Three Asian students stand up for a photo during a football game in a crowded stadium.
Yaan Zhu (center) enjoys a football game with his friends in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at the University of Florida.

A day in the life of an international student

Yaan Zhu made the move from his home in China to the United States in 2019 so he could earn a Master of International Business degree from the University of Florida Warrington College of Business. We asked Yaan to describe what a typical day is like for him at Warrington. See what he had to say about his days on campus, the friends he’s made, what he likes about Florida and how his time at Warrington is preparing him for the future. 

By Yaan Zhu (MIB ’20)

After completing my undergraduate degree in accounting from Hangzhou Normal University Qianjing College in Hangzhou, China, I decided that my next step was to pursue a master’s degree in international business in the United States. 

The biggest reason I chose the UF Master of International Business program is because I’m a big fan of trade and business, and my parents have been involved in the industry for 20 years. I also felt it was important to meet different people and learn about different cultures as I pursued another degree in business.

A normal day for me involves waking up between 7:30-9:30 am, depending on my class time that day. I then get ready, which usually takes about 20 minutes. When I came to the States, I started drinking a lot of coffee. I can’t live without coffee! I follow my coffee with breakfast, which might be bread or Chinese noodles and a glass of orange juice. Finally, I drive to a parking lot near Warrington and go to class.

When my morning class is over, I often go to Chipotle to have lunch. I like to get the chicken bowl with white rice and veggies! Chinese people love to take a nap after lunch, and so did I when I was in China. Now, I don’t take naps because of the coffee! After lunch, I have about a two-hour break between my morning class and afternoon class. During this time, I like to review class notes or talk with my friends in Hough Hall.

After my afternoon class, I like to head home, which is usually between 5 and 7 pm. Once I’m at home, I either make a good dinner for my roommate and myself or go out to have dinner in a restaurant with my classmates. I have many choices for how I spend my free time in the evening like going to the gym or the grocery store, playing the guitar or hanging out with my friends.

During my time at Warrington, I’ve made friends with many American and Chinese students. When I first came to Warrington last semester, I didn’t have any students from China in my classes. For a while, I felt alone and stressed. But, over time, and through class group projects, I met new American and Chinese friends. We kept in touch over the summer and often meet this semester.

In school, everyone’s face is happy and energetic – I really like this vibe. Some people say that Florida is a good place for retirement, but I think this is a place where young people can study hard to pursue their dreams. Whether you are in the library or on the lawn of the Plaza of the Americas, you can see that students are discussing and reading.

Overall, I love the education here at the University of Florida Warrington College of Business. All of the professors, students and career coach mentors have helped me out a lot. I’ve learned so many things here that will definitely be beneficial for my future.