Ady Liang is a Biotechnology certificate student at UCSC Extension, Santa Clara.
Tell us about your journey. When did you arrive? What are doing now?
I am from China and I arrived in the Silicon Valley last year, in September of 2016. I am in the Biotechnology certificate program now. This is the last week of the second quarter. There are three quarters in the certificate program.
When I first came here in September of 2016 I studied English for six months. I advanced a lot, I think: when I first came here I could not communicate well, but now I am confident enough to communicate, send emails, and write essays. I started the certificate program in March. Now I have been in the certificate program for half a year.
What has been your favorite class so far?
My favorite class has been GCP: Good Clinical Practices. The teacher is amazing. It is a course about conducting drug trials. The teacher – Dr Singh– is really great.
How did the English classes help you to prepare for the certificate program?
The English program helped a lot. I have to write a lot of essays. For my immunology class I have to write five essays. The class is just ten weeks long but there are five essays and one presentation. I had never presented in front of people before I came here. In the English class we practiced presenting a lot. In the advanced English class, we gave presentations almost every week. So now I have a lot more confidence.
What is something new you have learned from your certificate program classes that you will use in the future?
For me a new topic is DNA sequencing. I worked in the base-unit of the Chinese CDC and we used a different method of DNA sequencing. Even though I worked in a lab for 10 years, I only knew the theory. When I started this certificate, I learned a lot about DNA sequencing methods. The teacher kept telling me, “Ady, you will find that there is an amazing industry in China that uses this method now.” So when I go back I will be very well prepared.
What do you enjoy about the program?
There isn’t much pressure. Just two or three classes a week. I can handle that easily. I had been very worried about that. Because my English wasn’t that great when I first arrived and Biotech is fairly academic, I was worried I couldn’t keep up with the teachers. But it works for me. I can understand, I can finish my homework, I read my textbooks – if there is vocabulary I don’t understand, I just translate it and realize, “Oh, that’s it!”
What do you enjoy about this area?
I like the weather! I lived in the South of China where it’s very hot. But here it’s very comfortable. There are many events, too. You can meet a lot of people. They live very freely and work very freely.
What is something you have learned about life or for life?
Try your best. Do everything you can do.