Getting an associate’s degree in the Medical Laboratory Technician Program
Nghi Bui from Vietnam is currently studying for an associate’s degree in the Medical Laboratory Technician Program at Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC).
Why did you decide to study in the USA?
First and foremost, I want to improve my English level. Besides getting a valuable degree, I want to experience life in the U.S. as well. Living, studying, and working in a completely different environment where the primary language is not Vietnamese is super challenging but equally is an enjoyable challenge.
Why did you choose this college or university?
I chose BHCC because it provides a wide range of academic programs according to the students' aspirations, especially, BHCC does offer the major which I want to pursue. BHCC is a school that is quite famous for having a large and diverse number of international students from many countries, so I believe the college is experienced with the procedures relating to international students. Besides, the college also offers many internships and on-campus job opportunities so that students can learn and gain experience at the same time. Last but not least, the school's tuition fees for international students are quite affordable, allowing students to focus on their studies without worrying too much about money.
What do you like best about your program or university?
I got to know the Medical Laboratory Technician Program when I was experimenting with chemicals in a biology class once, and my teacher talked about it. While doing the assignment, I realized that doctors would not be able to make an accurate diagnosis without the test results of the patient's fluid from the laboratory technicians. Although they do not have direct contact with patients, technicians play an important role, and not many people recognize this importance. Suddenly I thought, “I want to be that mysterious person.” Although I will be, in the future, the person working “behind the scenes,” I can contribute great support for doctors and nurses in saving patients’ lives. That's why I love and want to become a medical laboratory technician.
What do you miss most about home?
I miss my family; I miss the meals my mother cooks. I miss the moment of eating with my family. We watched TV and laughed together. I wish that I had a “home” to return to, to run to whenever I feel tired. Perhaps this is one of the biggest challenges that almost every international student faces.
What was your biggest surprise about U.S. life and education?
What amazes me most about education in America is that students are allowed to contribute their own thoughts, even if it is contrary to the opinions of the teachers. I am a shy person, so when I started studying in the U.S, I was quite surprised when my classmates freely expressed their views, and everyone discussed them together politely and respectfully. In addition, teachers are willing to listen to those views. Instead of disproving, teachers analyze their own thoughts, and from there, each person makes their own decision on which is correct. Because of this culture, I’m gradually becoming more confident and willing to open up and share my opinions.
... your biggest disappointment?
The policy of the United States does not allow international students to have internships for more than 1 year, except for STEM fields. To me, a 1-year internship is quite short period of time. Besides, the fact that students who are studying are not allowed to work off campus is also a big minus point.
How have you handled: language differences?
Whenever I don't understand or don't fully understand the other person's point, I will kindly ask them to repeat to explain so that I can understand and learn new vocabulary. When at the college, I usually bring a small notebook to record the new words that I learn during the day.
My family’s fund is the main source of financial support during my study in the U.S. Besides, I work part-time on campus to support daily expenses.
... adjusting to a different educational system?
Each education system has its own singularities. To adapt quickly, I often exchange questions with teachers or classmates. BHCC also has helping offices for students who are not proficient in the use of electronic devices associated with the course. In addition, BHCC also has a tutoring center, where there are students and tutors who are good at a certain subject or major to help other students. Whenever I have difficulty in solving an assignment, besides asking the teacher, I can ask for help there. And the best thing is this service is completely free for all students at the college.
What are your activities?
Boston is a city with many famous places. Unfortunately, I started enrolling in Boston at the time of the severe COVID-19 outbreak, so I didn't have the opportunity to participate in many of the school's extra-curricular activities. However, the college organizes many online meetings so that students can get acquainted and talk. I've been to a few meetings and had a lot of interesting moments. I am very excited that the school is gradually reopening, and I am looking forward to the upcoming programs that the school will host.
How easy or difficult is making friends in the USA?
Initially, being friendly in the U.S. will be a bit challenging because the level of English as well as the living environment is quite new. In my experience, Americans are quite open, but we need to be confident and inclusive. Americans will not laugh at us because of our little English or different pronunciations. On the contrary, they are very polite and enthusiastic to help us progress.
What are your career goals? How is your U.S. education relevant to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
My goal is to become a medical laboratory technician, pass the certification exam, and start earning experience through the internship process. In my opinion, this is one of the most essential majors that any country needs, including Vietnam. Thanks to test results from medical department technicians, doctors and nurses will easily come up with more accurate diagnoses and treatments. That's why I chose to study this.
What is your advice to other students from your country who are considering a U.S. education?
If you are passionate about English and want to expand your knowledge, do not hesitate. Opportunities only come to us once, seize them when you can. Living in another country will be difficult, but you will grow up and learn more meaningful things. Besides, getting a diploma from a college based in the U.S. is really, really valuable, and it will definitely be a useful tool to support your future.
Read our latest news
Start your U.S. adventure with Study in the USA
Learn About U.S. education financing, housing, and more
Study-USA HealthCare™ offers medical coverage to international students for as low as $1.03 USD per day. Get your free quote and enroll today!
MPOWER Financing is the top-rated lender offering international student loans without cosigners, collateral, or credit history for global citizens, PLUS international student scholarships & career coaching! Fully online application, 96% customer...
BetterHelp is the largest online counseling platform worldwide. We change the way people get help with facing life's challenges by providing convenient, discreet and affordable access to a licensed therapist. Promo code 10% off "susa"
StudyUSA continues to help me because I am exposed to varying perspectives and gain motivation from people all across the globe by reading their stories.
Study in the USA helped me to discover myself. I was able to realize my dream of being an excellent student and make my parents proud. I was also able to start a leadership club at my college.
Study in USA, which is the most reliable organization on the Internet i have found. It has helped me to choose my suitable school, and give me more information about study in US for me to prepare before going. Thank you very much!
Learn about American culture and education direct from our experts at Study in the USA. Read more