Studying abroad is an amazing experience that opens one’s mind. An international student will learn a lot of different things in a lot of diverse regards. However, an international student also must face different kinds of challenges. It is necessary to do well in the academic aspects, and also to become independent, to adjust to cultures, to organize one’s time, and, more importantly, to learn how to cook. I am still struggling with the last one. My name is Jefferson Phillips; I am an international student, and I’ll be sharing with you my experience of studying in the U.S. so far.
I am originally from Costa Rica and I am 19-years-old. I am studying Computer Science at Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC) in Reno, Nevada (the weather here is killing me).
When I graduated from high school, I decided to continue my education abroad in order to keep studying while I get to know the world. Hence, I started doing some research just to see how many options I had. I found several associations, both Costa Rican and international, that give financial support to students who want to study in the USA. One of those associations is CRUSA (Fundación Costa Rica - Estados Unidos para la Cooperación). It is a Costa Rican nonprofit organization which was looking for seven young people from all over the country who wanted to continue their higher education in the USA. I found this opportunity amazing, so I built my curriculum as perfectly as possible, I asked for recommendation letters, I gathered some personal info, and I applied. A couple of weeks later, the association announced the selected group of students. Guess what! I wasn’t there. I was so sad because I hadn’t been selected. I had nothing more to do than continue with my life; and my dream of studying abroad started vanishing with the time.
Some months later, I had a job in my country and I was ready to start studying in a university over there. One day just as any other, I received a call from an unknown number; and rarely, it made me really anxious before I even picked the phone up. They told me that they were calling from CRUSA and that I had been selected for the scholarship. I couldn’t believe it! They told me to go to their office so we could start the process. It seems that, due to some circumstances, they couldn’t select me the first time (I went through a weird combination of feelings in that moment).
I told my mom what had happened and she didn’t believe me (literally, I had to insist that I was telling the truth). After some paperwork, I was ready to go to the U.S. I chose TMCC as my higher education institution because of the major that I wanted to pursue.
Nowadays, I’m about to start my second semester. It has been astonishing here, way better than I thought. I have learned a lot and I have lived a lot of new experiences that I will be sharing with you in the future blogs.
In simple words, what I want to convey in this first instance is that you should never lose hope. If you want to study abroad, there are a lot of ways to do it; it is an amazing experience that will change the way you see the world. Just look at me, I had almost forgotten my dream and I still ended up here. And if I could make it, you’ll be able to do it too.
Jefferson Phillips from Costa Rica is studying computer science at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada.