An interview with Romina Ruiz, from Mexico, who is studying English in the Intensive English Program at the University of San Francisco.
Why did you decide to enter a U.S summer intensive English program?
I always dreamed of studying outside of Mexico. I wanted to have a strong foundation in English to be able to communicate with people from around the world. English is also fundamental for my future career.
How did you choose your summer English program?
I decided to attend the University of San Francisco (USF) because my dad and grandfather studied here. They are very happy with their accomplishments at this school.
Also, I love that it is located in a beautiful city where there is so much to do. USF is only 20 minutes away from downtown and the beach—you can always find something to do nearby.
What did you like best?
What I like best about studying here is being able to learn how to express myself in English. I have also met people from all over the world and people with different cultures in my classes.
What did you miss most?
My family, friends, and of course Mexican food.
What was your biggest surprise?
The lifestyle here is very independent. You can succeed as long as you try your hardest.
... your biggest disappointment?
So far I haven’t had any disappointments.
How did you handle:
... language differences?
I try to carefully listen to my classmates from different countries. When I first got to USF it was hard for me to communicate with them, but now I feel that I can have a fluent conversation.
San Francisco can be a very expensive city so you need to plan ahead and be careful what you spend money on. You also need to do a little research to find fun activities off-campus that are free.
... adjusting to a different educational system?
The education system is different, but easy to understand. I just ask questions whenever I don’t understand something.
How did your English improve?
My English has improved a lot in these last months since I began the IEP [Intensive English Program] program. My vocabulary has expanded. Studying English has helped me in my reading as well.
What were your activities?
I spend a lot of time in the Koret Center, which is the gym of the university. Also, I go to downtown with classmates or friends. San Francisco has a lot of different activities so it is difficult for us to be bored.
How easy or difficult is making friends?
I think that making friends in the IEP program is easy. We are all new to the city and want to make friends.
How relevant was your U.S. summer English program to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
I want to major in marketing. Studying in the U.S. has helped me understand different points of view about marketing and sales. It is good to see how businesses run differently here than back home.
What is your advice to other students?
It is not the same studying English in your country with your friends as studying with people you don’t know. This creates a necessity of communication, and that is when your English really starts to develop and improve.