My Hai Chung from Vietnam: Majoring in Nursing and Minoring in Music at State University of New York at Plattsburgh
Why did you decide to study in the USA?
I wanted to learn more about better education systems as well as expose myself to a more diverse place in order to improve myself academically, culturally and socially. So, I thought to myself, where else would be better than the USA?
Why did you choose State University of New York at Plattsburgh?
I chose State University of New York (SUNY) at Plattsburgh because they have the best support system for international students, as well as good scholarship offerings. Also, it has a strong reputation for business and science majors (especially nursing). The school location is not only ideal for outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, boating, fishing, but it is also optimal for exploring other big cities like Montreal (Canada), Boston, and New York City.
What do you like best?
The staff here are very sincere and student centered. Our community cares a lot about everyone and they make sure that we are well physically and psychologically. We have events and activities almost every day that offer pretty much everything to us. I personally think that our campus is definitely one of the most open-minded and supportive universities in the USA.
What do you miss most?
I would have to say that food and family are the things that I miss the most.
What was your biggest surprise?
I was very amazed at how independent, active, and willing to take initiative the students who study here are, which is a good thing because it helps to improve your independence and leadership skills. Also, the majority of students do some other activities besides their school work. It is clear that they are actually enjoying their time in school.
... your biggest disappointment?
I honestly don’t have any disappointment because things are unique in different cultures.
How have you handled:
... language differences?
I always try to spend extra time reading and studying outside of class time. Also, I try to practice my English skills as much as possible in everyday conversation with everyone to improve my fluency.
I was offered scholarship that helps with a third of my tuition and fees
... adjusting to a different educational system?
When I first came here, I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to catch up with everyone. Fortunately, I was able to understand the classes easily. What really worked for me was that I wasn’t afraid to ask questions and to seek help whenever I didn’t understand.
What are your activities?
I am a member of the Vietnamese Student Association, the Korean Association and the Nursing Student Association. I perform in Night of Nations, which is an annual multicultural show that is run by students. I also love taking advantage of the Partners In Cross Cultural Learning (PICL) program, which is similar to a homestay program but you don’t live with them. You are paired with local families and hang out with them during holidays and weekends. It really helps with culture transitioning and to lessen culture shock.
How easy or difficult was making friends?
It really depends on your perspective. I am personally a social butterfly and I like making new friends. People are very friendly here and they love to make friends with international students because they can learn more about other cultures.
How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
I would love to pursue a doctorate degree and become a Doctor of Nursing Practitioner (DNP) in obstetric gynecology. The U.S. has great resources in science development, especially nursing, that I can utilize to better prepare myself to reach my goal.
What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?
Don’t ever think that you can’t do it because it’s hard or out of your reach. Nothing is really impossible when you want it. Try your best and you will be surprised at what you can do. Don’t be afraid to ask when you don’t understand something because someone will probably have the same question as you.
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