Peter Gong, from China, took a certificate program in Marketing at Portland Community College (PCC) in Portland, Oregon

Peter Gong, from China, took a certificate program in Marketing at Portland Community College (PCC) in Portland, Oregon

September 28th, 2021

Why did you decide to study in the USA?

For three reasons: first, I wanted to learn some business skills to help myself to build a strong career in retail industry. Second, I wanted to put myself into a diverse environment to learn how to work with people from different cultures. Third, I wanted to improve my English.

Why did you choose PCC?

I chose PCC because it is located in my favorite American city: Portland, Oregon. Portland is a beautiful city, and you can easily reach the coast, forests, and snow-capped mountains from downtown Portland. In addition, PCC provides flexible course options, so you can choose the courses you want to take as long as they are related to your major.    

What did you like best about your program?

The best thing I liked about my program was that we had a lot of opportunities to do presentations in classes, and this helped me to improve my ability of public speaking.    

What did you miss most about home?

I missed my family, and especially my grandma because she took care of me when I was a kid so my parents could work.

What was your biggest surprise about US life and education?

The biggest surprise was that I became a better me by taking classes in the US. For example, I developed a new way of thinking, I became more confident, I made new friends from different countries, and I experienced a lot of new things.

What was your biggest disappointment?

My biggest disappointment was Donald Trump, because he was the President of the US during my life in the US, and he did not try to create a comfortable and safe environment for people.

How did you handle:

… language differences?

I really enjoyed the process of learning a new language, and I highly recommend the ESOL classes at PCC because there are many excellent English instructors who not only can help international students to improve their English, but they can also help students to learn American culture making it easier for students to adapt to life in America more quickly.

… finances?

Handling your finances is an issue for most international students. I did not have any income in the first six months after I arrived in Portland, so I had to use my savings for tuition and rental fees. After that, I found several jobs on campus, and such jobs supported me to finish my program at PCC.

… adjusting to a different educational system? 

You have to open your mind and accept the local culture if you want to take classes and succeed in a different educational system. Make sure you love that culture and make yourself well prepared before you decide to study abroad - that’s really important!

What were your activities? 

I hosted an international club and organized events every term when I was taking classes at PCC. That was a part of my job, and it helped me to develop my project management and communication skills. I also participated in some clubs or events from other departments on campus. I like sports, and I played basketball with students from different countries. Besides, I took part in several volunteer events in Portland.

How easy or difficult was making friends in the USA?

I think it’s the same thing as in China. For example, when I was playing basketball, I could make friends quickly, and also when I found people who had the same hobbies as mine. So, wherever you are, just show your personality, and then you will make new friends.  

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

My goal is to build a strong career in the fashion retail industry. I earned a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design before I came to America, and now I have a certificate of Marketing from PCC, and I improved my international insights through studying in the US. Because of that, I have received an offer from an American fashion company for their China office, so I really appreciate the experience of studying in the US.

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

My advice is to not only focus on the things that you are familiar with, but you should also try new things even if you find them difficult. After overcoming the obstacles, you will become a better person.

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