Student Perspectives: Brown University

Are you interested in learning about America's top colleges from the perspective of current college students? We'll be visiting our LogicPrep alum, who are now current college students to get the inside scoop about what makes these universities great and what's completely different than expected. Follow along to learn more!

Jesse and Murilo visit Brown University and talk with LogicPrep Alum, Julia. Julia is originally from São Paulo but feels right at home at Brown and is loving all of the opportunities she's already been given at this university. Read her full interview below!

What is so special about Brown University?

You can literally study anything you want - it’s incredible! I’m studying Classics, German, Business, Engineering, and a few other fun classes. We don’t have any prerequisites, so I get to branch out a lot.

What are a few words you’d use to describe campus?

FRIENDLY, LIVELY, OPEN, & HELPFUL.

Who is the typical Brown student?

Everyone’s very academically driven, but we all have various passions. Brown students have diverse interests, which is fantastic given Brown’s open curriculum.

What classes are you taking?

First year seminar about Shakespeare in the present tense, which is interesting. I’m also taking Beginner German, which is very conversational. My German class is actually a year-long course, which is good for me because it’s my first time learning German.

What is your living situation like?

The freshmen have freshman-only dorms, which are divided into smaller units. My dorm is north of campus, where there are 7 freshman dorms. Almost every freshman has a double. There are a few singles and triples, but they’re very rare. We have semi-private bathrooms too, which is lucky!

What’s the city (Providence) like?

Brown feels like a bubble, so I actually haven’t been to the city much. We have everything we need here, so I haven't really explored a lot. I’m involved in a program that helps out at an elementary school after school, but that’s the most I’ve explored. 

Do you have a favorite spot on campus?

Not yet, but I do really love the campus center! I’m still exploring. I love sitting outside when the weather is nice and warm. I also really enjoy the Rockefeller Library. That’s probably my favorite place to study.

How has your transition to college been?

Prior to coming here, I’ve always lived at my home in Brazil, and I’m very used to having the family support, so being thrown out here and told “there you go, do your stuff alone!” was jarring. We do have a lot of great mentors that are there to help, so that has helped with the transition.

What’s been the biggest surprise about coming to college in America?

The International students program is actually very friendly! I wasn’t expecting that. It hasn’t been clique-y or divisive at all. There is a large population of Chinese students, but overall Brown is very diverse. About 20% of our campus is international, so that’s cool!

Which do you think is harder: your Brazilian high school or Brown?

Brown is much more difficult than my Brazilian high school. I was so used to the system in high school, and here, I have to totally revamp how I write papers. It’s nice, though, because I get to learn how to express myself. The classes are also a bit trickier. For example, in my German class, I have to speak German, not just write it. 

What differences are there between high school in Brazil and a U.S. university?

My Brazilian high school was very small so I had close relationships with all my teachers. Here at Brown, I’ve found that all of my professors are very approachable, which I wasn’t expecting. The only time I feel a bit strange is in the large 300 person lecture classes, but we have TA’s for those classes, so it’s manageable. Brown is great for being able to explore lots of different areas of interests. They have what’s called an "open curriculum," which I really love. 

What are some interesting programs at Brown?

I’m still figuring everything out, but I know that we have a very interesting program with RISD, which looks amazing. I’m actually planning on applying to that next year!

What can you tell me about the grad school at Brown?

Brown has a grad school, but it’s pretty small compared to the undergrad program. Undergrads don’t really interact with graduate students very often. 

Knowing what you know now about college, what advice would you have given to yourself if you could go back in time?

I personally tried to not favor any schools while applying, and I found that very helpful. I wasn’t that crushed by any denial letters, and it made the acceptance letters that much more exciting. Sometimes whether you get in or not is random, and it’s important to know that you’re going to be happy no matter where you end up.  

What’s one fun fact about Brown?

They like shortening the names for everything here at Brown! The Roc, The V-dub, The SciLi… Everything has a nickname. There is also a school crest on the ground that you’re not supposed to step on. There are a lot of funny superstitions like that here.

 

For more student perspectives, click here!