Fotini Shkalla from Albania is a sophomore majoring in Biology at Quincy College in Massachusetts.
Why did you decide to study in the USA?
I decided to study in the USA because institutions are better here and once you graduate, there are more opportunities to get into the workforce and pursue a career you desire.
Why did you choose Quincy College?
Relatives that I already had here in USA recommended Quincy College to me. After looking it up by myself, I found it very attractive due to its reputation and the fact that it is close to my house and the subway station. It is just a 20-minute ride to downtown Boston. Finally, the low tuition cost compared to other institutions is a major factor.
Quincy College is a special place for me because it made me feel like home and part of its big family.
What do you like best?
All of the faculty and staff are very helpful, friendly, supportive and willing to make you succeed. Also, the fact that there are many students from all over the world is very interesting and exciting.
What do you miss most?
What I miss most about my home is mostly my family and the warm and sunny weather.
How has this program helped you to handle future study at a U.S university?
I have been studying here for two years and my English has improved a lot since I first arrived. Communication and living in a society where English is its first language automatically helps you develop your language skills and become more fluent. This program has been a great starting point and has helped me make a smooth transition to a 4-year university in Boston.
What was your biggest surprise?
My biggest surprise was that the education system in U.S. is designed in such a way so that most students succeed if they just put in some effort, attend classes and take care of all their responsibilities. Professors give credit for all of these factors and are willing to help their students in many ways.
... your biggest disappointment?
The truth is that I do not have any particular disappointment. Most of the things are exactly as I expected them.
How have you handled: ... language differences?
In the beginning it was a little perplexing but I found a way of handling the language differences by going to the International Student Services Office and communicating more and more with English-speaking people around there.
Thankfully my family helped me pay for my tuition, but also at Quincy College tuition was lower than other schools.
... adjusting to a different educational system?
All of my instructors have been very helpful and whenever I faced any difficulty, they were willing to talk with me one-on-one and solve whatever was too challenging.
What are your activities?
I have been the president of my college’s honor society – Phi Theta Kappa – for the years of 2013-2014. Also, I have a position as the international ambassador of the International Student Services Office in Quincy College.
How easy or difficult was making friends?
Personally, for me it was very easy to make friends in the USA because everybody was friendly at Quincy College. I also met people from my country so that was very pleasant.
How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
I would like to get into a PA (physician assistant) program and work in the medical field so that I can help people. Having the appropriate U.S. education can help me accomplish my career goals, which is very important. In my opinion, countries from all over the world acknowledge to a great degree if somebody has a diploma from a U.S. institution. In my country, the need for qualified people in any healthcare profession is quite high and rewarding.
What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?
My advice to other students from my country who are considering studying in the USA is to think about their coming here seriously because there are many advantages concerning their future and their career goals that can be achieved. No matter what age, background, race, or social and economic status, everybody has equal opportunities and potential to fulfill their dreams and desires.