Why did you decide to study in the USA?
I decided to study in the United States because my dream lies in this country. The heart of the film industry is located in Hollywood, and the best film schools are in California. If I had stayed in Brazil I would never have the same opportunities as the ones I have in Southern California.
Why did you choose Orange Coast College?
I chose Orange Coast College (OCC) because of the reputation of the film program and high transfer rates to the universities I desire. Another factor is the convenient location in Orange County, allowing me to visit big cities like Los Angeles, enjoy the diverse landscapes located and also to visit my relatives in San Diego. OCC is special because of the facilities, professionals and people. I could not have chosen a better place to start the journey towards my dream.
What do you like best?
What I like best about OCC is the amount of leadership opportunities for students. In my first semester, I participated in mentor programs, student government, volunteering and establishing a campus-wide honor society for film and visual arts.
What do you miss most?
I really miss my hometown, close friends and obviously, family. I talk with my family and on a daily basis, but sometimes our times do not match and it gets to be really difficult.
What was your biggest surprise?
The different traditions. Also, the behavior while attending a class is extremely different in both countries, and also how people dress, talk and have very distinct personality.
How have you handled:
... language differences?
I knew that I had to speak English when I entered a classroom. I had to constantly speak English with no Portuguese intervals. Sometimes I would forget words or start speaking my native language to people. In the first months, I struggled with this issue.
This was a very big obstacle. In addition to the Brazilian economy being very low in the past year, I had problems managing how and what to spend every month. Many times I ran out of money before the week or month was over. My solution to keep track was to systematically calculate what I was going to spend in a certain week.
... adjusting to a different educational system?
This was not very hard. In the beginning I took some time to understand how the courses are divided, labeled, ranked and which ones I need to take.
What are your activities?
I founded the campus-wide Visual Arts Honor Society, Pi Tau Epsilon. I work at the front desk and am a film tutor. I'm also involved in the Student Government, the Advocacy Committee, and last year I was in the College-Life Committee and Volunteer Team.
I have participated in various volunteering opportunities on and off campus. In the meantime, I actively participate in clubs: International Student Association, Golden Talent Entertainment, Debate and Film Club. I also have my own independent photo and video production company, Enzo Flores Productions.
How easy or difficult was making friends?
It is quite difficult at first, but it is a process that takes time. Americans are not as outgoing as Brazilians. I just acted the way I always do and ended the semester with a consistent social life with more international friends than American friends.
How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
I aspire to be a respectable director of a big-budget Hollywood production. The United States has the film industry in which I guide all my goals towards working in the studios. Further, I would not have the opportunity that I have if I was not in this country.
What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?
I encourage everybody to get out of his or her comfort zone and experience life and education. I know it is very difficult to leave absolutely everything and everyone behind and move to a country with very different traditions, but if you are really certain of what you want for your life, it is worth it. Look for the place that you want to live. Focus on your goals and move away from distractions. Surround yourself with people that have the same work ethic and bring only good to you.
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