The US is well-known for its excellent colleges and variety of majors and minors. For this very reason plenty of people from many different nationalities choose this country as their alma mater and some even end up making it their forever home. They see the US as a country with opportunities they did not have back at home. From their own experiences, international students have some advice if you are thinking of becoming one, too. To give you a glimpse of what it is like and how the US is perceived, I have asked three international students – my friend, my Twitter friend, and my brother – three questions:
1. Why did you choose the US to study?
2. How would you describe your experience as an international student?
3. What advice would you give to other international students or to someone who is thinking about becoming one?
María, from Mexico
When I asked María about her decision, she said she chose the US because it is one of the strongest countries when it comes to the career path she chose: acting. She is still enrolled in classes, and so far she would use four words to describe her experience: “overwhelming, unexpected, enriching, and frustrating.”
María’s advice to you: “I entered university through a program called Global without even being aware of it, which turned out to be a scam. I would recommend other international students to make sure they are applying directly to the university and not to an additional program.”
Maureen, From France
Maureen got her MBA here because she had always wanted to come to the US. After her eighteenth birthday in NYC, she knew she wanted to come back. Besides this, she wanted to perfect her English, discover another culture, and get out of her comfort zone. For that reason she became a student at the University of Lindenwood, and today she describes it as an incredible experience. It allowed her to meet people from different cultures and have a different studying experience from the Bachelor’s Degree she got in France. Because of this opportunity, she lives and works in Chicago making her American lifestyle dream come true.
Maureen’s advice to you is to “believe in yourself and follow your dreams because you can do it! Live the experience fully and you will not regret it.”
Mateo, from Argentina
Mateo grew up looking up to the work done in his industry in the US and wanting to be part of the film market in America. Because of this and because of the career opportunities that exist here far surpass the ones in South America, he just got his BS from Full Sail University. After graduating, he described his experience as incredibly positive and encouraging. He is thankful for the chance to learn from professionals in his field of interest and the opportunity to express himself through his studies.
Mateo’s advice to you would be “to take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves and not to compare their own experiences to anyone else’s.”
International students’ perceptions of the US may be different from the one Americans have. As students, they see it as a pool of opportunities. Opportunities they did not have at home and they would only have here. They see it as a country where their careers are valued and they can really succeed.
If you are thinking about studying in the US, I would say go for it and make the most out of that experience. If you are an American student, I would recommend befriending an international student and seeing your country through his/her eyes at least once.
Lara was born in Argentina on Christmas; raised there and in Mexico. She graduated university with a BA in Latin American Literature and then moved to America where she currently lives with her girlfriend and cat. She works at a daycare as an Infant Teacher and during her free time you’ll find her reading or watching several TV shows while drinking diet coke.