Why did you decide to study in the USA?
The United States is well known for both its education and job opportunities. My sister graduated from a college in California and she is now working at my dream company, Facebook. Through my sister, I was able to broaden my horizon with the motivation of studying in the United States.
Why did you choose City College of San Francisco?
I am currently attending City College of San Francisco (CCSF) located in the heart of the tech industry, San Francisco, California. There are three major reasons I chose CCSF. First, as a community college, CCSF’s tuition is not costly compared to four-year colleges. Second, CCSF offers many transferable courses related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) majors. And, the school name “City College of San Francisco” stood out the most to me personally.
What do you like best?
Diversity. People respect and do not judge others based on gender, race, religion, etc.
What do you miss most?
Family and friends of course.
What was your biggest surprise?
Diversity. I cannot describe how diverse California is to be honest.
... your biggest disappointment?
When I found out the Golden Gate Bridge was not painted gold but red!
How have you handled:
... language differences?
Thanks to my experiences in studying abroad in English-speaking countries, I have not had any major issues with the language differences yet. However, I still struggle pronouncing a few words. When I do so, however, I go to English lab at my school or ask my friends to help improve my pronunciation and speaking skills.
In order to afford four to five years of tuition while studying in the United States, I decided to go to a community college and to spend three years at CCSF because community colleges have cheaper tuition. I am planning to transfer to an upper-level university in two years while completing the transfer requirements. This is one of the most common steps international students follow to lighten the burden of costly tuition.
... adjusting to a different educational system?
I prefer the grading system in the United States. The grading system in South Korea is based on the curve. I hated this so that is one of the other reasons I came to the United States.
What are your activities?
I have joined many clubs including F-1 and Alpha Gamma and Sigma (AGS. Our club name F-1 stands for visa type for international students. We usually have a biweekly meeting, sharing cultural activities and hang out together. As a member of AGS, I volunteer to fundraise for more scholarship opportunities for students and to help the community.
How easy or difficult was making friends?
It depends on one’s personality to be honest. I consider myself as a very extroverted person, so I had no issues with making friends. Join school clubs! You will find people who share the same interests, which will make it easier for you to get to know them.
How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
I am working toward B.S. in Computer Science and A.S. in Mathematics. After I receive these degrees, I will keep pursuing my dream of becoming a software engineer just like my sister. The essence and the most important aspect of Computer Science and Mathematics is “problem solving,” which is crucial to today’s society. As a software engineer, I wish to develop a better platform for LGBTQ community in Korea as well as around the world.
What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?
Prepare yourself by learning English. Even though you think you barely speak English and need more time, you can find English intensive programs to improve your English before your academic studies, which are also offered at CCSF.
I know how challenging it is to study abroad. You may struggle adjusting to a different environment or educational system. You may miss home, friends, and family. You may face difficulties in pursuing your academic goals. And you may just want to give up everything at some point, but don’t! City College of San Francisco (CCSF) is full of resources that will assist you with your transition of your new life and your academic needs.