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Student from Hong Kong finds belonging and success at UVU

By Kadee Jones - UVU | Oct 2, 2021

Isaac Hale, UVU Marketing

Sam Choi takes part in the Wolverine Stories project in the studio on the campus of Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah, on Monday, April 26, 2021. (Isaac Hale, UVU Marketing)

Po Yin Choi, who prefers to be called Samuel, grew up in Hong Kong with his older brother and parents. Each summer, his family would take a trip to mainland China to see different parts of the country. Samuel recalls that it was fun to learn ancient Chinese but that the intense environment in Hong Kong was challenging.

“Hong Kong is such a competitive place because of its geographic area and population,” Samuel said. “With so many people in one place, resources are scarce — this creates an extremely competitive educational and professional environment. It wasn’t the life I wanted to live.”

With his parents’ help, Samuel came up with a plan to get into college in Utah, as he had family friends there. He applied to Snow College, Dixie State and Utah Valley University (UVU). Despite being the largest institution in the state, UVU felt the most welcoming to Samuel. The university’s abundant academic and extracurricular opportunities confirmed it was the right choice for him.

Samuel grew up playing the piano and trumpet, so becoming a music major was another easy choice. He left UVU for a short while to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Boston, Massachusetts. Upon his return, Samuel decided to change his major to business because of the professional opportunities he saw down that path.

“Taking advantage of all UVU has to offer, I also chose to get involved in the English as a Second Language (ESL) program. As a young 16-year-old international student, UVU really helped me adjust to the culture here and gave me opportunities to practice my English.”

Samuel also worked closely with the UVU Foundation and became a foundation ambassador, representing the university at strategic events throughout the year. He is currently applying to the MBA program at UVU with hopes of becoming a management consultant, as problem-solving has always come naturally to him.

“I love that UVU is an open-enrollment institution because it gives everyone the opportunity to find their passion. This school made me feel like I belonged. It really feels like home here. UVU has allowed me an opportunity to enjoy higher education, expand my future and connect with people.”

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