Why did you decide to study in the USA?
I chose to study in the USA because I wanted to learn more about business and management to develop new skills and improve in my career. I have previously traveled to various parts of the United States and felt the education system here offered more opportunities than that of other countries. I had been learning the English language over the years in Peru, and it just made sense to continue the English language right in the US while earning a degree or certificate in my field.
How did you choose Irvine Valley College?
After carefully evaluating all my options in the United States, I traveled to California on vacation to make sure Irvine Valley College was the right school for me. IVC was a clear choice after looking at its reviews, visiting the campus, and learning about the courses offered. I was looking for a school that offered flexible class hours, challenging courses, a city with diverse cultures, and of course close to beaches with beautiful weather all year round.
What do you like best about studying here?
I really enjoy studying at IVC because of its safe campus, flexible schedules, it’s close to home, and I can take courses online or on campus and still enjoy my personal life. I’m learning not only about American culture here at IVC, but because of the high reputation of their international study program, I’m also learning so much about other cultures and meeting amazing people.
What do you miss most about home?
IVC is keeping me busy and is providing me with skills that I´ll use for a lifetime. The city of Irvine is a place I can call home, but I do miss my family a lot although we communicate every day by video. I also miss my dogs, Neige and simba, and all my friends.
How long have you been studying here? How has your English improved? How has this program helped you to handle future study at a U.S. university?
I completed one semester so far, and I will graduate in the Spring of 2021. My English has improved tremendously. I have been able to carry on conversations more easily with friends, colleagues and work associates, which used to be a bit more challenging for me. The courses I’ve taken have built my confidence, and I’ve just successfully completed my first semester of Business Administration at IVC.
What was your biggest surprise about U.S. life and education?
Since I started studying here, I’ve discovered many great things and learned that the US offers a very good quality of life. The education system is everything I had expected, but my biggest surprise was learning that there is so much to do here in Southern California. You can literarily ski in the snow-covered mountains in the morning, surf in the ocean at noon, bicycle or hike along some trails in the late afternoon and then catch a breath watching the sunset while having dinner, all in,the same day. Los Angeles is only 40 minutes north, San Diego Zoo is 90 minutes south and a quick trip to Mexico or Las Vegas is just a few hours away. Life and college have been great. I’m grateful for the opportunity I’ve had thus far. I look forward to continuing my education and my life here in California.
... your biggest disappointment?
As almost perfect as everything could be since I started studying in Southern California at IVC, my biggest disappointment, which is completely out of anyone’s control was the Covid-19 and how it impacted life all over the world. This world pandemic took away my possibility to travel back home to see my family in Peru during the summer vacations. One thing that makes me confident that I chose the right place to live and study is how IVC took action to protect the students and immediately get ready to offer classes online. I was able to continue my education with a seamless transition. The state officials in California immediately responded and prepared the state and counties with protocols that put our safety first while allowing certain activities to offer a balanced life. As much as I was disappointed, I was proud at the same time.
How have you handled:
... language differences?
I’ve been able to adjust very well to the language differences. English is starting to become a second language for me. My boyfriend is Italian/American and only speaks English so I get a lot of practice.
... adjusting to a different educational system?
I was able to adjust very easily to the education system since I had previously taken English classes in the USA a few years ago.
What are your activities?
I am involved in a few activities. In my free time I love to workout. I’m a member of LA Fitness and enjoy training every day. I also take a Zumba dance class twice a week. My instructors are from Latin America, and the classes are full of energy and rhythm. I also enjoy bicycling. There are many riding trails here in Orange County. There are great riding paths along the beaches. Some of my favorite are in Huntington Beach and Newport Beach. IVC has sponsored an international student day trip to the San Diego Zoo which was so amazing. We had a lot of fun that day. We had another trip planned to the Los Angeles Angels professional baseball game but that was canceled due to the Covid-19.
How easy or difficult is making friends in the USA?
I’ve made some friends with great people both in and outside of school. It’s pretty easy making friends here especially when there is so much to do. People are always busy and enjoying life outdoors.
What are your career goals? How is your U.S. education relevant to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
My career goals are to continue growing my family business and maybe one day open a business in the US. It is important for me to learn English at an advanced level because my providers and business associates speak English or their native languages, such as Korean, Chinese, etc. but the one language we have in common is English. The other reason for furthering my education is to better understand how to manage not only business operations but manage people.
What is your advice to other students from your country who are considering studying English in the USA?
My advice to anyone considering studying English in the USA is to find a school like Irvine Valley College where they adapt and cater to the student’s current English level, place you appropriately and teach to your learning ability. In addition, they offer flexible class schedules, online classes and put your safety and best interests first.