Eleven (Kuan-Hung) Liu from Taiwan graduated from Highline Community College’s A.A. Transfer Program. He is now a university senior, studying Communications, Economics, and Political Science.
Why did you decide to study in America?
To challenge my world-view by being in a multicultural environment.
Why did you choose this college?
I was interested in travel and tourism and Highline Community College’s (HCC) program has a well-renowned reputation. Though I didn’t end up sticking with the major, I have found HCC was an extremely wise choice. I wouldn’t trade my experience at HCC for anything in the world.
What do you like?
The HCC support regarding transfer to university is tremendous. There’s an Honor Program, which gives direct assistance to students who want to transfer to university. They helped us on writing an effective personal statement, resume, cover letter and with college research.
What do you miss most about home?
Food. Though there’s a good diversity of food available in the greater Seattle area, but some authentic Taiwanese food would be awesome to add to my study abroad experience to make it perfect.
What was your biggest surprise?
Freedom. Being in the United States, I’ve definitely received a high level of freedom that I’ve never been able to obtain in life. In college, I was given a total ownership and selection of classes, majors, and career paths in the States. Though having freedom is good, making decisions becomes harder.
How did you handle: ... Language differences?
Breaking out from my comfort zone helped me a lot. Trying one thing that you are afraid of each day helps. You will find yourself a lot more confident, experienced in life and in the long run, speak a way more fluent English.
I used to work at school and received some scholarship from HCC to help out a little of the finance, but 80% of my finances are still from my family.
... Adjusting to a different educational system?
The key of this one is to ASK! In many cultures, asking is implicitly prohibited, since asking may make you look dumb. However, in the U.S., especially in college where everything is very self-oriented, refusing to reach out and get access to resources may cause some BIG consequences. Contacting advisors, counselors, professor and mentors is the key to success in the U.S. education system.
What were your activities?
There’s an International Student Programs that is working constantly to support the international student community at HCC. Examples of a big event would be the Winter Dance, Globalfest, and the Halloween Dance party. An example of a small event, is the over night trip to the German-themed town of Leavenworth or a Super Bowl party.
How easy or difficult is making friends?
Making friends in HCC is extremely easy. Once you get to know a person from one group, you will soon know everyone in the HCC community. HCC also provides so many activities that allow students to socialize and mingle with each other. Many students find their years studying at HCC the best experience of the entire college experience, even after they finish their bachelor’s degree somewhere else.
How relevant was your U.S. program to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
My career goal is to set up a platform for Taiwanese young students to practice civil engagement. I am inspired to complete such a big project in my country and it is because of the service learning opportunities that the U.S. has provided to its students. Through HCC, I have participated in various service learning opportunities, from visiting nursing home, earth-restoration and elementary school teaching.
What is your advice to other students?
Many students come to the U.S. just to learn English. What you will gain in this land will definitely be more than constructing sentences correctly or pronouncing words more like Americans. I urge students to take a high level of initiative and reach out to the community, challenge their world-view by stepping out from their comfort zone, and breakdown the box that their original culture has framed them. The U.S. is definitely one of the greatest places to study abroad and you will surprise yourself every other second by your achievement.