An interview with Tran, Huy from Vietnam, who attended East Los Angeles College and now studies for a Master of Engineering – Structural Design.
Why did you decide to study in the America?
America has the top universities and East Los Angeles College is in California which has some of the highest ranked university in the U.S.A. ELAC has a special transfer agreement (2 plus ) with all the major universities in California and across the United States. East Los Angeles College was the key to helping me adjust to the American education system.
Why did you choose this college?
East Los Angeles College has many major to choose from, and they are known for my major of engineering. I found the sunshine weather in Los Angeles very easy to adjust to and the smaller class sizes at ELAC allowed me to get direct assistance from my professor. The college counselor and university transfer center provided me with guidance on the top universities I could transfer to for my major.
What do you like best?
The environment at East Los Angeles College made me feel very comfortable. Students come from many different backgrounds and we all respect each others culture. ELAC had a special Honors program for top students, and this made my transfer application better.
What do you miss most?
I miss my family’s cooking the most and the Vietnamese holidays. I am able to buy Vietnamese food here and Los Angeles also celebrates holidays like TET, but I still miss my family and homeland.
What was your biggest surprise?
The people of the United States of America are very nice. I admit, I thought Americans are like the people in the movies. It was easy to make friends at East Los Angeles College and the teachers also were considerate and patient to explain things carefully to me.
...your biggest disappointment?
The food here in America is very different than my hometown. I believe I even gain some weight, but it is worth the knowledge I gain.
What are your activities?
Playing chess in the chess club, a student club. East Los Angeles College has many student clubs and opportunity to do community volunteer work. East Los Angeles College has an international student club in which has monthly meeting around American holidays. This is where I learn about Thanksgiving, Christmas and other American traditions. During the vacation time I have been able to go the beach, learn how to ski in the mountains and go exploring in the desert, all within an hour or two of my home.
How easy is making friends?
East Los Angeles College has the students work together in group projects which made it easier for me to get to know new people. My new best friends I meet here in the United States were my classmates at ELAC. The college students are very nice and friendly and I learned how to be more confident in myself and make many new friends.
How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
In the United States you can work legally after your degree, for practical training. I am currently learning valuable work experience. After I finish my training, then I’ll come back to my country to apply the knowledge that I have learnt here in order to develop and improve my country infrastructure and economic growth.
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