Alumnus Reflects on the Opportunities UCF Provided

Gilbert_headshotUCF alumnus, Gilbert Zhang, ’10, graduated from UCF with a master’s degree in political science. When he reflects on his time at UCF, Zhang says, “UCF stands for opportunity, the motto that I have remembered since my first day at UCF, and it truly does. My time as a UCF student was a great experience and it has led me to a career I very much enjoy.”

From 2008 to 2010, Zhang had the chance to study as a master’s student on the international relations track through UCF’s Political Science Department. During those two years, Zhang was fascinated and intoxicated in the theories and illustrations that were introduced and demonstrated by his professors and faculty members. Many of which he describes as experts in their field, talented, patient and very kind. He reflects on his time at UCF by noting that his experience was dramatically improved by the opportunities that UCF provided him with.

Zhang says, “I have so many fond memories of the department’s teachers and staff. I learned new ways to understand world affairs and international relations, and the UCF experience helped to promote myself to become the person I am today, a person that began a new career in higher education and is devoted to the ideal of positively impacting the new generation of our society and also those from different nations around the world.”

After graduation from UCF, Zhang first worked as a cultural representative and training program manager in China Group, Disney World, a place we all know where dreams come true. With what he learned from UCF, Zhang was able to train students of the international program to be well prepared for their unique position and serve as responsible cast members on the stage of show by engaging all guests and visitors from all the corners of the world.

Later, new opportunities became available to Zhang. At the end of 2012, a position as associate director of international student services at Lamar University in Texas became available. With a background in international relations, Zhang felt that this was the job that UCF had trained him for and ultimately reminded him that this is why UCF stands for opportunity.

Upon receiving the new position at Lamar University, Zhang is currently accountable to care for more than 600 international students, which represent more than 60 countries. He can always be counted on to help and provide information when needed. Through the activities organized and sponsored by his office, such as sports competitions, international culture and food festivals, foreign movie nights, and picnics, all of the university’s international students are able to live and study peacefully, respectively, and harmoniously with all the domestic American students on the campus. Zhang describes this as a really adorable prospective picture of an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, and also a very strong and convincing demonstration and support to the international idealism theory.

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