Ching-Wei Chen from Taiwan is a sophomore majoring in Fashion Merchandising and Management at Berkeley College in New York, New York.
Why did you decide to study in the USA?
I decided that I wanted to study in United States to meet people from all around the world. I also wanted to learn the English language in a natural way.
Why did you choose Berkeley College?
New York City has displays of fashion everywhere. Berkeley College is centrally located in Midtown Manhattan and therefore became my top choice to study Fashion Merchandising and Management. I also have the chance to meet lots of interesting people-- approximately 30 percent of Berkeley students are international.
What do you like best?
There are many things that I like about Berkeley! If I have to pick one, it would be the tutoring service for students at the Academic Support Center. The Academic Support Center is open to anyone who needs a hand.
What do you miss most?
To be honest, I miss a bunch of things about home: I miss hugging my parents and going to movies with my best friends from high school. I also miss driving.
What was your biggest surprise?
The biggest surprise that I have about living and studying in NYC is the fast-paced atmosphere. Everyone is learning something to make them more competitive in their field. I have also noticed that professors are more accessible here.
... your biggest disappointment?
Even though I have friends here, I do feel lonely and homesick.
How have you handled:
... language differences?
In my opinion, to open your mind is very important for students who want to learn a new language. It’s not easy to come out from one’s comfort zone; however, once you open your mind and heart, you will notice how much easier it is to pick up a language.
I’m a lucky person because my parents support all my expenses. However, I understand their sacrifices to provide such an education for me. Therefore, I do the best I can at school.
... adjusting to a different educational system?
I am doing very well in the U.S. educational system. The reason for that is that I enjoy learning about fashion. Moreover, the U.S. educational system emphasizes the individual.
What are your activities?
When I’m in school, I like to spend time at the park or checking out museums. During weekend, I will go out for dinner with friends. If I plan to have a vacation, I like to travel.
How easy or difficult was making friends?
At the beginning, it was hard to make friends in the United States. However, if you show people that you’re an interesting person they will be happy to talk to you.
How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
In the future, I want to be an editor in a fashion magazine. I believe that the education and experiences over the course of my bachelor’s program will enable me to very successful. I will be able to discover fashion trends, identify silks and fabrics, and much more—all critical skills to reach my goal.
What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?
Taiwan has a very multicultural society because of the history. This feature helps us to adapt to new cultures quickly. I feel sometimes that some Taiwanese students who come to the United States assimilate too well! If you have a chance study in U.S., do your best to enjoy your new life.