Carmen Olivero from Venezuela is a freshman studying English in the Intensive English Language Program and International Business at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Why did you decide to study in the USA?
I decided to study in the USA so I could learn more living in a country where people speak English.
Why did you choose Temple University?
I heard that Temple University’s Fox School of Business is one of the best business schools in Philadelphia, but knew I needed to learn the language better before I could attend. Enrolling in Temple’s Intensive English Language Program first helped me accomplish my goal.
What do you like best?
I like being surrounded by international students like myself. Also, Temple staff is very professional, kind and compassionate.
What do you miss most?
I miss my family and food the most.
How has this program helped you to handle future study at a U.S. university?
I’ve been studying at Temple for almost three years now. Taking Temple University English classes first greatly improved my English. The Intensive English Program classes also helped accustom me to university classes.
What was your biggest surprise?
I was surprised by the number of international students in the U.S. But the education system—classrooms, exams and group work—is similar to my country, so I wasn’t too surprised about the system.
... your biggest disappointment?
In my country I’m used to homemade food, so I don’t really like the amount of fast food you find here.
How have you handled:
... language differences?
At first it was very difficult because I didn’t handle the language well, but gradually I learned. That helped me to loosen up. Now I don’t feel ashamed when I speak English; I feel comfortable.
Thank God I’ve always had the financial support of my family. Because of my student visa I can’t work outside the university, but I’m looking for a job at the university so I can work and save some money.
... adjusting to a different educational system?
In my country the educational system is similar, the only thing that has been more difficult for me is the language. But every day my English gets better.
What are your activities?
Since I started studying at Temple, I have always liked participating in the activities. My favorites are ice skating, hiking and shopping at the malls. Also during the week, there are always meetings and activities led by students.
How easy or difficult was making friends?
Americans are very friendly to international students. It's also fun because I’ve had the opportunity to meet people from around the world.
How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
My career plans are connected to applying what I’ve learned about what being international is all about. After I gain more experience I would like to give my country much needed help.
What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?
This is a unique experience, and if you have the opportunity to come, take advantage of it.