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International Student Ambassador Program

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT AMBASSADORS 2017-2018

The International Student Ambassadors are here to be a resource for anyone in the UCLA community. They have all been at UCLA for at least one year, have been competitively selected, trained in cultural adjustment and sensitivity and completed a leadership training program.

They can answer questions about:
  • what it’s like to transition to UCLA, Los Angeles or the USA
  • what it’s like to live abroad in their home country
  • differences between their culture and American culture
  • academics and campus resources
  • panel discussions, focus groups, interviews, and media requests

We have Ambassadors from over 40 countries! For those countries where we do not have an Ambassador the contact information of the Ambassador who has offered to serve you will be listed.

To find out who your Ambassador is, please select your country:


AUSTRALIA
Other Countries Represented: New Zealand
Name: Seth Pickford
Email: UCLA.Australia.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Brisbane
Major: Bachelors in Geography & Environmental Science
Favorite Music EDM --> DJs like Tchami, Don Diablo, ODESZA
Favorite Food Chunky pepper steak pie, 10 piece McNugget meal
Favorite Hobbies I love anything outdoors, camping, hiking, backpacking, all of it
About Me: I grew up in rural Australia, not too far outside of Brisbane, where I developed a love for animals and the outdoors. I took a gap year after high school where I worked for Australia Zoo as an animal keeper which solidified my passion for conservation. Since, I have decided to pursue a career in something conservation/sustainability-related, but I still don't know exactly what I want to do! I like to consider myself pretty laid back and casual, which is how I tend to approach my life in general.

Bahrain
Other Countries Represented: Qatar & United Arab Emirates
Name: Fares Al Ghareeb
Email: UCLA.Bahrain.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Hamad Town
Major: Bachelors in Economics with a minor in Global Studies
Favorite Music I mostly listen to hip-hop, R&B, rap and Arabic music
Favorite Food Italian, Japanese and Middle-Eastern
Favorite Hobbies Horse riding, travelling, reading, water sports
About Me: I was born and raised in Bahrain, but lived in New Zealand for two years while I was younger, as my brother was in a program for autistic children. Graduated from high-school with an IB Diploma and was an avid member of our school's MUN club, organizing trips to St. Petersburg, Russia and Istanbul, Turkey.

Bangladesh
Name: Afrida Anwar Sara (I go by “Sara”)
Email: UCLA.Bangladesh.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Dhaka
Major: Bachelors in Biology
Favorite Music Acoustic and pop music
Favorite Food Anything red velvet
Favorite Hobbies Now that I live in an apartment and not the dorms- watching cooking videos on YouTube and attempting to cook something edible.
About Me: We always remember our firsts and I am no exception. Scheduling my first doctor’s appointment instead of having my mom do it for me, navigating my way around campus for the first time without having Google maps open on my phone, walking in to my very first class at UCLA and siting in the front row- no matter how insignificant or unusual this list may seem, these are some of the things that made UCLA feel like home. As an international student, you too will remember those moments and you too will treasure those seemingly inconsequential memories. It’s been almost two years now that I stepped on that plane thinking that I was leaving home for UCLA. But at some point it will hit you that you now have two homes, and that's not a scary realization, it’s a beautiful one.

Brazil
Other Countries Represented: Argentina, Chile, French Guinea, Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname, & Uruguay
Name: Sandra Maesta Pereira
Email: UCLA.Brazil.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: São Paulo
Major: Bachelors in Cognitive Science (specializing in Computing) with a minor in Accounting
Favorite Music I'm pretty much into everything, depending mostly on my mood, from Brazilian Funk to Electronic to Indie to Jazz!
Favorite Food Again, I'm a mood person :) For instance I love frozen yogurt, but it's not really my favorite.
Favorite Hobbies Drawing, woodworking, writing, reading...
About Me: I am very talkative, "very Brazilian" (quote from a friend) and excited about a lot of different things. Clubbing? Down. Just chilling? Down. Studying for that test you know you're screwed at? Also down.

Canada
Name: Xiaoyu "Iris" Bi
Email: UCLA.Canada.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Montreal, Quebec
Major: Bachelors in Cognitive Science and minoring in Film
Favorite Music 60s rock bands, psychedelic rock, and jazz
Favorite Food Any type of French cuisine. I also love poutine because I’m from Quebec—it’s inevitable.
Favorite Hobbies Ski and watch hockey
Biggest Difference between Canada and USA: I have noticed that Canadians are generally very liberal and tolerant and don’t hold very strong political views. In fact, no one pays that much attention to Canadian politics at all. In the United States, contrastingly, people seem to hold strong beliefs that range from the extreme left to the extreme right ends of the political spectrum, from extreme patriotism to extreme pessimism, and are very vocal and active in regards to their views. Although in polarizing times like these, many Americans I know often joke about immigrating to Canada to escape American politics, I greatly admire the efforts of students here in the US to be politically active and stand up for what they believe in through social media, demonstrations, conferences, and all the other activities they initiate.

China
Name: Ruxi Dai
Email: UCLA.China.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Dalian, Liaoning Province
Major: Masters in Chemistry
Favorite Music
Favorite Food Hongshao eggplant
Favorite Hobbies Swimming, dota2, movies
Biggest Difference between China and USA: On the road, passengers are first in the US, while cars are first in China; In China, we respect the elder student / faculties, but here we’re more like a “friend” rather than colleagues from various hierarchies.

China
Name: Yuwan Guo
Email: UCLA.China.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Luoyang
Major: Bachelors in Chemical Engineering
Favorite Music Pop
Favorite Food Chinese hot pot
Favorite Hobbies Traveling, camping, watching movies, and reading novels
About Me: When I look back at my first day at UCLA, I always think: time flies! It is hard to believe that I will be a junior in the fall. During my first couple weeks at UCLA, I was nervous and anxious. I was afraid to get lost on such a huge campus; I was worried that I could not make any friends; I was scared about how I could possibly take care of myself. After going through all these worries and concerns, I realized that lots of other international students have similar concerns and this is when I decided to become an international ambassador. I want to share my experience and make international students transition smoothly into the best chapter of life!

China
Name: Xie He
Email: UCLA.China.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Shanghai
Major: Bachelors in Mathematics of Computation
Favorite Music Johann Sebastian Bach
Favorite Food Fish
Favorite Hobbies Archery, Writing novels, Japanese Animation
About Me: In China, you do not have to have a deadline for everything. China’s rules and regulations are strict, but people will change the rules as necessary based on the specific case they meet. However, in the USA, everything is based on rules. You have to obey the rules in order to be in the game. Even though from a personal aspect, the person you are dealing with might agree with you, he or she won’t change their practices due to that situation. A rule is rule and you have to obey. At first, it felt a little bit strange for me. But when I get used to the environment, this system prevents a lot of cheating and rule-breaking. It is hard to say which one is better, but I believe both have their benefits.

China
Name: Han Sun
Email: UCLA.China.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Guiyang
Major: Doctorate in Structural Engineering and Masters in Statistics
Favorite Music Chinese, K-pop
Favorite Food All kinds
Favorite Hobbies Oil painting, basketball
About Me: I have been studying abroad in the US for 5 years. As a Chinese student, I experienced all kinds of challenges including culture shock, adapting into foreign professional society, job searching and many more. I would love to share my experience with the new students to help them achieve their objective coming to USA.

Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
Other Countries Represented: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome, Senegal, Sierra Leone, & Togo
Name: Oumar Toure
Email: UCLA.IvoryCoast.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Abidjan
Major: Masters in Business Administration (MBA)
Favorite Music Reggae (huge Bob Marley and Steel Pulse fan)
Favorite Food Alloco (Ivorian fried plantains)
Favorite Hobbies Hip hop and salsa dancing
About Me: I moved from Cote d'Ivoire after high school to study civil engineering at Drexel University (Philadelphia). After graduating, I worked as a structural engineer at a startup in Pittsburgh. It was a great experience which made me realize that I liked the "business" aspect of my work more so than the engineering design side. I decided to pursue and MBA at UCLA to transition to a business position and enjoy the sunny state of California and all the dance studios it has to offer.

Denmark
Other Countries Represented: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, & Norway
Name: Regitze “Reggie” Dalsgaard Zdravkovic
Email: UCLA.Denmark.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Holte, Copenhagen, Denmark
Major: All food, but I love anything with fresh fish, and anything spicy.
Favorite Music I like many different types of music but my favorite Danish artists are Medina, Nik & Jay and Thomas Helmig. Some of my favorite overall artists are J Cole, SZA, Miguel, Frank Ocean, Drake, 50 Cent, Rihanna, PARTYNEXTDOOR, Future, Erykah Badu, Trey Songz and Banks.
Favorite Food All food, but I love anything with fresh fish, and anything spicy.
Favorite Hobbies Cooking, running, and hanging out with friends.
Biggest Difference between Denmark and USA: First off, people here are extremely nice and outgoing in general. Not that Danish people are by any standards mean, but overall we definitely come off more reserved than people do here. You will probably find that the academics here are a step up, but everyone feels that way. What you will appreciate though is that the Danish school system has taught you to study independently, and that is definitely a skill you need here. When coming to LA there’s so many things to do, and so much food to eat. My favorite things here are The Broad Art Museum, going to Melrose Trading Post and the Arts District in Downtown LA. Some of my favorite restaurants and cafes are Republique, Gjelina, Gjusta and Din Tai Fung.

Egypt
Other Countries Represented: Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, & Western Sahara
Name: Ashraf Beshay
Email: UCLA.Egypt.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Heliopolis, Cairo
Major: Bachelors in Biology
Favorite Music Hip-hop
Favorite Food Koshary, Hawawshi, Om Ali
Favorite Hobbies Soccer, meeting new people, watching Egyptian movies
Biggest Difference between Egypt and USA: In Egypt, everyone looks similar and there’s little variation in where we come from. Our stories are similar and we can quickly relate to each other. Here in the US, however, you can see anyone from any ethnicity and not be surprised; that is very fascinating to me. It is an incredibly enriching multicultural country here in the US. As for openness, Egypt is way more conservative that the US. Family is a core part of the community’s structure. Marriage is of great importance and value for everyone.

France
Other Countries Represented: Luxembourg, Monaco, Portugal, & Spain
Name: Héloïse Hakimi Le Grand
Email: UCLA.France.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Paris
Major: Bachelors in Political Science
Favorite Music Paroles paroles, Dalida
Favorite Food Guacamole
Favorite Hobbies Contemporary art exhibits
About Me: Hey, I'm Héloïse from Paris, France. I'm a sophomore pre-poli-sci major and my passions include contemporary art, cinema, literature, political activism, feminism and traveling. I also absolutely adore exploring LA although a lot of my time is taken by my job at the ASUCLA Post Office where you'll find me most of the time.

Germany
Other Countries Represented: Austria, Czech Republic, Liechtenstein, Poland, Slovakia, & Switzerland
Name: Paul Dominik Kurek
Email: UCLA.Germany.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Munich
Major: Doctorate in Germanic Languages
Favorite Music Wagner & Dubstep
Favorite Food Mediterranean
Favorite Hobbies Thai boxing & Acting
About Me: Hi, I am Paul, born in Munich, but would probably fit more into Berlin. It seems that my personality was profoundly influenced during my travels through Australia and my stay in Austin, which is why I feel more comfortable in the beach enclave Los Angeles, rather than in cold, bureaucratic, efficient, Germany. Nevertheless, it feels very good to know to whom and where to go when you need some German time.

Greece
Name: Farah Nuqul
Email: UCLA.Greece.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Amman / Athens
Major: Bachelors in Economics
Favorite Music I enjoy most types of music. I think I listen to main stream music the most.
Favorite Food That’s the hardest one. I love food SO MUCH. But some of my favourite cuisines are the Mediterranean cuisine and the Italian cuisine.
Favorite Hobbies I love to sing, watch shows and read.
About Me: Hi! My name is Farah Nuqul, and I’m half Jordanian-half Greek. I was born and raised in Jordan, but I visit Greece a lot, and there’s no doubt that I consider it to be home. At the moment, I’m Pre-Economics, but I’m most likely going to shift to Political Science and Communications. This is a huge change for me, which hopefully is for the best. On another note, I’m obsessed with everything fashion, and I love to travel. Also, I love trying different kinds of food and cuisines. I’m in love with LA and I’m so grateful to be attending school here. I honestly have learned so much in my time here and I have grown greatly as an individual. Being so far away from home really teaches you a lot, but it can also be intimidating and at times overwhelming. For any of you who feel homesick or wants to talk to someone who understands, please feel free to contact me. I’m here to help in any way that I possibly can. Even if you just want to talk about a TV show or anything else, I got you.

Hong Kong
Other Countries Represented: Taiwan
Name: Ka Ho “William” Ng
Email: UCLA.HongKong.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: London / Hong Kong
Major: Bachelors in Psychology, minoring in film
Favorite Music Pop music and Broadway Musical Music
Favorite Food Anything unhealthy. I am a fat piggy.
Favorite Hobbies Acting, watching TV/ films, singing, rock climbing, badminton, "intellectual debates" with people.
About Me: I lived in Hong Kong (where my dad is from) for 5 years as a kid. I used to go to boarding school back in the U.K. and am very fond of being involved with theatre of any sort. I used to be an actor in the West End which is basically the Broadway of London (but not as good...). My goal is to go to NYU for grad school so I can go see musicals everyday lol.

India
Name: Priyanka Pai
Email: UCLA.India.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Mumbai
Major: Bachelors in Linguistics and Computer Science
Favorite Music Anything you can dance to with a sweet spot for EDM &a Tropical House music
Favorite Food Lamb kebabs, Burgers and I'm a huge seafood fan
Favorite Hobbies I love to dance and enjoy sketching in my free time
Biggest Difference between India and USA: One of the biggest differences I see between India and the U.S. is the education system. Back in India, higher education is divided into very narrow fields. For example, a student doing engineering would never have opportunity to take classes in history or anything other than his/her stream. This is one of the things that makes studying in the U.S. at least so attractive.

India
Name: Pallavi Samodia
Email: UCLA.India.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Jaipur, Rajasthan
Major: Bachelors in Financial Actuarial Mathematics with Specialization in Computing
Favorite Music Coldplay, Coke Studio, Arijit Singh, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, AR Rehman, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy etc.
Favorite Food Indian, Indo-Chinese, Thai, Italian, Cinnabon (Fun fact: I have always been a vegetarian)
Favorite Hobbies Travelling, Planning trips, searching for places to travel, crying when my travel plans fail, and binge-eating while watching Netflix
Biggest Difference between India and USA: The biggest difference I would say is that in India, people generally do not like to follow rules. Whether it is the traffic rules, standing in queues or abiding by deadlines, they are never punctual. Incoming freshmen with that mindset can have trouble keeping up with academic deadlines or following the traffic rules, as they assume they can just talk it out with their professors for extension or nobody cares that they are jaywalking, which is of course dangerous to them. Talking out of rules is not something that America in general believes in. They like to be fair and square.

Indonesia
Other Countries Represented: Malaysia
Name: Kimberly Oka
Email: UCLA.Indonesia.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Denpasar, Bali
Major: Bachelors in Neuroscience
Favorite Music Indie, Folk, Classical
Favorite Food Sushi
Favorite Hobbies Traveling
About Me: Hi! I'm Kim and I was born and raised in Indonesia. I think it's important to be cultured and have a constructive view of the world and there's no better way to do that than to study abroad, which was what I did at UCLA and loved every second of. I also love traveling and although I have visited many different countries, it's amazing to know that there is still so much of the world I have yet to see.

Iran
Name: Aysan Rangchian
Email: UCLA.Iran.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Tehran
Major: Doctorate in Bioengineering
Favorite Music Traditional and pop music
Favorite Food I love many food and dessert: Persian, Indian, Thai, Sushi and etc!
Favorite Hobbies Horseback riding, beach volleyball, singing and dancing
About Me: I am a graduate student at bioengineering department and got my bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at University College of London. I moved to London when I was 19 and came to Los Angeles 2 years ago. I enjoy meeting new people, in particular students from different cultural background to learn about diversity across the world.

Iraq/Kurdistan
Name: Saman Abdullah
Email: UCLA.Iraq.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Sulaymaniyah
Major: Doctorate in Structural/Earthquake Engineering
Favorite Music
Favorite Food Prime rib, dolma, lamb
Favorite Hobbies Reading, traveling, swimming
Best Aspects of Iraq/Kurdistan: The worst aspect of my country is that when people think of my country, the first thing comes to their mind is war, destruction, bombs, unrest, religious sectarianism. Thankfully, Kurdistan (an autonomous region in the north of Iraq) is relatively safe and peaceful in comparison with the rest of Iraq. As a result of that, it has been the destination of thousands of tourists all around the world to see its numerous beautiful nature and historic sites. I have heard from tourists who have gone to Kurdistan to tell me the best part of their visit. They all say they really enjoyed the friendliness and hospitality of Kurdish people.

Italy
Other Countries Represented: Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Kosovo, Macedonia, Malta, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, & Slovenia
Name: Marina Hu
Email: UCLA.Italy.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Rome
Major: Bachelors in Statistics and Business Economics
Favorite Music Pop, R&B
Favorite Food Pizza, spaghetti
Favorite Hobbies Painting
Biggest Difference between Italy and USA: At least from my experience here at UCLA, I feel like the immigration culture is much more developed and mature in the US. Although we also have a lot of people from other countries in Italy (including my family), I think the phenomenon is not yet as normalized in the views of some people as it is in the US. I do not mean race discrimination. In the US, a foreigner speaking perfect English is no wonder. However, a foreigner-looking person speaking perfect Italian and even with some regional accents would still surprise a lot of locals.

Japan
Name: Rina Fujikawa
Email: UCLA.Japan.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Tokyo
Major: Bachelors in Cognitive Science
Favorite Music Movie soundtracks
Favorite Food Udon!
Favorite Hobbies Reading, Watching movies
Biggest Difference between Japan and USA: In social interaction in Japan, when people meet each other, even after several times, they will consider that person as an acquaintance, rather a friend. The word for acquaintance is widely used in Japan and meeting someone often does not make them their friends. Although Japanese people will usually act friendly around everyone, it is a form of respect rather than an acceptance or befriending. However, in the United States, I feel like the line between acquaintance and friends is blurred more than in Japan. Often when I meet people in events or class, they will consider me as a friend. This was a large difference that I had to overcome socially after coming here.

Jordan
Other Countries Represented: Israel
Name: Farah Nuqul
Email: UCLA.Jordan.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Amman / Athens
Major: Bachelors in Economics
Favorite Music I enjoy most types of music. I think I listen to main stream music the most.
Favorite Food That’s the hardest one. I love food SO MUCH. But some of my favourite cuisines are the Mediterranean cuisine and the Italian cuisine.
Favorite Hobbies I love to sing, watch shows and read.
About Me: Hi! My name is Farah Nuqul, and I’m half Jordanian-half Greek. I was born and raised in Jordan, but I visit Greece a lot, and there’s no doubt that I consider it to be home. At the moment, I’m Pre-Economics, but I’m most likely going to shift to Political Science and Communications. This is a huge change for me, which hopefully is for the best. On another note, I’m obsessed with everything fashion, and I love to travel. Also, I love trying different kinds of food and cuisines. I’m in love with LA and I’m so grateful to be attending school here. I honestly have learned so much in my time here and I have grown greatly as an individual. Being so far away from home really teaches you a lot, but it can also be intimidating and at times overwhelming. For any of you who feel homesick or wants to talk to someone who understands, please feel free to contact me. I’m here to help in any way that I possibly can. Even if you just want to talk about a TV show or anything else, I got you.

Lebanon
Name: Nour Dabboussi
Email: UCLA.Lebanon.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Tripoli
Major: Bachelors in Communications Studies (Minor in Art History)
Favorite Music Coldplay
Favorite Food Acai Bowls, Lebanese and Mexican Food!
Favorite Hobbies Working out at the gym and running!
Biggest Difference between Lebanon and USA: The US is equal in size to 900 of Lebanon’s area. I think this contributes to the fact that at home, everyone seems to know everyone since it is a small country with a lot of family connections, in contrast to the US, where families or acquaintances could be separated by long distances between different states.

Macau
Name: Zhuqing “Rachel” Shen
Email: UCLA.Macau.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Macau
Major: Bachelors in Business Economics
Favorite Music Pop music (Ed Sheeran, K-pop, Chinese pop)
Favorite Food Japanese food and Korean BBQ
Favorite Hobbies In my spare time, I enjoy traveling, cooking, listening to music, reading detective novels and watching k-dramas.
About Me: I am a sophomore at UCLA planning to pursue a major in Business Economics and Biochemistry. I speak English, Cantonese, and Mandarin, and I have traveled to Japan, Korea, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, England, France, Italy, Switzerland and Costa Rica. After graduation, I plan to pursue a business-related career in the pharmaceutical industry. I am passionate about cultural exchange, and I am very excited to be part of the International Ambassador Program. I look forward to meeting you soon!

Mexico
Other Countries Represented: Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Caribbean Islands, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, & Venezuela
Name: Alejandro “Alec” Serrano Deneken
Email: UCLA.Mexico.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Mexico City
Major: Bachelors in Applied Mathematics
Favorite Music pop and alternative, James Blake, Lana del Rey, Lady Gaga, Sia, Alt-J
Favorite Food Everything! Sushi and Enchiladas are my favorite however
Favorite Hobbies Ballet, contemporary and hip hop dancing. Painting.
About Me: My name is Alec and I love airplanes, math and art. I grew up in a very urban environment but I am very fond of nature, whether it's the forest, the mountain or the beach. I am always happy about meeting new people and going out, but I also enjoy spending time by myself and reading or putting on a face mask. I have a tremendous passion for traveling and getting to know new cultures and seeing new places. Finally I am a strong advocate of inclusivity and LGBTQ+ rights.

Pakistan
Other Countries Represented: Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
Name: Ayesha Haleem
Email: UCLA.Pakistan.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Karachi
Major: Bachelors in Political Science and International Development Studies
Favorite Music My taste in music totally depends on the surroundings, it could go from EDM to throwback to Hannah Montana and all of Disney during the 00s.
Favorite Food I love Pakistani food, there's nothing like Nihari and Biryani, and would have home food over anything else, any day.
Favorite Hobbies Binge watching Friends is my favourite past time
Best Aspects of Pakistan: The best feature is without doubt the culture and the people. Our culture is so diverse, beautiful and colorful and that reflects on the people as well. The culture itself gives individuals a sense of being welcomed, loved and adored. There is a very prominent sense of community that brings us together despite our religious, linguistic and cultural differences. It is true that there are often differences, but what is beautiful is the act of individuals coming together under the banner of “Unity, Faith and Discipline”, which were the values outlined by our founder when Pakistan gained independence in 1947.

Philippines
Other Countries Represented: Singapore
Name: Julian Ignacio Gabriel Reyes “Nacho” de Vera
Email: UCLA.Philippines.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Manila
Major: Bachelors in English
Favorite Music I can't really say I have a favorite kind of music, but I will always have a soft spot for Original Pilipino Music, especially the rock scene from the 80s to the present
Favorite Food I'm weak for any kind of cheesecake, even a poorly made one.
Favorite Hobbies I'm not sure if it counts as a hobby, but I love eating dessert. Come to think of it, the sheer excitement with which I approach dessert should qualify it as a hobby.
About Me: Hi! My name is Nacho, I'm an English major at UCLA from Manila, Philippines. I moved to Los Angeles a few weeks before the start of my freshman year at UCLA and have loved both the city and the school since. It took a while for me to adjust to life in LA, and in fact I'm still adjusting, but I've managed to be pretty successful at living independently. Since I arrived, I managed to find work and settle into an off-campus apartment while forming solid friendships and maintaining decent grades. I was intimidated when I first arrived, to say the least, and more than a little overwhelmed. But if these past two years have taught me anything, it's how achievable it can be to establish oneself in a foreign country. As a student ambassador, I hope I can help make the entire process a little smoother and a little less stressful for others trying to ground themselves in LA.

Russia
Other Countries Represented: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Mongolia, & Ukraine
Name: Svetlana Kalinina
Email: UCLA.Russia.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Kazan
Major: Bachelors in Political Science with minor in Russian Studies
Favorite Music Rap
Favorite Food Sushi
Favorite Hobbies Dancing, listening to music, going out with friends, travelling around California
About Me: I’ve been doing ballet since I was nine years old. I was even invited to dance one summer with the Bolshoi Ballet Theatre in Moscow. I’m interested in pursuing a career in immigration law. I love going to Newport Beach or anything beach related.

Saudi Arabia
Other Countries Represented: Kuwait, Oman, & Yemen
Name: Kamel “Karmelo” Gazzaz
Email: UCLA.SaudiArabia.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Jeddah
Major: Bachelors in Neuroscience
Favorite Music Kendrick Lamar, J Cole, Drake
Favorite Food Turkish meat (salt bae)
Favorite Hobbies Wakeboarding, soccer
About Me: Hey guys, I’m Karmelo, I’m a junior Neuroscience major. I’m pretty much just you’re average Bruin: I work hard, I play harder. Like most of the kids on south campus I am pre-med, I work at Reagan, am part of many volunteer initiatives, and do Neuroscience Research. Come the weekend and my roots from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia begin to appear; I turn into a real beach bum, I love sailing and water sports. I’m an avid sports fan, I get my den pass and watch as many games as I can (until midterms and finals hit). I’m also a decorated swimmer & soccer player, although these days I just play IM. I’m a definite adrenaline junkie, I love going skydiving, riding ATVs, and playing extreme sports. I’m pretty social in my leftover time, I like to hang out at my fraternity Beta Theta Pi and meet some great people. Overall, I’m a very multicultural guy, I speak five languages, I travel a lot, and I learn from every culture I’ve been exposed to. I’m very open minded, I like to retain my favorite aspects of every culture and these helped shape my personality and my lifestyle. My favorite quote is “speak English, kiss French, drive German, dress Italian, spend Arab, party Caribbean”.

South Africa
Other Countries Represented: Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, & Zimbabwe
Name: Andrew Musk
Email: UCLA.SouthAfrica.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Johannesburg
Major: Bachelors in Computer Science
Favorite Music Hip Hop, Techno and House, Classic Rock
Favorite Food Italian
Favorite Hobbies Any sport
About Me: My name is Andrew Musk and I'm a sophomore Computer Science student. I am a South African, born and bred, and have lived there all my life until I came to college in the US. I lived in Johannesburg but spent 8 months working in Cape Town before I left for University. I'm very outgoing, love to be around people and do cool things, and look forward to meeting you!

South Korea
Name: Yiseul Kang (강이슬)
Email: UCLA.SouthKorea.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Busan (originally from Daejeon)
Major: Bachelors in Global Studies
Favorite Music I LOVE COLDPLAY! I can't wait to go to their concert.
Favorite Food
Favorite Hobbies I enjoy bouldering
Biggest Difference between South Korea and USA: Based on my personal encounters, I think that Koreans are overall very shy and sensitive, so just be mindful of being straightforward.

South Korea
Name: Jaewoo "Patrick" Lee
Email: UCLA.SouthKorea.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Seoul
Major: Bachelors in Physics
Favorite Music Music from hiphop and trap genre
Favorite Food Chinese food, sashimi and ramen
Favorite Hobbies Working out, daydreaming, drawing
About Me: While I was born and raised in Korea during early/mid childhood, I also grew up in Canada and USA during adolescence. Since my family is culturally Korean, I have a background of mix of Korean and Western influences. Now in UCLA, I study physics, but I have a wide range of interests ranging from music to fine arts.

Sri Lanka
Other Countries Represented: Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, & Tibet
Name: Grace Pieris
Email: UCLA.SriLanka.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Colombo
Major: Bachelors in International Development Studies (and perhaps a double major in Political Studies)
Favorite Music Anything I can dance to 😊
Favorite Food Mocha Latte
Favorite Hobbies Running
About Me: Hey guys! :) My name is Grace. I was born in Sri Lanka and have lived in Sri Lanka, Jamaica, Hong Kong and now am in the US! Starting my freshmen year in UCLA last fall, with my parents 25 hours by flight away, was quite a rollercoaster experience for me! One of the biggest pleasant surprises I had last year was how open-minded Americans are! Coming from a more conservative culture, it was refreshing to hear "no judgment" and "go for it" throughout campus! UCLA has a very accepting and open-minded culture. I assure you that soon the campus will feel like your second home too! :)

Sweden
Other Countries Represented: Finland
Name: Carolina Johnson
Email: UCLA.Sweden.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Linköping
Major: Bachelors in Communication
Favorite Music Kyogo
Favorite Food Seafood
Favorite Hobbies Running
About Me: I love to compete and have always been active with sports ranging from soccer to tennis and horse riding. Today, I’m a runner in UCLA track & field/XC teams and in the Swedish National Team, and my goal is to be an Olympian. I love to travel, both with my family (I’ve one older and one younger sister) and with my team for races. Here in LA, I love Malibu and to try new restaurants.

Syria
Name: Abed Rahman Kawakibi
Email: UCLA.Syria.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Aleppo
Major: Bachelors in Biochemistry
Favorite Music Country music
Favorite Food Beignets
Favorite Hobbies Mixed Martial Arts
About Me: I grew up between Aleppo, Syria and later on moved to Damascus, where I started high school. In Syria I studied in a French school, and took the French Baccalaureate. At the age of 16, a year after the war broke out in Syria, my family and I moved to Pensacola, Florida. In Pensacola, I finished high school and graduated with an IB diploma.

Turkey
Other Countries Represented: Cyprus
Name: Eda Gokcebay
Email: UCLA.Turkey.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Istanbul
Major: Bachelors in Business Economics
Favorite Music R&B
Favorite Food Sushi
Favorite Hobbies Photography, I love skiing and hiking
Biggest Difference between Turkey and USA: Turkey’s culture is very much based on a sense of community and the United States is more individualistic. For example, Turks have very long meals for the company but most Americans I know prefer to eat faster meals because they are always on the go. I think this is the reason why having a Turkish community in UCLA is important to make Turkish students feel a sense of belonging to a culture they are used to.

United Kingdom
Other Countries Represented: Belgium, Ireland, and Netherlands
Name: Ka Ho “William” Ng
Email: UCLA.UnitedKingdom.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: London/ Hong Kong
Major: Bachelors in Psychology, minoring in film
Favorite Music Pop music and Broadway Musical Music
Favorite Food Anything unhealthy. I am a fat piggy.
Favorite Hobbies Acting, watching TV/ films, singing, rock climbing, badminton, "intellectual debates" with people.
About Me: I used to go to boarding school back in the U.K. and am very fond of being involved with theatre of any sort. I used to be an actor in the West End which is basically the Broadway of London (but not as good...). My goal is to go to NYU for grad school so I can go see musicals everyday lol.

Vietnam
Other Countries Represented: Cambodia, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand
Name: Tho (Tina) Duong
Email: UCLA.Vietnam.Ambassador@gmail.com
Hometown: Ho Chi Minh city
Major: Bachelors in History and Sociology double major. Geography and GIS&T minor.
Favorite Music lo-fi rock, beach rock, 90s hip-hop/R&B, female rappers, psychedelic pop, cheesy 60s love songs. This summer I am listening to a lot of Kendrick Lamar, Girls, Blood Orange, Tyler the Creator, Tribe Called Quest, MF Doom, Outkast, the Beatles covers, Al Green, Frank Ocean, and Velvet Underground.
Favorite Food seafood bibimbap, banh mi chay, soondubu, sushi, bread, Indian food, Thai food, berries, egg
Favorite Hobbies drawing, painting, reading books/online articles/comic books, going to music shows in L.A., thrift shopping, watching cult movies
About Me: Hi! I am Thơ but you can also call me Tina! My second year at UCLA will also mark my 6th year in the States. Prior to L.A., I lived in Oklahoma, Seattle, and San Diego. I love film and art but have decided to dedicate myself to the humanities and study social sciences. My biggest dream is to fight human trafficking using geospatial information science. Along with that I want to become a critical geographer who uses history and sociology in radical mapmaking to push social justice and racial equity.


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