the Veterans' Affairs San Diego Healthcare System Stress and Neuroimaging Lab. I am an Undergraduate Research Assistant and I help out with studies that the lab conducts. I am part of TEDxUCSD which is a student run organization that puts on mini events every quarter and an annual TEDx conference. I have met some of the coolest people here, from my peers to the speakers!

  7. What was something that you wish someone told you prior to arriving? 
    You can ask for help! Coming to UCSD, all alone, I felt like I had left behind my support system. Here at UCSD I thought I have to figure out how to do things alone. But I didn't need to. There are advisors, CAPS, tutors, teaching assistants and so many resources for me to use.

  8. In this virtual learning environment, how have you stayed involved and maintained the friendships and connections that you made on campus? 
    I think being open to change is something that has helped me stay involved. I am not the only one going through this, many people are feeling the same way. The best way to deal with it is to go along with the new changes. As an international student, I’m used to communicating with people far away (family, friends) so it was just a matter of doing that with my friends at UCSD. I make it a point to check in with people I care about and start a conversation with them, play iPhone games, send memes/tiktoks and watch movies together.

  9. How do you maintain your relationships with friends and family back home?
    Basically everything I mentioned in my previous answer and lots of calls at set times throughout the week, sometimes randomly ringing them up and most importantly, texting them any cool pictures/ experiences I have.

  10. What is your advice for international students who are starting at UC San Diego this fall? 
    Have an open mind! Be prepared to step out of your comfort zone.