Caio Santana de Sousa from Brazil is a senior majoring in Business Administration at Santa Barbara City College in California.
Why did you decide to study in the USA?
Because it would open my horizons to opportunities I would not have access to if I decided to stay in Brazil.
Why did you choose this particular college or university?
Well, Santa Barbara is one of the nicest cities in America, and probably the nicest in California. The weather is always great and the people are nice. Plus, Santa Barbara City College is on the top of the best community colleges in the nation. These were my main motivations.
What do you like best about your program or university?
I like that [faculty and staff] are always here to support. I have a lot of plans for my future and the staff has always been supportive. I truly feel like they want me to succeed.
What do you miss most about home?
I miss my family and Brazilian food, of course, haha.
What was your biggest surprise about U.S. life and education?
The level of commitment required. It really requires a lot of commitment for you to succeed in your classes.
... your biggest disappointment?
I always had a lot of plans for my future, and they required me to dedicate a lot of time to school. I’ve met a lot of students that didn’t take the classes seriously or were not committed to it.
How have you handled:
... language differences?
You just have to embrace it. At first, people would look at me and make weird faces while I was talking. It was quite embarrassing, but with time I got used to it and I naturally learned more every day. The only thing you have to do is to talk as much as you can. The more you talk, the faster you learn.
Well, this is a tough topic. It is very expensive to study in the USA, especially in California. You need to have good financial resources. Getting a job on campus helps a lot.
... adjusting to a different educational system?
The educational system is quite different. It’s all on you. I mean, if you don’t take care of your responsibilities as a student, nobody will do that for you. I made friends quickly and asked them for tips about succeeding in school. Asking for other students’ advice is always good.
How easy or difficult is making friends in the USA?
It’s very easy. Like, extremely easy. I feel like people think it is cool to have a Brazilian friend, haha, so it’s not hard to find some good friends. Plus, there’s so many international students in Santa Barbara that you’ll feel comfortable everywhere.
What are your career goals? How is your U.S. education relevant to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
I’m going to transfer to a four-year university next fall and pursue a bachelor’s degree in accounting. After that I want to pursue an MBA. Then, I will go back to Brazil where my degrees will be highly appreciated because they’re from U.S. schools. I’ll make lots of money and will always be very grateful for the opportunity that I had to come to the U.S. and get my education.
What is your advice to other students from your country who are considering a U.S. education?
You need to have plans and be willing to work hard for what you want. If you can do it, then you will have a wonderful time here in Santa Barbara.
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