Noumory Camara from Guinea is studying English at the English Institute at Howard Community College. Once he finishes English study he plans on pursuing his bachelor’s degree in Business and Computer Systems.
Why did you decide to study in the USA?
I wanted to learn English because it is one of the most important languages in the world. The USA also has many good professors. I wanted to make friends while studying.
Why did you choose the English Institute at Howard Community College?
I was attending a school in Texas and when I was visiting my family in Maryland; I decided I wanted to move there because I liked the location. In Maryland, there are more things to do and it is easier to make friends because not so many students are working. The English Institute is special because of how friendly the people are and the courses and professors are good.
What do you like best?
The location is very accessible and the professors are good.
What do you miss most?
I miss how the people in Guinea are optimistic and happy to live, even if they are poor and have difficult circumstances. I also miss the beautiful beaches and islands.
How has this program helped you to handle future study at a U.S. university?
I have been studying here for one semester. Even though I still make some English mistakes, I can express myself well. My pronunciation has improved.
What was your biggest surprise?
I was surprised by how easy it is to study here in the U.S. compared to Europe and Africa, although there is a lot of homework. In West Africa, students memorize a lot of information from books. Professors in the U.S. teach in a very different way.
... your biggest disappointment?
Transportation is very difficult if you do not have a car.
How have you handled:
... language differences?
When I practice my English, I focus myself on speaking and listening to native English-speakers because different accents can be confusing. I find something in common with other language-speakers so that we can find a connection. For example, I know some Arabic words, so I use that to connect with Arabic-speakers. I also have some friends from Europe, so I use what I know about Europe to connect with European students.
My parents are paying for my expenses, but I would like to be able to pay for myself. I would like to get a job on campus so that I can contribute more.
... adjusting to a different educational system?
I just threw myself into studying. I also took some extra courses to learn skills that I needed extra practice with.
What are your activities?
Now that I have a car, I would like to participate in many activities, like traveling to cities and sports, like lacrosse.
How easy or difficult was making friends?
It easier to make friends in the U.S. because everyone is not so busy. Students have free time after their classes, so they spend time together.
How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
I want to study business and computer systems and get a bachelor’s degree. Guinea is the top country in the world for aluminum, and it also has gold and diamonds. It is important to know English, French, and the local languages and have business skills to be successful.
What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?
It is an experience that they should try because of the importance of learning English and the diversity of the country.