10:51 AM

Global Farewell event highlights achievements of international students at UHCL

Global Farewell

It's not easy to journey to a foreign country- perhaps across the globe, to further your education. University of Houston-Clear Lake has been an attractive choice for international students, boasting over 500 students from 43 countries, the majority of whom achieve their degree and, like Lilac Li and Harshith Sathyaprakash, find success after graduation.

To celebrate their tenacity and willingness to endure even when culture shock was setting in, the Office of Global Learning and Strategy, along with the Office of International Admissions and Programs, Orientation and New Student Programs and the UH-Clear Lake Alumni Association are hosting the third Global Farewell Reception on Friday, May 13 at 2 p.m. in the Garden Room of the Bayou Building.

Lilac Li, who came to Houston from Shanghai, China because of a job change, decided to pursue a Master of Healthcare Administration and found that UHCL had an exceptional MHA/MBA program. "This was what I really wanted to study," Li said. "The location of the UHCL MHA/MBA program is in the Houston Medical Center, and I knew there were many successful alumni. My experience at UHCL was very helpful to pursue my Ph.D, which I'm currently working on at University of Texas Health Science Center."

She said that beyond the education she received from her professors, she learned the importance of community service. "I put a lot of effort into learning more leadership skills and UHCL helped me become a better person and how to contribute more to society," she said. And, as the daughter of physicians, she said she felt she had insights to share with her professors and other students about how medicine is practiced in other countries.

"There are a lot of differences in the systems," she said. "I wanted to share what I knew, and they were interested in what I had to say. My view is broad, and I can listen to their experiences as well."

She added that she was only Chinese person in her class, but never felt singled out. "I feel a lot of support from my professors and classmates. Everything is different here, but people were very patient and I felt encouraged," she said.

While at UHCL in spring 2021, Li won an Excellence in Academic Research award and took leadership roles in the Student Government Association. "I got 10 offers from Ph.D programs, and I think it's all because of my experience at UHCL," she said. "They really gave me huge encouragement to pursue my Ph.D. I express my appreciation for what I learned at UHCL- all this is because of my time there."

Li received her degree in 2021 and said she hopes to become a professor of healthcare management after getting practical experience in the healthcare industry.

Harshith Sathyaprakash received his undergraduate degree in electronics and communication in his native Bangalore, India, and decided he needed a master's degree to elevate his career. "I was going through US News and World Report and other websites to find what I wanted, which was a degree plan for a Master of Science in Computer Information Systems," he said. "I didn't want something that was entirely technology or management. The degree plan at UHCL falls in between- some courses in each, but other things as well."

After choosing UHCL and receiving the Hawk Scholarship, the course of study was exactly what he'd been looking for. "The first few weeks were hard because I didn't know anyone and I was starting life all over," he said. "I had been well established at home. I wasn't sure about this place. But after about eight weeks, I started to feel I'd made a good choice when I started to talk to people, working on campus as a student diplomat, and I started associating with others."

He got a job working in the Office of International Admissions and Programs and found ways to help incoming international students. "I created Facebook groups for incoming students and told them how to get scholarships and answer other questions for them through social media," he said. "I just wanted to make it easier for others coming here."

Sathyaprakash received the Global Leadership Award in spring 2021 for his work creating those groups, which he said helped him meet a lot of new people. "I thought, if someone knows there are people here waiting to welcome them, they will feel happy about coming here," he said. "It's very different here than in India. I thought I knew things about American universities before I came here, but it wasn't like I thought."

After graduating, Sathyaprakash became an application engineer at Tesla. "I was well trained at UHCL for the job I have," he said. "My coursework at UHCL enabled me to learn how to work at Tesla. It's hard in the beginning for international students, but they'll find they can go on. I made a good decision coming here."

For more information about the Global Farewell event, go to https://uhcl.campuslabs.com/engage/.