Xiaoyang Zhang, from China, is studying Business Management, at Mesa Community College (MCC) in Mesa, Arizona. He plans to transfer to Arizona State University.
Why did you decide to study in the USA?
I think it’s good for me to study in a diverse culture and education system. I believe that studying abroad is a great opportunity to gain more experience and be open-minded. MCC offers a wonderful place to start, as I can finish the first two years of my bachelor’s degree, and then transfer to a University to complete my bachelor’s degree.
Why did you choose Mesa Community College?
It is difficult to enter a new country and study in a different culture. Mesa Community College is a great school for me to adjust myself and continue my education in the U.S. This school provides scholarships, good quantity small-size classes, and convenient student services. Also MCC has transfer partnership programs with many universities so it is easy to transfer to study for my bachelor’s degree.
What do you like best?
Mesa Community College is a well known college in the district and it provides enough resources for the students to interact with their professors and the community. The International Student Office has great experience with helping international students to be successful and the school offers on-campus jobs and enough scholarships to students.
What do you miss most?
I do miss my family members in China the most. I miss the love from them and the good memory when I was in China. Additionally, I miss the traditional Chinese food so much that I dream about it.
What was your biggest surprise?
I was surprised by the lifestyle here and the food. People love to travel by self-driving and don’t like to take long flights. Also they love to live in a quiet place. Moreover, the education system is completely different than the Chinese education system. It was amazing and surprising for me to learn new things.
How have you handled:
... language differences?
The host family program is a good way for me to improve my English speaking and listening, and also it could help the international students feel like they have a new home in the U.S. In addition, communicating with professors and people who are willing to help has helped me a lot.
It is good to live with a host family, and I also try to cook at home more than eat out. I’m also trying my best at school to meet a lot of people, and this has helped me to find a job on campus.
What are your activities?
Pacific Islander Club (APIC). I used to be the public relations for the International Student Association and the senator for APIC. It is fun to be involved in some clubs on campus and get to know more people here. Moreover, I like to travel in the states with my host family. It is very exciting and unique to enjoy the trip with someone who knows a lot about this country.
How easy or difficult is making friends?
It depends on what kind of friends you try to make and your English level. An outgoing person and good English speaker could easily make friends. Also the people from the same background and/or that speak the same language will be more welcoming.
How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
My career goal is to find the job I like and learn more from it. The U.S. education helps me to be open-minded and think outside of the box. It is a great experience for me to study here and to be able to learn from two different education systems.
What is your advice to other students?
First of all, the student has to be open-minded and understand the difference in this culture. Don’t be afraid to learn from new people and speak a different language with mistakes: practice does not make perfection, practice makes permanent. Second, get involved in more activities on/off campus, it could help students make more friends in the US. Third, keep up with the classes and don’t be lazy!