An interview with Ligia Maciel. Ligia has traveled from her home country of Brazil to study at HACC– Central Pennsylvania Community College. She is a senior, majoring in Hotel/Lodging Management.
Why did you decide to study in the U.S.A.?
The school education in the U.S.A. is considered excellent all over the world therefore, with a degree from here, I will have more job opportunities in Brazil.
Why did you choose this particular college?
First, I chose HACC because they offered the major I wanted. Second, because of the cost of tuition, which was affordable to me. I was also looking for a school around the east coast, because I think this is a great location to experience the U.S.A. HACC offered everything I was looking for.
What do you like best?
I love the school campus; it is absolutely beautiful. Also, the staff is very helpful, especially with the international students.
What do you miss most?
I miss my family and friends. Oh, and the food too!
What was your biggest surprise?
The education system is very different from my home country. So, I’d say, everything was a surprise to me.
...your biggest disappointment?
I didn’t have any disappointment.
How have you handled:
From the beginning, I created a spreadsheet on the computer. That way I didn’t have a problem when it came to make a budget plan for the following months.
...adjusting to a different educational system?
I tried my best to adjust to it. I paid close attention to what the professors said and what they wanted from the students. I studied hard, because there are so many quizzes and exams, and at the end of the semester all your grades count.
What are your activities?
I was a member of the International Students Awareness Club.
I live at a student apartment very close to school, where I’m a Resident Assistant. I help students out, either international or Americans, so they can have a smooth transition from their home country, or high school, to college.
How easy or difficult is making friends?
In my opinion, it all depends on you. If you don’t talk to anybody, it will be difficult. However, after you get to know them [Americans], they are friendly and think it’s awesome to have a friend from another country.
How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
I want to be a hotel manager and I think that having a degree from an American college, will contribute to my goal.
What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?
First, don’t be afraid. If you have the opportunity to come here, do so and enjoy every single moment as if it was your last. Don’t be scared to speak English; this is the only way you will learn the language.