6 Things You Should Know About Being a Green River Student and Living in Auburn, WA

Hi guys! It’s Indira here. Without realizing it, a new quarter has just started. It’s summer quarter now, which means that a lot of students have left Green River in order to transfer to other schools, but on the other hand, some students have just enrolled at Green River. Since Green River has a pretty big influx of international students, I’ve decided to write a blog post on a couple of things that you would really need to know. For some of the entries, they are meant more specifically for Indonesians, however.

So, without further ado, I present you the 6 Things I You Should Know About Living in Auburn, WA.

ENTRY #1: How do I get a Job on Campus?

A very important thing to do if you want to transfer to a top university is to get involved in campus. Even though you might have a 4.0 GPA, if you’re not involved or active on campus, they might not accept you as one of their students. Top universities would rather accept a student who has contributed a lot to the community but have a 3.8 GPA rather than a student who rarely participates in events but has a 4.0 GPA. Therefore, it is highly important to always keep track of what’s going on around you and get involved as much as you can.

One thing that would look really good on your transcript (that is, get involved and be active), is to get a job on campus. I understand that as international students, it is hard to get a job, mainly because we’re only legally allowed to work on-campus. Therefore, I will list some of the job opportunities available on campus.

  1. Green River has this CLEO Program. I like to describe it sort of as like a student club that organizes and plans events, but the difference is that they get paid. If you get hired as a CLEO member, you will really learn a lot of things, but above them all, you will really gain a lot of leadership skill. CLEO manages the Student Life office, which is the place you go to if you’re interested in joining a volunteer opportunity or school event. The CLEO basically plans and organizes really fun and awesome events for our school, and some of the CLEO students also work as RAs at the Campus Corner Apartments (CCA).
  2. You can also get a job at the International Programs (IP) Office, like me. Usually, at around winter or spring quarter, there will be sign up sheets at the IP office for those who would like to give it a shot at working at the IP. IP will also update their Facebook page, so watch out! The jobs available include receptionist, Student Marketing Assistant and Student Marketing Assistant. Of course, the skill and experience learnt will differ according to which position you’re in. Also, check out the blog managed by IP! They’re always updated on all the stuff that’s happening at Green River.
  3. Another viable option is to work as a tutor at either the Math Learning Center, the Library, or at the Writing Center. If you’re really good at a certain subject, you should give this a shot. The best thing about working as a tutor is that aside from teaching other students, you’re also strengthening your own understanding in that topic, and hence, it might help you raise your GPA!

Besides the options above, there are other job opportunities too, just that the options above are the ones that are the most common.

ENTRY #2: Taking Classes at Green River

A problem everybody will face is registering for classes. Even though I came here with sort of a blank mind as to what classes I will take, after the first few weeks of school I started to get a clearer picture on what I’m going to major in, which university I aspire to go to, what classes to take, and also which clubs to join. After the New Student Appointment (speaking of it… if you’re a new student, don’t forget to make an appointment!), I had it all set—I had planned which classes to take for each quarter, and I even had back-ups as to which classes to take in case I didn’t get into one of my classes.

When the registration period came, I found out that my registration time was actually later than my friends, even though we enrolled in Green River in the same quarter—winter quarter. I remember just staring at my computer as soon as the registration time started for the seniors; one by one the classes got full. I then started panicking, “What if I don’t get the Computer Science class? What if I don’t get the Calculus class? What if the teacher doesn’t accept overloads?” and I would just stare at the Green River website for ages. When the registration time came, I didn’t get into nearly all the classes that I wanted. If I’m not mistaken, I planned to take Phys& 221, Chem& 161, CS& 141 and Math& 151—I have to take a lot of Science and Math classes because I’m majoring in Computer Science—but in the end, I got Math& 151, Bus& 101, Engl& 228, and Psyc& 100. I only got one out of the four classes that I wanted. JUST ONE! But guess what? I’m fine. I’m totally fine.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is: Don’t freak out if you don’t get the classes that you want. Don’t freak out if you don’t get into your core classes. For instance, if you’re majoring in engineering and fail to get into even a single engineering class, chill. That’s totally okay. A lot of students would go through the first few quarters and they won’t really be taking their core classes yet, because that’s just the way it is. There are a limited number of classes, and there are a lot of students that want to get into those classes, but unfortunately, there are only a number of them that can. Also, Green River prioritizes the students that have been in Green River for a longer time rather than those that just came in terms of registration. This is so that those students who have been here for a long time and just need one or two classes to graduate or transfer can get those classes. New students will still spend one or two more years at Green River, and that’s enough time to take all the classes needed. In conclusion, it’s normal to not get into your core classes during the first few quarters. Eventually, you’ll get an earlier registration period and get into your core classes.

ENTRY #3: Overloading and Waitlists.

Related to the previous topic is overloading into classes. If, say, you really want to take the Macro Economics class but you’re still number 4 or 5 on the waitlist, you can still come to the class and sit through the first few classes. In fact, you should do it, because usually, if some of the students already registered don’t show up, the teacher will ask some of the students on the waitlist that have been coming to the classes to replace those students that have been absent. So, who knows? You might get into a class even though you’re still on the waitlist. If you are on the waitlist though, and get into the class, don’t forget to pay the additional tuition fee needed for that class as soon as possible so that you don’t get a late fee.

Actually, even though you’re number 18 on the waitlist, still come to the class! In fact, waitlist or not, if you really need that class, or if you really want to take that class, you should come to the class anyway. Some teachers will allow you to overload to the class, regardless of whether any of the already registered students dropped the class or not, and regardless of whether you are on the waitlist or not. I know a couple of instructors who does this.

ENTRY #4: How Do I Get to Downtown Seattle?

For this part, most of you will probably know already, but there are actually two ways (two bus routes) to get to Downtown Seattle. The first way is to take bus 181 from Green River to Federal Way Station, and then take either bus 578 or bus 577 from there. You will need to make sure that you bring cash though, because bus 578 and 577 are not King County Metro buses—they’re Sound Transit buses—so you can’t use the bus tickets purchased from school. Since bus 578 passes through Auburn Station too, you can also take bus 181 to Auburn station and then take bus 578 from there. This might be a better option than to take bus 578 from Federal Way, because the Sound Transit buses are better than the King County buses. Hence, you won’t have to spend so much time in the King County Metro buses.

Another option to get to Seattle is to take bus 164 to Kent Station and then from there, take bus 150. However, this route takes longer than the route above. Bus 578 and 577 are express buses; from Federal Way Station, they travel to Seattle through the highway, which is definitely faster than passing through loads of red lights and stop signs.

ENTRY #5: How do I get Indonesian Cuisine?

If there is one thing you wouldn’t expect to miss, that thing is food. Yes. Food. When I came here I never expected that not being able to eat Indonesian food would impact me so much. And yes, I know. It might sound lame…. And I might have exaggerated a little bit. But frankly, after 6 months living in Auburn, I could list a hundred types of Indonesian food that I really want right now. And topping the list would be Ayam Pop Padang… yum!

Back to my main point, one of the first changes you’ll notice is the food. Food is an essential part of life because we consume it everyday, right? That’s probably why we international students miss food from our country so much.

Luckily for Indonesians, there are a couple of places where you can get Indonesian food here. The first destination is Indocafé (website: http://myindocafe.com/)—an Indonesian restaurant located in Northgate, WA. The full address is:

543 Northeast Northgate Way

Seattle, WA 98125

I’ve been here two or three times, and I have to say that they have pretty good Indonesian food. It’s not a very big restaurant; it probably fits 30 to 40-ish people. The employees over there are Indonesian, which make sit even better because it makes you feel “at home.” A lot of Indonesians go there too, so you might run into some Indonesian friends from other colleges. There are non-Indonesians who go there too—I wouldn’t blame them though. Indonesian food is tasty.

So, Northgate might seem like a far place if you don’t have a car. You can get there by bus though, although it would probably take 2 hours or more. I suggest spending the day in Seattle, then eating a late lunch in Northgate. Therefore, you wouldn’t really have to sit in the bus for 2 hours straight. If you do plan to go to Indocafé, here are the bus directions:

Take bus 181 to either Federal Way station and then take bus 578 or 577 and alight at Macy’s in downtown Seattle. From there, you can take bus 41, which takes you to Northgate. Alight at 5th Ave NE & NE 106th St, and it will be just a 2-3 minute walk to Indocafé. If you’re confused with the directions I’ve just given, a good option is to use Google Maps. They give pretty clear directions.

Another option is Tiga Dara Catering (website: https://www.facebook.com/tiga.dara.9). As the name suggests, it’s a catering, which provides Indonesian food. The lady who operates this catering cooks every Monday, Wednesday and Friday; and the food she cooks differs day to day, ranging from Nasi Kuning, Gado-gado, and Martabak Manis. To order food from her, you can simply message Tiga Dara on Facebook, or you can text her directly at (609) 222 5285. Remember to text her in the morning or on the previous day though, so that she can prepare her orders. Also, some food sells out quicker than others, so watch out. Lastly, if you order food from her, it will cost $8.50 for every order (unless otherwise stated) and she will deliver the food to your house at around 4-5pm, so be sure to have someone in the house during that time.

There are other options such as Martabak SF (website: https://www.facebook.com/terangbulan.sf). As the name suggests, they only sell martabak. Furthermore, they are actually located in San Francisco, but they receive orders of Martabak Manis from all over the US. The price for one serving is $18; it includes shipping fee via USPS, and it uses vacuum packaging. Frankly, I have never tried this before because: (1) when there are easier options, why opt for the hard one? And (2) I’ve always planned to order some together with my friends but being the procrastinator that I am, the plan always fails to go through. However, if any of you have ever ordered from Martabak SF, please post a comment on this blogpost or email us!

ENTRY #6: Where to get cheap clothes?

As you might have realized, everything—literally everything—in the US is expensive. Well, at least more expensive than in Indonesia. So here I’m gonna give you a cheaper option: thrift stores. It might not be ideal, but as a college student you will probably have other priorities; for instance paying college tuition, buying college textbooks and so on. So what is a thrift store? A thrift store is basically a shop that sells used stuff, and some of those stores sell specifically clothes. Don’t worry; it’s not as bad as you think. The clothes are in very good condition. When people resell their old stuff, the staffs at the store check the items to see whether (1) it’s in good condition and (2) it’s something that people like. During my 6 months in Auburn I’ve been to thrift stores a couple of times, and even though I entered the store not intending to purchase anything, I usually step out of the store with something. I recently purchased pretty decent Nike shoes for just $10!

So, if you’re low on money and need a makeover, I would recommend you to go to the Capitol Hill area. There are numerous thrift stores there with Crossroads being my favorite—in fact, I only buy used clothes from that store because they sell clothes at a cheaper price. Most blouses there would probably cost $8. Oh, and Crossroads has another store over at University District, which is near University of Washington.

**Note: if you’ve seen the way I dress, you might have noted that I’m not much of a fashionista. However, I know several people who are and they love getting stuff at thrift stores.

ENTRY #7: How do I get Indonesian food?

**Point to note: This is different from the first entry; the first one was more about food that’s ready to eat—the food you get at restaurants. This entry is more about the raw food and spices.

A common problem faced by international students is that they find it hard to get used to American food—some of them just don’t like American food! However, luckily there are several Asian grocery stores near Auburn, and some of them have Indonesian stuff—Indomie, Indofood, and some Indonesian crackers and biscuits.

Here are the grocery stores:

  • H-Mart, which is located in Federal Way. Take bus 181 to Federal Way station, and then take the A-Line bus. A couple of minutes after that, you will see H-Mart on your left. It has a couple of other stores surrounding it, including Barnes and Nobles.
  • Ranch Market 99, which is located near Southcenter Mall. You can take bus 150 and stop at the junction near Sperry Drive. From there, it’s a half an hour walk though. Another option is to take bus 153 from near the Kent Station. It’s 10-15 minutes on the bus and a 5-minute (or less) walk.
  • Great Wall Mall is basically a mall that has tons of authentic Asian food. Pretty awesome food. You can take the 164 bus from Green River, continued by the 161 bus and finally alight at SW 43rd St & E Valley Hwy. From there it’s a 5-minute walk to the mall.
  •  Hong Kong Market is another Asian grocery store. You can take the 164 bus until Kent Station, and from there it’s a 5 to 10-minute walk.
  • Seafood City is also an Asian grocery store, but it’s more fore Filipinos. However, it’s still Asian, and the Philippines isn’t very far off from Indonesia, so the food there are probably similar to what Indonesians eat. This store is inside Westfield Southcenter Mall, which you can reach by taking 164 bus until Kent, continued by bus 150. You can then alight right in front of the Mall.

Well, that basically marks the end of this post. I hope everybody has a great second week of school, and I’ll see you soon!

– Indira Pranabudi

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