Wolverine Stories: Sam Choi

As told by Clayton Rawson

UVU made me feel like I belong. It really feels like home here.

Sam Choi

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My name is Po Yin Choi, but I go by Samuel. I grew up in Hong Kong with my older brother and our parents. Every summer, my family and I would take a trip to mainland China to see different parts of the country. It was such a fun, eye-opening experience to learn about the ancient Chinese. However, I eventually left Hong Kong to move to the United States. In May 2013, my mother helped me move across the world to Utah.

I enjoyed living in Hong Kong, but the competitive environment there is extremely challenging. You are constantly compared to those around you, and it overwhelms every aspect of your life. Hong Kong is such a competitive place because of its geographic area and population. 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.

My parents and I didn’t feel like Hong Kong would give me the opportunities I needed to succeed, but they had friends in Utah, so we started working on a plan to get me into college. I applied to Snow College, Dixie State University, and Utah Valley University. Even as the largest university in the state, UVU seemed to be the most welcoming and offered endless opportunities for me to grow. It felt like the right choice.

Growing up, I played the piano and trumpet, so becoming a music major at UVU was another easy choice for me. The School of the Arts is full of students who enjoy what they do and genuinely want to be there. However, about a year or two into my education at UVU, I decided to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Boston, Massachusetts. Upon my return, I decided to change my major to business because of the professional opportunities I 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. Additionally, I had the amazing opportunity last year to be a foundation ambassador. It was a crazy year because of COVID-19, but we still found so many different things to do. We set out to paint the town green and give out UVU flags to local businesses that didn't have them yet. I can say with confidence that UVU takes care of its students, regardless of their backgrounds.

I am currently applying to the MBA program at UVU. I would love to stay at UVU, but if it doesn’t work out I plan to apply for a work permit and look for other options. My career goal is to be a management consultant. I want to help companies develop their leadership teams and company cultures. Problem-solving has always come naturally to me, so I think it would be fun to help companies create a more efficient, enjoyable working environment. 

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 belong; it really feels like home here. UVU has allowed me an opportunity to enjoy higher education, expand my future, and connect with people.