From Sweden to California to live the dream of studying in the USA.
Johanna Davidsson from Sweden is a sophomore majoring in business administration and economics at Santa Barbara City College.
Why did you decide to study in the USA?
Since I was 14 years old, I have dreamt of studying in the USA. I wanted to experience the American college life in one of California's most beautiful cities. And here I am in Santa Barbara 8 years later.
Why did you choose this particular college or university?
I chose to go to Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) because it is one of the top community colleges in the U.S. It has an amazing location just steps from the beach, with a wonderful view from campus overlooking the ocean. I have heard about many other Swedish students who have been going to SBCC before, and they loved it, so I thought I would probably love it too.
What do you like best about your program or university?
What I like the best about the business administration program is that it is broad and it gives me knowledge that I get to use in many different fields when it comes to business.
What do you miss most about home?
There is actually not much that I miss from home, except my friends and my family. But some days there is food that I miss from Sweden that American food can’t beat.
What was your biggest surprise about U.S. life and education?
I was very surprised about how easy it was to learn the American grading system. Since I grew up in Sweden, I was used to the Swedish grading system, and I was a bit worried that it was going to be hard to understand the American, but it wasn’t.
... your biggest disappointment?
My biggest disappointment was that I had to take classes in general education here, such as biology and physics as examples. In Sweden, we already took those classes when we were in middle school and high school, so I am already familiar with the material we are learning. My friends in Sweden who are going to college think it is strange that I have to take those classes since they only have to take classes related to their major, which I wish I only had to do as well.
How have you handled:
... language differences?
I would say that it was more difficult in the beginning to express myself the way I was used to in Swedish. Even though I knew English and understood it very well before I moved here, it was challenging at times. But now I am more comfortable with the language, and people that I have met get surprised when I tell them I come from Sweden because they think that I don’t have a Swedish accent when I speak.
I knew before I moved to the U.S. that it was going to be hard financially. I am happy that I got grants and loans for my studies from the Swedish Board of Student Finance (CSN), and I got to work on campus after my first semester, which has helped me. But it has still been difficult since rent in California is very expensive. So I have to think one step ahead, make a budget, and not spend money on unnecessary things.
... adjusting to a different educational system?
Adjusting to a different educational system has not been as hard as I thought it would be. I think it has been very clear since day one how to earn your grades and how to pass the class. And it might differ a bit depending on what professor you have, but at the beginning of each semester, each professor will tell you about the grading criteria and what type of assignments you have to do, how many exams you will have, and the weight each of them has.
What are your activities?
I am an ambassador at SBCC for the events committee. We create fun events for students to participate in. We work to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for students and to promote diversity on campus.
How easy or difficult is making friends in the USA?
I thought it was easy to make new friends. I recommend living somewhere where other students live because you are more likely to get to know your neighbors and make friends with them. When you are trying to make new friends, you have to be open and friendly to other people, because you can’t expect people to come to you first. You can join a club or a sports team to make friends with common interests. You can also use social media to find new friends. I have reached out to people on Instagram who I know go to SBCC and live nearby, and most people want to make new friends too, so it is not weird to ask people if they would like to meet sometime.
What are your career goals? How is your U.S. education relevant to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
A career goal I have is to one day start my own business that will expand internationally. My U.S. education gives me more knowledge about business from an American perspective, improved English skills, and the opportunity to stay and work for a year on my OPT, which will help me gain more experience for the day I move back to Sweden and start my own business.
What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?
If you are considering moving to the U.S. to study, I would say that you should just go for it. It might be scary, but getting out of your comfort zone will make you grow as an individual. And if you don’t like it, you can just quit and go back home. It’s just as simple as that! You don’t want to miss out on an opportunity that can be the best time of your life.
Lihat Sekolah-sekolah Ini
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