Zineb Ouadghiri Hassani from Morocco is studying for his Associate Degree in Finance at Bunker Hill Community College in Massachusetts.
Why did you decide to study in the USA?
The United States provides the best education for students. It embraces not only the differences in the business field but also the cultures and lifestyle of two completely dissimilar countries. The unique pedagogy of developing the mind to be critical and reflective instead of the standard teaching methods makes education in the U.S. widely known to be one of the most efficient in the world.
Why did you choose Bunker Hill Community College?
The College is one of the most diverse institutions in Massachusetts. There are more than 800 international students from approximately 100 countries and that speak more than 75 languages, making the classes rich and fascinating. I don’t think I would have ever met such different people at the same time under any other circumstances.
What do you like best?
The community spirit; all my professors are not only competent but humble as well. Always friendly and approachable, ready to share their experiences, I would even consider some of them as my second family.
What do you miss most?
I miss my mother cooking for me and doing my laundry, chatting with my father and squabbling around with my brothers and friends. I also miss the weather.
What was your biggest surprise?
People in the U.S. are stress-free. When people step out of their workplaces, they take the time to take care of themselves and enjoy their lives.
Professors and counselors are on your side, they encourage you and want you to succeed but at the same time, you’re the one who has to look for the materials and do an extra effort to understand.
... your biggest disappointment?
The cost of education and living, for an international student at least, is very high.
How have you handled: ... language differences?
English is my third language and we learn it throughout our whole education, but I had a British accent and some words don’t mean the same thing at all.
My parents pay for my tuition. Working as an international student in the U.S. is very limited and complex.
... adjusting to a different educational system?
A difference is that in my country, and I’m sure in many others as well, you’re sitting in a classroom where all the students have nearly the same level of education, knowledge and age. But here, you can have the most knowledgeable person in the field on your right and a high school student on your left.
What are your activities?
I’ve been busy with my studies but whenever I have the chance, I like reading, hanging out with my friends, traveling and cooking. I’m also a member of the Student Success club and member of the Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society.
How easy or difficult was making friends?
We have to give up part of ourselves and our cultures to make friends. As long as we don’t judge their mindset, respect our differences and see them as particularities, it’s relatively easy.
How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
I’m graduating in the Spring 2014 and I want to transfer to a four-year university to get my bachelor’s in finance, with a minor in corporate finance. My main and current goal is to strengthen my skills, feed my curiosity of the business and its people. I want to prove to myself, my family and my country that success can be reached through desire and hard work.
As an international student in the U.S., I am grateful to find ways to maximize the outcomes of my journey.
What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?
You’ll need to know that the U.S. it’s not what you see on MTV reality shows. It certainly gives you all the opportunities you can dream of to achieve whatever you want, but your path can also be easily derailed form your original goal. You’ll need a strong financial support, you’ll have to be independent, self-motivated and responsible.