Younji from South Korea is studying English at the English Institute at Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland.
Why did you decide to study in the USA?
My uncle’s family lives in Maryland, USA, so I would have a place to stay while studying English. I also thought it will be more effective to study English in America.
Why did you choose the English Institute at Howard Community College>?
My uncle and aunt suggested that I study at Howard Community College because it is the nearest school to their house, and I heard that it has the best English Institute program in Howard County, so I chose this school.
What do you like best?
I like all the classes I’ve taken, but the things I like best are the activities organized by the English Institute office. There are various activities where I can interact with American friends and teachers. I have enjoyed these activities with my friends, who come from all different countries, and I have learned about American culture and life.
What do you miss most?
I really miss my family. I’m so sorry that they cannot be here with me.
How has this program helped you to handle future study at a U.S. university?
I have studied here for six months. I think I have improved my English in many ways, such as speaking, writing, and reading. At first, I was afraid of talking with American people, but now I talk with them without fear. I had had many difficulties with writing in English before I took writing classes, but now I like to write in English, and I also feel confident when I’m writing in English.
What was your biggest surprise?
My biggest surprise about the U.S. was that I cannot go many places without a car, and public transportation takes a lot of time. Fortunately, I already had an international driver’s license, so I was able to get a driver’s license and buy a car easily in America. Another surprise was that the schools are closed if the weather is awful. In South Korea, schools are almost never closed because of the weather.
... your biggest disappointment?
My biggest disappointment is that it can be hard to find fun things to do besides school activities, so sometimes I feel bored.
How have you handled:
... language differences?
Many times I cannot say exactly what I want to say because English is not my first language. When people don’t understand what I am talking about, I don’t give up and try to say as much as I can.
As a F1 student, studying English in the USA costs a lot of money, so I tried to get a scholarship, and I got it last semester. It helped me a lot.
... adjusting to a different educational system?
It didn’t take much time to adjust. The most different thing was sharing my ideas with my classmates in class. It was not easy at first because students in my country don’t usually share their thoughts in class. However, after I got used to this, it has become my favorite thing in my class.
What are your activities?
I try to take part in almost every activity. It helps me have various experiences that I cannot get in class.
How easy or difficult was making friends?
I think making friends in the USA is not difficult. Foreign friends at school are very friendly. There are also many activities with American volunteers, so it gives us many chances to make American friends, too.
How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
My career goal is to work in a big international company after I go back to my country. I decided to study English in the USA because that kind of company requires a lot of work that has to use English. My program helps me improve my English skills in many ways, so I believe it will help me to get a job.
What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?
I want to say that if you have a chance to come to the USA to study English, you should grab the chance. Studying English in the USA is more efficient for improving your English skills. You can also experience American culture and life, and it will help you achieve your career goals, too. After you come to the USA and study in a school, do not be shy, just say what you know and try what you want.