Woan Ru Liao from Taiwan studied at the American Collegiate English (ACE) program at Grossmont College.
Why did you decide to study in the USA?
I wanted to increase my self-value and ability. I chose to study abroad in the USA because the USA’s culture is more welcome for a foreigner to study. Also, the teaching method is totally different from my country, Taiwan. The teaching in the USA is lively and vivid with activities, and these activities are easy for students to absorb the knowledge that they have learned. I am glad that I made this decision to study abroad.
How did you choose your intensive English program?
At the beginning, I didn’t know what my English level was. I saw American Collegiate English (ACE) after my brother introduced the Grossmont College. My brother had attended the program years before me and had a great experience. Hence, I selected this program. The ACE program didn’t let me feel disappointed. All professors are supportive to students and design activities for helping students to understand the concepts. The ACE course improved my English a lot. Now I won't feel shy or ashamed when I do the presentation in front of people.
What do you like best about studying here?
I liked the ACE professor’s teaching methods. They use activities and events. This helped me and the other students to understand and easily memorize the vocabulary and idioms. I felt ready to go to college after ACE.
What do you miss most about home?
Actually, I am back in my home country now. What I miss the most about the school life is the fun and interesting interaction from professors and classmates.
How did you study and how did your English improve?
My English improved from the intermediate to high-intermediate. The ACE program helped me to have more confidence when I have a speech in public. After I finished ACE, I studied for two semesters at Grossmont College. Then I transferred to a private university and received an MBA. My English was good enough to complete my business courses and earn the degree.
What was your biggest surprise about U.S. life and education?
The teaching methods are more activities instead of a rigid teaching method. All professors are like friends when teaching students. This helped me feel relaxed and confident so I could improve my speaking and listening and writing in English.
... your biggest disappointment?
I couldn’t continue taking courses in the U.S. because of COVID. I returned home, but I did receive my MBA first.
How have you handled:
... language differences?
At the beginning, I felt shy, but I knew that I had to do something to improve myself. So, I watched movies, talked to people everywhere I went, and read English novels to improve my English. I kind of forced myself. In San Diego, of course there are many Americans but also many people who came from other countries. It was easy to find all kinds of people to practice English.
This is another problem. Because I entered the USA via student visa, I couldn’t get a part time job. My family and I paid for ACE and Grossmont College. I had a student loan from my home country to pay for the MBA.
... adjusting to a different educational system?
Asia culture is totally different from USA culture, so the only way is to adopt and adapt to the new culture. Then, just enjoy the new stuff including the educational system.
What are your activities?
I joined an international student club. The club designed activities to help international students to adapt to the new environment and education. This helped me not be homesick. A couple of my favorite club activities were a boat trip in the San Diego harbor and Halloween party. I liked exploring San Diego. I like the chance to talk in English and to be serious or silly and have fun.
How easy or difficult is making friends in the USA?
I always have an open mind, so it’s not difficult to make friends in the USA. After class, my classmates and I would have lunch together and talk and do fun things in San Diego. I made friends who I stay connected with now on social media even though I returned home.
What are your career goals? How is your U.S. education relevant to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
My goal is to become a manager for monitoring and leading a team. My major is Business MBA, and it’s relevant with my career. I know how to use the knowledge from what I learned from the business major in my job.
What is your advice to other students from your country who are considering studying English in the USA?
In my opinion, students need an open mind and should adopt and adapt to the new culture and educational system. Don’t feel shy because shyness will stop you from making successful progress.
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