Matt Manz is the Academic Advisor for International and Special Programs in UVM’s College of Engineering & Mathematical Sciences. He graduated from St. Lawrence University with a degree in Spanish and has previously worked in study abroad and in graduate admissions.
What steps would you encourage an international student to take in order to best get involved upon arriving to campus?
Clubs and organizations are always a terrific way for students to become familiar with campus and to make friends. Taking advantage of these extracurricular activities is also a great way to start building an impressive resume. If a student is unsure how to get involved in these activities, he or she should meet with their academic advisor, who can help the student get involved. UVM has a lot of clubs and organizations on campus; whether you want to be involved in art, music, sports, academics, or even video games, there’s a club on campus at UVM that would love to have you.
How does UVM support international students upon arrival?
UVM starts with an international student orientation that welcomes students and helps them become acclimated to life at UVM (and in the United States!). UVM’s Office of International Education provides students with information on academics, health and safety, and adjusting to life in the US, but it also offers social events, encourages students to explore Burlington, and helps students set up bank accounts and cell phone plans.
What does “student success” look like at UVM?
It depends on the student! As an academic advisor, I believe that students dictate what success means for themselves, and my role is to help a student define that success and then help them achieve it. For many students, getting a job after college is one meaningful way of measuring success; if that is an important goal for you as a student, then you should meet with me to talk about how to best make that happen.
What can you be doing as a first year student to start thinking about your career? Is your major the right choice for helping you get that job? What are some research, internship, or other opportunities you can take advantage of while at UVM to help you in your job search? What classes should you take to give you the best opportunities? These are all great conversations to have with an academic advisor.
In the past, what activities/groups have been popular amongst international students upon arriving to the campus?
One increasingly popular activity among international students has been getting involved with the research that our professors are doing. Many professors in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS) conduct research in addition to teaching courses. Many of these professors need research assistants to help them conduct experiments and gather data. Students who participate in this research have an excellent activity to add to their resume. Some examples of research that our faculty and students have been working on include:
- Using radar to detect automobile collisions
- Predicting when people with Multiple Sclerosis might fall, based on Musculoskeletal Kinetics
- Using algae as an effective lung patch
How does the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences support international students?
As an international student in CEMS, you will have a dedicated advisor (me!) who will be a resource to you throughout your time in CEMS. I help answer questions on your major and on course scheduling and sequencing; I work with you at registration to make sure you’re signing up for the correct class. During the academic year, I help you get connected with resources on campus (such as the Tutoring Center) to make sure you get the help you need to be successful in your classes. If you have questions on summer courses, internships, dining plans, tuition, or living in the residence halls, I’m available to help. If you have any questions during your time at UVM, you can meet with me, and if I can’t answer your questions directly, I can point you in the direction of someone who can.
If you were talking to an international student who was considering applying to UVM, why would you tell him or her to make the decision come to Burlington?
Vermont has been my home for as long as I can remember, so I believe it is the best place in the world to live! We have mountains to climb up or ski down, lakes and rivers to swim in, great food to eat, clean air, and friendly people. Many students consider Burlington a small town, but we’re not far from larger cities. UVM is very much a part of what makes Vermont special, and our students, faculty, and staff combine to make an awesome learning experience. UVM is a truly wonderful place, and I hope you choose to join us here!