Ana from Brazil is a senior majoring in Political Science at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Ana from Brazil is a senior majoring in Political Science at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana.


Why did you decide to study in the USA?

The quality of education and for the experience.

Why did you choose McNeese State University?

I was looking for a smaller school to go to, and McNeese is a small and affordable school with good programs.

What do you like best?

The small class sizes and the ability to really get to know your professors.

What do you miss most?

The food.

How has this program helped you to handle future study at a U.S. university?

I would say my English is pretty good. It’s important to be around native speakers in order to really improve. Doing my undergraduate in the U.S. has definitely helped me prepare for studies at the graduate level here.

What was your biggest surprise?

People here are more reserved, but not necessarily less friendly. As for the education aspect, I like how you get a more well-rounded education. In addition to your core classes, you take electives that don’t all necessarily have anything to do with your major, such as fine arts, and foreign language classes. Plus there are all the clubs, sports, and societies you can join.

... your biggest disappointment?

I don’t really have one.

How have you handled:

... language differences?

If I ever need help with any questions regarding language, I find someone to ask, and I always try to learn something new.

... finances?

Last year, I worked on campus as a barista, which helped a little bit. In general, I avoid spending on things I don’t need, like going out for food or drinks.

... adjusting to a different educational system?

I think the educational system here is much more straightforward. At the beginning of the semester your professors give you a syllabus with all of their grading criteria, course outline, and expectations, and it’s up to you to meet those expectations. I think that makes it easier because then you know from the start what’s coming and what you need to do in order to pass.

What are your activities?

I’m in the Pre-Law and Politics society, Cowboys in Action, which is a service club, and the Speech & Debate Team.

How easy or difficult was making friends?

It’s not hard, but joining a club or playing a sport makes it a lot easier because you are automatically with people who have something in common with you.

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

Eventually I would like work in the legal field with international affairs. My U.S. education is preparing me for that, and relations between the U.S. and Brazil are quite important, as Brazil is a prime force in the tourism industry.

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

First, go into it with an open mind. Don’t expect people here to be the same as they are at home. The culture and customs are different, and being able to adapt is a necessary skill.

Second, research schools that offer what you want, be it in terms of a specific major, class sizes, campus diversity, or sports teams. Finally, once you have found a school you like, research the city and state it’s in. The U.S. is a big country with many different regions. Going to a place you feel the most comfortable with is going to be extremely helpful in being able to adjust to the new experience.

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