Shu-Yang Peng from Taiwan: Studying Pre-Nursing at Flathead Valley Community College
Why did you decide to study in the USA?
I’ve always wanted to study in the USA. I was interested in American culture, way of thinking and education. I wanted to choose a different life from most of Taiwanese students. I wanted to get a better education, to have an adventure and learn the different culture and perspective.
Why did you choose Flathead Valley Community College?
I chose Flathead Valley Community College (FVCC) because I liked its environment. It has an amazing view and there are lots of outdoor activities because it is surrounded by the mountains. It’s close to Glacier National Park, Big Mountain and there are some beautiful lakes are nearby. Second, I heard about FVCC’s high quality practical nursing program, which is what I’m pursuing. Third, the tuition fee is very reasonable.
What do you like best?
The best thing I like about FVCC is its small classes. It is easier for me to focus in a small class, and I’m able to ask questions. It also made professors very approachable.
What do you miss most?
The things I miss most about home are family, friends and food. It is hard not seeing my family and for so long. I miss them a lot. I miss Taiwanese food, especially the food my dad cooked and the street food.
What was your biggest surprise?
I’m surprised that American education really cares about students’ opinions and critical thinking. It is important for students to participate in class, ask questions if needed, work as a group and join the discussion.
... your biggest disappointment?
My biggest disappointment is that I’ve been in the U.S. for a year and a half, but sometimes I still have hard time understanding what people are talking about, or people still don’t understand what I’m saying. There are still many unfamiliar words and I need to work hard on my pronunciation.
How have you handled:
... language differences?
I watch TV, movies or videos to learn English. I turn on the captions which helps. I also ask people new words whenever I have the chance. Sometimes I write it down if I have my notebook with me.
I work at the school cafeteria to make my living expenses. Most of the time I cook myself instead of going out to eat.
... adjusting to a different educational system?
I spend a lot of time on my studies. I go to the writing lab and have the tutors help with my papers and I joined the supplemental instructor group to study with classmates as a group.
What are your activities?
I participate in school intramural such as bowling night, volleyball and ski night. During the summer I also joined their summer activities such as paint ball and a fishing trip. I’m also a member of the student club, Global Friends.
How easy or difficult was making friends?
The first semester was very tough for me especially with the language and cultural barrier. People talk in slang a lot which were not familiar to me at all. I was also nervous because I was afraid of making mistakes. I’ve been doing much better. I’m not afraid to talk to people because I know people don’t care about how good my English is. They are also interested in my stories just like I’m interested in theirs.
How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
I want to be a Registered Nurse. I’m currently studying for the prerequisites for the nursing program and I just got accepted into the Montana State University Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. Nowadays, nurse shortages happen everywhere. I would bring what I learn in the U.S. back to Taiwan and share my experiences with Taiwanese nurses.
What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?
I would suggest they do not hesitate. Studying in the U.S. makes me more independent. It gives me different perspectives in many things that I‘ve never thought before such as religion, the value in life, the attitude to life, and so on. I also treasure more the relationship between friends and family. And the most important is, U.S. education improves my critical thinking. I started thinking outside of the frame and it also makes me more confident in myself.
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