Making the decision to move to a new country to study is an enormous decision and not one that is made without immense planning and consideration. I was filled with excitement for this new adventure ahead of me, but the reality of the situation didn't hit me until I had to say goodbye to my family at the airport. I was really moving to a different country all by myself. A thousand thoughts were rushing through my head. When will I see my little sister again? What if this isn't going to work out? Will I be able to take care of myself? But the question that was at the forefront of my mind was...
Did I make the right decision?
The answer is yes: I did make the right decision. It has only been three months, but I can already say that moving to and studying in the U.S. was the best choice I could have made. I’m currently pursuing my associate’s degree in Psychology and Criminal Justice. After I finish my two years at Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC), I’m planning to transfer to the University of Nevada in Reno to get my bachelor’s degree. So far I love it here, and I honestly think I would not have been as happy at a German university.
Often in Germany, professors place their grading focus on exams, while in the U.S., my experience has shown me that most professors use a mastery approach to learning by providing weekly quizzes or assignments that help build upon the material we are learning. By using this teaching method, students learn the material and have a chance to correct and improve before any big exams. This experience has helped me to better focus my studies and grasp the material in a meaningful way.
What I also find great is that in the U.S., many professors hand out a syllabus and require a specific textbook. In contrast, it is hard in Germany to keep up with the material because professors will usually start the first day of class with a lecture diving into the material with the expectation that students will be able to retain the content without having a book or syllabus to reference. Getting a college degree in Germany didn't sound like fun, and yes, of course, college isn't just about fun, but I believe that you need to have fun studying whatever it is you want if you want to be motivated to keep on doing it. It’s important to have a certain balance between your academic and personal life. I usually try to do my homework on campus so I can just focus on other things when I’m at home.
Studying at TMCC is so much fun!
Everyone I have met here so far is great. The people in Reno are very friendly, and my professors and the TMCC staff are outstanding. They show a lot of interest in your personal story and academic achievements and try to help you however they can. It honestly feels like TMCC students, faculty, and staff are a big family where everyone looks out for each other. If you have difficulties of any kind — personal, academic, or financial — TMCC will find a way to help you.
We also have a lot of clubs and organizations you can join to get to know the area and meet new people. I decided to join the International Club or I-Club at TMCC the second week of my first semester, and I love it! I also became its president, and even though it's a lot of responsibility, it's so much fun. We get to have fun events and meetings like Movie and Karaoke Night, or the International Prom. These events really help when you’re looking for friends and are trying to build strong relationships.
It’s a great place to live
TMCC is located in Reno, or “The Biggest Little City in the World,” which has so much to offer: Hiking trails through the Sierra Nevada Mountains, casinos, annual races and festivals like Burning Man, Hot August Nights Classic Car Show, Reno Balloon Races, Reno is Artown (a month-long fine arts festival showcasing local and national artists and performers), Northern Nevada Pride, and the Reno River Festival.
With the crystal clear Lake Tahoe, the old western town of Virginia City, and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribes' Reservation in a 50-mile radius, Reno is a great place to live. It is also close to bigger cities like Sacramento, San Francisco, and Las Vegas, making it very easy to find something to do or to get away for a fun weekend.
All in all, I can say that I'm glad that I chose to study here at TMCC. I have fantastic professors, my grades are excellent, the area is amazing, and I am thriving.
Kiara-Naseem Larkins is an international student from Germany, studying Psychology and Criminal Justice, and is planning to start a career in Forensic Psychology. Kiara loves to get to know new cultures, their foods, and languages, and enjoys traveling. She also plays the guitar and is always up to play basketball with her friends.
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