Zhuoran Bao (Class of 2021)

photo of Zhuoran Bao

  • junior double major in Media and Culture and Interactive Media Studies
  • from Liaocheng, China
  • participated in the American Culture & English program her first semester
  • member of International Peer Orientation Leaders; Chinese Culture and Art Association; Asian American Association
"Be confident. Miami professors will help you out and are always ready for your questions, so don't be afraid to ask them!"

Why Miami?

"When I was applying to colleges from my hometown in China, I didn't have a high enough TOEFL score, which is needed to be accepted in American universities. I heard about Miami's American Culture & English (ACE) program from a current senior, and she told me it's a really good way for international students to get familiar with Miami and improve their English, so I said, 'Okay, I'll go there!'

"As an ACE student, I had one semester to prepare for the classes that I'm interested in. I realized I was interested in film and radio production, so that's why I took more Miami Plan classes and how I found my two majors in media and culture and interactive media studies. During that first year I also did a lot of volunteering and joined a lot of organizations, like the Chinese Culture and Art Association and the Asian American Association (AAA). These activities helped me to learn more about American culture and feel more at home here at Miami."

Best Miami Experiences

Zhuoran Bao (right) and a friend at Miami's 2019 Asian Culture Fest

"The ACE Program really helped me improve my English, and it's the best thing I did at Miami. Before I came here from China, my English was subpar, and in China we don't get to learn the different cultural things that are only available here. ACE provides balanced classes for new international students, where they focus on listening, speaking, writing, and many other things. It's very helpful for new students to do ACE for their first semester and then be ready for college life.

"Being new to the U.S. and just out of high school, these students don't have any idea what American college is! They're probably thinking, 'I have no idea if I can understand American college classes and know how to talk to my professors,' but ACE helps you slow down and learn things step-by-step.

"The professors in the ACE Program are very nice and patient. They listen to your questions and are willing to help you deal with any confusion. The program really did change me, teaching me to be positive and confident. You don't have to worry about the fact that you're from a different country or have a different accent or anything — you just learn to be yourself!"

Miami and the Liberal Arts

"With ACE I learned how to write the way American professors want, for all my Miami classes. My experiences in that program and my three years of being a Miami student taking various classes have prepared me to find a job in the U.S. after I graduate. It's helped me figure out what kind of environment I like and want to work in.

"This process led me to choose my media and culture (MAC) major. I'm currently taking MAC 209 this semester. It's about advertising in the media and how it can contribute to people's perceptions. We also are learning some technical aspects of media, such as video shooting, lighting, TV studio production, and a lot more — so yeah, I really love it!"

Embracing and Introducing New American Experiences

Zhuoran Bao (right) and her iPOL friends create a selfie.

"At first, the way I got involved on campus was just checking my email every day. There were always activities and professors in the ACE Program who would provide activities for us, such as the farmers market — yes, it's so much fun! — so we could learn different things.

"I found a job at the International Students Scholar Service (ISSS) office, so that has also helped me to find more opportunities. In addition, I joined the International Peer Orientation Leaders (iPOL) program, hosted by Global Initiatives, which has really helped me to improve my leadership skills. Through the program I meet with a group of students from a different country and help them learn how to get better with college life at Miami.

"Ultimately, I'd say I've really learned about respect. I feel that in China we have less diversity than America, which has so many people of different races coming from different countries. We international students essentially have to deal with culture shock, but we can learn from each other. We all have different opinions, but we should all respect each other. These are some of the most important things I've learned at Miami."

Advice to Students

"If you're an international student, I definitely recommend ACE 113, which is a class for writing and reading. For my MAC major we do a lot of reading, so my ACE professors have helped me organize the readings and understand what kind of notes I should take. They'll also help you understand how to write an essay so you can decide what to focus on, which will help you get as many points as possible. This has helped me learn what it's like to be a student in the United States.

"Be confident. Miami professors will help you out and are always ready for your questions, so don't be afraid to ask them! Even if you have questions related to American culture and lifestyle, be sure to ask your professors for good suggestions."

[Learn more about Zhuoran in the March 2019 Global Initiatives press release Where in the World is Miami Wednesday: Meet an International Student from China.]

[October 2019]