Veronika Kozina, from Croatia, is majoring in biotechnology at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston, Massachusetts

Veronika Kozina, from Croatia, is majoring in biotechnology at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston, Massachusetts

Why did you decide to study in the USA?

Coming from a foreign country and realizing the opportunities in the United States that are available to one who is willing to work hard and who strives for knowledge was one of the greatest discoveries for me, which is why I decided to study in the U.S.

Why did you choose Bunker Hill Community College?

The reason I chose Bunker Hill Community College is due to its diversity, affordable tuition, as well as the easy commute and the proximity to the city. The location of the campus is very convenient in many regards and everything is located practically at one’s fingertips.  You can explore the City of Boston by walking.  Boston is known for being a “walkable city.” Also, the public transportation is right at Bunker Hill Community College, having its own stop on the Orange Line (subway).

What do you like best about your program?

My quest was to find a program that supported my desire to be involved in a research component, along with possibly an engineering or biology aspect and, Voila! - biotechnology was IT!  The biotechnology program at Bunker Hill Community College is well advanced and offers great opportunities for mentoring and internship opportunities within the two-year associate degree program.  It has exciting collaborations with pharmaceutical companies such as Merck, BioNTech, four-year colleges (Harvard, MIT, UMass, etc.) and research institutions (Dana-Farber).

What do you miss most about home?

When I think of home, I think of the Adriatic Sea. Other than that, I can say that Boston became my ‘home away from home’. Now I have the Atlantic Sea Coast!

What was your biggest surprise about U.S. life and education?

I was surprised to understand that with passion, dedication and a strong work ethic, there is no such thing as ‘big goals’ that cannot be achieved. I could not help but grow in my desire to enter into this intriguing world of the sciences and engineering.

... your biggest disappointment?

 It is only sometimes that I get disappointed that a particular internship or a work opportunity is only open to U.S. citizens. Otherwise there is very little to get disappointed about. New opportunities come along very quickly.

How have you handled:

... language differences?

For me personally, I rarely felt that the language difference would present an obstacle due to the fact that I speak several languages fluently. Of course, I do have a ‘bad day’ occasionally when I mispronounce a few words.

... finances?

Handling finances is a hefty task but nothing that cannot be done. At times it can represent a challenge. The International Student Center is of great help when it comes to this obstacle. One can present a complex scenario, but there will be an answer.   The staff at BHCC work very hard to support the diverse population.  Fortunately, family friends are of tremendous help to me personally. Without them, I would have many more questions.

... adjusting to a different educational system?

At the very beginning, the difference in the educational system seemed rather massive. Understandably, I had many questions that were always answered by the International Student Office, and the Advising Center provided me with excellent feedback and great advice on potential issues. With all that help and time, it was easy to adjust.

What are your activities? 

Apart from the course work and studying, I keep myself busy nourishing friendships, spending time outdoors, painting, knitting, and repairing just about anything. It is rarely that I am bored because I find figuring out problems to be my relaxation.

How easy or difficult is making friends in the USA?

When it comes to making friendships in the USA, I would just say, because of the diversity and multicultural aspect, there is a match for anyone. All the people smile in the same language. I find people in Boston friendly and open-minded for the most part.

What are your career goals? How is your U.S. education relevant to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?

With boldness, I say that I will most certainly keep my goals high as I desire to achieve a Ph.D. in science in biotechnology. Although we have been using biotechnology concepts since ancient times (making of wine, beer, yeast), it is fair to say that biotechnology is a fairly new area of education. That being said, in regard to my home country, which depends on the production of wine, olive oil, cheese, etc., the U.S., especially Massachusetts, is a ‘Mecca’ of innovative technology in science, which is being used in the food and beverage industry.

What is your advice to other students from your country who are considering a U.S. education?

Be brave!  Since there is only one of you in this world, go ahead and create a masterpiece. And remember, always ask questions on what seems uncertain to you on all matters. Never be afraid of failure!  We learn from failure!  

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Veronika Kozina, from Croatia, is majoring in biotechnology at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston, Massachusetts.

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