Today we speak with Arthur Andrew Bautista, a junior political science major originally from the Philippines, who commutes to Rowan from Washington Township, Gloucester County. Arthur will share his #PROFspective with us on what it’s like to be a Rowan University international student and how he’s getting the most out of his college experience as a Rowan Prof.
Name: Arthur Andrew Bautista
Major: Political Science within the College of Humanities & Social Sciences
Transfer Student: Yes
Home country: The Philippines!
Commuter: Yes. I live with my relatives and commute from Washington Township.
Social clubs: I am a member of Rowan University’s International Club, where I currently serve as its President. The International Club functions as a cultural forum for students from diverse backgrounds, encouraging their participation in activities on campus. We are a chartered club for ALL STUDENTS – international students and American students – who are interested in meeting and making new friends on campus.
Do you work on campus? The International Center. I work there as a Program Assistant. I assist in the day-to-day operations of the office, which generally revolves around international students and issues that are important to them, like obtaining documents that would enable them to get the proper visas they need to study in this country.
Why did you choose your major? I have always been interested in politics and how government works. When I was younger, I wanted to take up law, that is why I chose Political Science as a possible stepping-stone for law school. But growing up and maturing, I realized I just want to graduate as soon as possible and start working. Maybe sometime in the future; but as of now, I’m not interested in going to law school.
One reason why you chose Rowan? I chose it because of its proximity to my relatives’ residence. While I am an international student, I am grateful to have relatives living in the southern New Jersey area. Moving to America to study, I thought that staying in a dorm is too much of a culture change for me, in addition to the academic side of it, so I decided to choose a school that is a driving distance from the area where my relatives live.
My Typical Day as a Rowan Student
I deliberately didn’t register for 8 a.m. classes this semester because it’s too hard for me to get up early. I recently purchased an alarm clock, a very useful thing. Before, I was using my phone as an alarm, and you know how it goes … you either turn it off or snooze a couple of times. Plus, I was spending half an hour on my phone surfing the net or checking my social media accounts. With an alarm clock I am not tempted to check my phone. This semester, I set my alarm clock for 7:30, immediately roll out of bed and drag myself to the shower. My morning routine usually doesn’t include breakfast, so after I get ready, I head straight to campus.
I’m a commuter, but it only takes me 10 minutes to get to Rowan. And when the weather is really nice and no traffic awaits me on my way to campus, I can make it in eight minutes. The only downside coming in later then 8 a.m. is in finding a decent parking space. That’s why I do my best to get to school at least ten minutes before class, to find a good spot.
My first two classes are my major subjects. My 9:30 a.m. class, Survey of Western Political Theory, is in Robinson Hall. We talk about many Western philosophers, different perspectives on human nature, how they influenced government design and how we understand today’s world politics. Overall, it looks interesting, but the syllabus makes me think it is going to be a rough semester. My next class is at 11 a.m, Comparative Political Systems, where we study different types of foreign governments. The class is just adjacent to the previous one which is great.
After two intensive major classes, I have only 15 minutes to refresh my mind and get to Wilson Hall for my College Composition II class. My professor recently requested a room change, and now I’m excited because we will hold a class in a newly built Business Hall. I’m glad that I was able to choose the same professor from my last semester’s College Composition I. I’m neither good nor bad at writing, but Prof. Julie Malsbury has been very supportive and helpful, even if I email her late in the evening.
Thankfully, in addition to our first language Filipino, we also speak English in the Philippines. That’s why I’ve never had a trouble speaking or studying it in the U.S. But sometimes I come across some cultural-related difficulties in the class, such as using grammar or phrasing that is different here in the United States. When that happens I have to check with my professor, and she is always willing to help me.
If I’m lucky and my class finishes a little early, I head to the Student Center and have a lunch at the Marketplace buffet. But it seems like from now on, I will have to bring lunch with me, because I simply won’t have time anymore because right after classes I head straight to my part-time job at the International Center.
Since I have a four-hour gap in between my morning and evening Wednesday classes, I chose to work from 2 p.m. to 4:30 at the International Center to make wise use of that time. Most of the time, my job assignments depend on what the office wants me to do, but everything revolves around the needs of the international students, obviously. Sometimes, I receive a to-do list or the office needs to get the University President’s signature on a certain document, so I go to the President’s office and leave it to the secretary or someone who is there. It is a mix of office work and “active” assignments, like walking to a certain office on campus to deliver some documents. I don’t mind doing it, as long as it doesn’t rain.
I have a two-hour break between the end of my shift at work and my evening class, I use that time to study in the library (best place to study, in my opinion). I might start going to the bookstore, for some reason the smell of coffee makes me want to study. However, in the first week of the semester I met with the International Club members, where I am a president, to mainly discuss our participation at the Spring Organization Fair on Jan. 31. We hope that the event will help us promote our club and recruit new members. So if you are interested in meeting new people, making new friends, especially students coming from different parts of the globe, and at the same time learn about different cultures or just hang out with great people, then join our club! Whether you are from another continent or just another part of New Jersey, we welcome everyone aboard!
One of the first things I asked my academic advisor was if I can somehow skip math subjects. Long story short, my night class (6:30-9:15) is Elementary Statistics, which is a prerequisite for one of my major classes, Methodology in Political Science. My teacher is really good and you can tell she knows the subject, but math is just not my thing. The workload is heavy, and we have an assignment due each week. But luckily, that is the only math class I have to take. Shortly after my last class is over, I go to the parking lot, get in my car, and 10 minutes later I’m home. Before I go to bed, I usually look at my to-do list for the next day, but since Wednesdays just drain all of my energy and strength, I just jump on the bed and go to sleep immediately as soon as I get home.
We are #RowanPROUD and we are Rowan Profs! Not exactly sure what a Prof is? It’s our owl mascot, Whoo RU. Read about him here.
Story organized and photography by: Natalia Panfilova