Shiyao Liu

Country of Origin


Level of Study


Journalism with public relations concentration

Why did you choose CMU?
I immediately fell in love with the maroon and gold colors on CMU’s website. CMU also offered me the President’s Award scholarship and many other scholarship opportunities. 

What do you like most about CMU?
The professors are always nice and care about students. I can always approach them or use other resources whenever I need help. 

Did you face any culture shock (Academic, Personal, ...) when you arrived in CMU or in the United States?
Language barrier can always be a problem for international students and there was no exception for me. When my plane finally landed in Michigan, while being nervous about my future, I was eager to start a new life and curious to learn and contribute to my community. However, I wasn't confident enough to speak out and kept worrying about my English.  Sometimes I would get homesick too.

What resources did you use here on campus to help overcome the challenges you mentioned above?
The past two years have turned out to be a gift, especially when I encountered my amazing mentors and peers. I got involved in many volunteer projects and different leadership opportunities. I always stop by my professor’s office hours and ask for help with my academics and career options. Also, I met some of my best friends in my student organization and they helped me to overcome the homesickness. 

Tell us about your social groups/hobbies/activities you enjoy being involved in?
I love photography and modeling. I always play around with photographing things around campus. I am also very passionate about public relations and love to create events and social media campaigns for my organizations. 

If you could travel to any place in the world, where would you go and why? 
I would like to go to Cuba. It’s a colorful and small coastal country without convenient transportation and internet. However, I think this is a place where I can slow down my pace and appreciate my time and nature. 

What advice would you give to international students at CMU?
Being an international student can be challenging. All of my personal growth and positive changes at CMU resulted from a decision made two years ago, when I chose to walk out of my comfort zone and build my life in a new environment. Never be afraid to speak out, make new friends and reach out to great people. Don’t wait for people to reach out to you!

Fun Facts about Shiyao

PR & media chair for the International Student Organization (ISO).

Would like to become a media data analyst.

Loves fashion!

Interview conducted by Brianna Hughes, graduate assistant with the Office of International Affairs, Ronan 330.