Discover your potential at University of Tulsa – Student Profile: Aiken Sujana
Aiken Sujana, born and raised in Indonesia, is a senior at the University of Tulsa (TU) studying Biochemistry with a minor in Economics. SchoolApply speaks to him about his experiences as an international student.
Aiken Sujana completed his primary and secondary school in Tangerang, Indonesia and then attended various summer school programmes in the US at Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University and Columbia University before beginning his university education. When it came time to decide where to apply for university, his father recommended going to the US as he had also completed his higher degree there and had a fulfilling experience.
The Difference Between the US And Indonesia
Upon his arrival to the United States, Aiken found that there were many more opportunities beyond academics to pursue, unlike in his home country. “The US is modern, dynamic, innovative and ahead of the rest of the world in many ways. What I found particularly interesting was the academic culture and liberty of thought. It’s a culture where the pursuit of more knowledge is rewarded and students are not bound to only what is in text books,” he says.
Choosing a Major
Throughout his academic life, Aiken has always been interested in the fields of medicine and chemistry. He also thinks that in modern society, almost everything we do is based on economics. Governments, businesses, societies, and people operate through the principles of economics. For all these reasons, he declared a major in Biochemistry and a minor in Economics, as he believes this skill set will equip him for the real world and a prosperous professional life.
The TU Experience
Aiken decided to attend the University of Tulsa for his undergraduate degree – it is the best school in the state of Oklahoma and it is one of the top 80 universities in the United States. They also offered him an international student scholarship, which helped him make his decision, and it was one that he would not regret. The people he met there – students, faculty, administration and staff – gave him a warm welcome and created an encouraging environment in which he could live and study. He comments that people at TU pushed him to share his ideas, inspire others and step out of his comfort zone and most importantly, be the best version of himself. TU has excellent academic programs, dynamic student organisations and endless leadership opportunities for students to explore.
Life As An International Student
Aiken is pleased to report that he did not have any major difficulties transitioning into life in the US, and at the University of Tulsa. In his first year, he lived in Lafortune Hall, a student residence hall that was dubbed the “International Living Community”. He quickly made friends with other overseas students and also American students, and met three of his best friends that very first semester. “Initially, I thought that adjusting to a new life, in a new city, in a place that is very different from home, would be a difficult experience, but I learned that when you are going through the same things with friends, it can be a fun and enriching experience,” he reflects.
The International Student Services (ISS) department is very friendly and encouraging and students can come to them for almost anything – visa concerns, employment advice, academic help or even just to give feedback. Aiken tells us that TU is ranked as one of the best universities for international students nationally, and that is largely due to the quality services offered by the ISS.
Things To Do About Town
For a city not very well known globally, Tulsa is quite multicultural. Students can find food from all around the world here – Thai, Mexican, Italian, Indian and more. Besides a wide range of culinary delights, TU offers many events and festivals for students and the local community. “My favourite event is the Wes Anderson Experience at the Philbrook Museum. I may be biased, but the best events in Tulsa happen to take place on TU campus,” Aiken boasts. Other events like International Night, Bazaar, Diwali, Saudi Night, Holi, Omani Night, Springfest and Homecoming ensure that all students are entertained and have ample opportunity to mix with their peers.
Extracurricular Activities at TU
The University of Tulsa has much to offer students in terms of activities and groups beyond the classroom. Aiken joined the Alpha Phi Omega (APO) service fraternity in his freshman year, and volunteered more than 20 hours per semester towards the community. He is also an Associate Director of Graphics in the Student Association (SA), the governing student body in campus.
Aiken was the President of the Indonesian Student Association (ISATU) where he had the unique responsibility of being the ambassador of Indonesian people and culture to the rest of the university community. He worked hard to improve the organisation and make it more innovative, modern and creative. “It was a one-of-a-kind experience where I developed an increased appreciation towards the culture and ideals of Indonesia,” he says. All of his hard work paid off as the ISATU was recognised as the second best student organisation on TU campus.
Aiken also held the position of Vice President and later, President of the Association of International Students (AIS) at the University of Tulsa. In these positions, he had the opportunity to connect with people from diverse cultural backgrounds, work with TU’s best and brightest students, and make an impact on the community through AIS initiatives in sustainability, philanthropy and cultural exchanges. Aiken says, “Being president of AIS is a wonderful experience for me because it pushes me to bring out not only the best of myself, but also my team.”
Advantages Of a University Of Tulsa Education
The TU curriculum includes block classes in subjects that are not in the field of your major. “Classes like professional writing and public speaking have allowed and encouraged me to advocate for the things I believe in – like the environment and current issues that affect our world. The block class system allowed me to pursue a minor in other subjects I’m interested in without taking a toll on my main major,” Aiken remarks.
Advice to Future TU Students
Having had a rewarding experience at the University of Tulsa, this is what Aiken would like to share with potential new students. “With its excellent academic programs, TU has provided me with knowledge in the field I would like to pursue in the future. But most importantly, by having dynamic extracurricular and leadership opportunities, TU has not only made me a well-educated person, but also a person who is ready to lead in many capacities in whatever I choose to pursue after college. Four years ago, I never would have imagined that I would be doing and achieving half of the things that I did here. TU has transformed me into a new person – a better one.”
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