Why did you decide to enter a U.S summer program?
The main reason for starting in the summer was because I didn’t want to waste three months, which would have interrupted the progress I had made learning English. I felt that taking the summer program would shorten the time needed to pass the TOEFL exam so I could get started in my major at Salem State University (SSU).
Why did you choose Salem State University?
I really fell in love with Salem because it is well-known for its big Halloween festival and its unique history. The city isn’t very crowded, it’s safe to live here and public transportation makes it convenient to get around.
I chose Salem State University because I knew I needed to improve my language proficiency to get accepted to university. Salem State’s Intensive English Language Program offered a lot of support to future undergraduate students who have weak skills in English. Furthermore, there are many majors and programs, and the modern facilities and residence halls are amazing.
What do you like best?
The best thing I liked about studying here was the variety of interesting courses and scheduling flexibility. There were small groups of students, which made me feel more comfortable. The relationship between the professors and students was friendly and engaging. I also liked the modern technology in my school.
What do you miss most?
I missed my parents, sister, friends and the food.
What was your biggest surprise?
The relationship with my professors was much closer than what I was used to in Vietnam. The professors are nice and we seemed like friends who shared our experiences, opinions and advice. The staff were always ready to help the students. Also, there was always some information every week on Facebook with details about events. This information allowed me to participate in many events.
... your biggest disappointment?
At first, I thought I just had to spend a maximum of six months to complete my English program, but the more I learned, the more I realized there are a lot of things I didn’t know about English, so I had to extend the amount of time I needed to improve.
How have you handled:
... language differences?
Honestly, I have had a long struggle to learn how to pronounce English words correctly. At first, it was really hard for my professor and my friends to understand what I was saying; but through their help and patience, my English got much better.
The tuition and cost of living are reasonable. Luckily, my parents have been supporting me the whole time.
Since you completed the program, how has it helped you in your work or studies?
Completing the summer program has helped me be able to pronounce more correctly, understand more easily, and enrich my vocabulary to communicate with others more naturally. I feel more confident to achieve my professional goals.
What are your activities?
Personally, I love to swim and to explore new places, at SSU, there’s a swimming pool and a gymnasium. However, my school also arranges activities for the students such as Orientation Program, Thanksgiving Lunch, International Dinner, Cultural Night, etc.
How easy or difficult was making friends?
My friends come from all around the world. Although they have many different backgrounds, they’re friendly, educated and open-minded. My classes are small groups of students, so it can be easier for us to make friends.
How relevant was your U.S. summer program to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
Taking the summer program helped me continue my progress to improve my English. I’m hoping to become a nurse. Studying at SSU will help me apply what I learn here to make the medical environment in Vietnam become better and more acceptable for the poor people in my country.
What is your advice to other students?
The best advice I can offer is to find a school that has a good Intensive English Language Program at the same university that you’re going to study. I also recommend making friends with people who speak English and not being shy to ask as questions. As a result, these activities will help you practice and improve your English easily as you experience new situations. I also suggest exploring the place where you’re going to study and getting involved with the locals.