Selene Li from China is a sophomore, studying English and Education at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California

Selene Li from China is a sophomore, studying English and Education at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California


Why did you decide to study in the USA?

The United States is known for its higher education opportunities, worldwide recognition of school names, technology and hands-on training.

Why did you choose Sonoma State University?

The most important reason why I chose Sonoma State is because its location and environment. Sonoma State University is located in the beautiful wine county of Sonoma County, in Northern California, which is the perfect place with perfect climate. It’s one of the top “green” campuses in the country. 

Academically, Sonoma State University offers many special programs, such as women gender studies, teaching credential program and intensive language program—Sonoma State American Language Institute.

I chose my university and intensive English program based on its academic reputation

and its curriculum. In this English program, I am able to keep learning and practicing in and out of classes. Students who study in Sonoma State American Language Institute can experience college life and start to get involved with leadership programs and community activities.

What do you like best?

I am living in the one of the American top 30 most beautiful campuses. The environment provides me a quiet place to study all the time.

When I studied in the intensive language program, I was learning new information in every class. I received instruction in grammar, composition, oral communication, reading, vocabulary, and study skills. Also, my teachers are very easy-going and they are good resources for me to get to know more about university life. In addition, the class size is comfortable and I always get enough attention in classes when I need help. 

What do you miss most?

I miss my high school. I left all my memories about studying for SAT and times with my best friends in there.

What was your biggest surprise?

American life helped me embrace diversity and grow personally and academically. I learned how to adapt to a different society and how to communicate more effectively.

... your biggest disappointment?

My biggest disappointment is that my dog passed away just before I graduated from my language program. At that time, I had to stay in USA, so I couldn’t go home to see her before she died.

How have you handled:

... language differences?

I face language differences all the time. But I am willing to learn and to practice over and over again. And I am really glad that people who around me always willing to listen to me.

... finances?

Because the tuition is affordable, and my family and I prepared enough education saving, I don’t have any financial problems.

... adjusting to a different educational system?

I started to adjust when I was studying in Sonoma State American Language Institute. It offered me university orientation class and provided me opportunities to get in touch with American students, such as through the Conversation partner program, volunteer in local communities, and join day trips with other students on weekend.

What are your activities?

I lived with a host family when I first came to here. Now, I am a student ambassador in our international club and working with international students. International club organizes and holds different events and field trip almost every weekend. 

How easy or difficult was making friends?

It’s easier to make friends when you’re willing to speak and express yourself. If you see an American on campus who looks friendly, don’t be afraid to start a conversation. Don’t be discouraged by one bad experience with an American. Most American students will be more open to friendship with internationals.

How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country? 

I want to be a teacher and work with children. The Early Childhood Education Concentration at Sonoma State University will help me to take leadership roles in the field of early childhood education. 

What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?

Become more flexible: There is no better time to challenge yourself with new places, culture and lifestyle. Be willing to learn new knowledge when you study in the USA and learn to be flexible in culture that you know little about.

Embrace diverse culture: Living in another country for a semester (or longer) brings you a fresh view and challenges your existing stereotypes about the world. 

Sonoma State University

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