Why the US? – Xen Ping Hoi (UCLA ‘19)


Studying in the US facilitated my growth into a more well-rounded individual and enabled me to find my passion in academic research. 

I entered UCLA intending to double major in Biochemistry and Economics; I believed that having financial knowledge in addition to my technical background would give me a competitive edge in the job market. Fast-forwarding three years: I ditched my second major in Economics to graduate within three years, joined a research laboratory my second year onwards, and decided to pursue a Ph.D. in Biomedical Science. 

My undergraduate experience in the US drastically changed my career trajectory. I would not be pursuing a career in research science had I not been exposed to the research opportunities in the US and received the encouragement of my friends and mentors at UCLA. My freshman year plans to sell my soul to corporate life and/ or earn lots of money after graduating were put on hold after discovering my interests in Molecular Biology and Immunology. 

Despite hyper-focusing on taking core STEM classes to graduate on time, I was still able to learn about different subjects outside of STEM (i.e. Sociology, Architecture, History). Through those classes, I learned to think more critically about the socio-political and economic issues within our society, improve my (still) pleb writing skills, and met a diverse group of people. I think that’s the beauty of an American education system: it allows you to focus and thrive in your specific field of interest, but it also broadens your perspective and interests through a general education.

Applying to the US for my undergraduate studies is the best decision I’ve made education and career-wise so far. If I had to re-do my college experience, I would no doubt choose to study in the US again.