Chloe Pham from Vietnam is earning an AS degree in accounting at GWC in Huntington Beach.
Why did you decide to study in the USA?
My main goal is to become an accountant, establish my own business, and study abroad in the USA because I know that the U.S. is famous for business majors. Besides, studying in the USA can open up a world of career opportunities, as many employers value a degree from a U.S. college. Also, studying abroad in the U.S. can provide opportunities to build international networks and establish connections with people from all over the world, which can be valuable both personally and professionally.
Why did you choose your university/college?
Community colleges like Golden West College (GWC) are typically more affordable than four-year universities, making them a good option for international students like me who want to save money on tuition fees. Besides, GWC offers a variety of support services to help us succeed and they also have a reputation for providing a high-quality education with a diverse range of academic programs and experienced faculty.
Have you taken any classes outside your major that you’ve enjoyed?
I want to study data science as my major background; therefore, I really enjoy Survey of Computer Science and Information of Technology class. This class covers a broad range of topics, from programming languages to database systems, which can be both challenging and informative. Furthermore, this class provides a solid foundation in this field, which can be useful for me to study it as my background.
What were some struggles you faced and how did you handle it?
As an international student, I found myself facing a significant challenge during my first six months in America. I struggled to adjust to new culture and language, leaving me feeling isolated and homesick. However, I realized that I needed to take action to overcome the challenges and succeed in my studies.
I began seeking support from International Student Program office, which provided me with guidance on cultural adaption and language support. I also made friends with native people, which can help me improve my English skills. I joined a club to meet new people, which helped me feel more connected to campus life. Besides, I focused on myself. I always made sure to get enough rest, exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet. I also found that practicing my hobbies, such as playing instruments and listening to music, helped me feel more at home.
What is your favorite place on campus?
My all-time favorite place at GWC is the STEM Center, which provides plenty of space for students to study and work on group projects. They provide us lounges with comfortable seating, table, and chair, as well as the study rooms or meeting spaces.
What do you want to do after graduation?
My main goal is to become an accountant in Big Four firm to gain experiences and establish my own business.
What are some of your summer plans?
I plan to travel to some states such as Wisconsin, Maryland, and Georgia because I want to do
universities tour to choose the most suitable school to get bachelor’s degrees after graduating Golden West College.
Does your university/college organize any fun events you’ve attended or are looking forward to?
I love Lunar New Year celebration. Lunar New Year celebrations on campus provide an excellent opportunity for me to share my culture and traditions with others through food, music, dance performances, and other cultural activities. It also helps alleviate homesickness and provides a taste of home, even while studying abroad. Moreover, celebrating Lunar New Year on campus can be a valuable learning experience for non-Vietnamese students and community members, promoting cross-cultural understanding and diversity.
Have you traveled around the U.S.? What were some of your favorite places, or where would you like to go?
Big Bear Lake is a beautiful place to travel with a lot of offers. There are so many fun activities to do there, from skiing and snowboarding in the winter, and boating or paddle sports in the summer. The scenery is truly breathtaking, with the mountains and lake providing a stunning backdrop for outdoor adventures.
What is one of your favorite memories from your time as a student?
The funniest thing happened to me on campus was on Club Expo Day. I always wanted to have an MRE [Meal, Ready-to-Eat is a U.S. military food ration] because I know my dad really loves it. And then a military person in the Student Veteran Organization of our school invited me to do a competition: wear the military’s vest and do squats five times to get an MRE. It’s super heavy but I made it.
Describe your experience in three words.
Exciting, challenging, and transformative.
What would you tell students who are considering studying in the USA?
Networking is important. It is often true that who you know is just as important as what you know. I strongly believe that one should build strong relationships with fellow students, faculty, and staff on campus, so that I have resources to support me in both my education and career
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