Nhi Tran from Vietnam: Studying English at the Intensive English Center (IEC) at St. Cloud State University

Nhi Tran from Vietnam: Studying English at the Intensive English Center (IEC) at St. Cloud State University

Why did you decide to study in the USA?

I chose to study abroad in the U.S. because of the desire to have an opportunity to access the top education system here. The knowledge and maturity gained through the process of living and learning in America are always recognized and appreciated by many employers all over the world.

Why did you choose St. Cloud State University?

St. Cloud State University (SCSU) is located in a charming small town on the banks of the Mississippi River in Minnesota. A special feature of this place is the vast campus, combined with modern infrastructure and advanced equipment. Choosing the Intensive English Center (IEC) is my wisest decision.

What do you like best?

What I like best here is experiencing a new multicultural environment. First, various outside activities are planned and organized by my university. Secondly, I have opportunities to communicate with friends from all over the world. I am really happy and proud to be able to walk on my own feet, and do things I never thought I could do.

What do you miss most?

I miss most my mom's delicious cuisine, and my dad’s deep lessons. For me, family is always the biggest motivation to help me overcome all the difficulties of the present and the future.

How has this program helped you to handle future study at a U.S. university?

Attending IEC for nearly 6 months ago, I'm really surprised at the progress in my English. When I first came here, my English was not good. Now, I feel more open and I no longer have any difficulty in communicating. The school organizes and encourages students to participate in tutoring and students can meet the teachers directly.

What was your biggest surprise?

I was surprised that students in the U.S. are free to present their points of view, and the teachers do not deny them; rather, they welcome the spirit by giving extra points and with class discussions.

... your biggest disappointment?

SCSU does not make me feel disappointed; rather, it is a wonderful school beyond my expectations.

How have you handled:

... language differences?

When I first came to the U.S., it was really hard for me to get used to a new school and new friends. I found out that communcating and reading books, for me, are the quickest methods to overcome language hurdles. I tried to make friends with native speakers, and talked to them whenever I had time.

... finances?

Most of my school fees are paid by my family, so I intend to concentrate fully on my studies in order to receive a scholarship from the school.

... adjusting to a different educational system?

To be honest, the adaptation to the new educational system was quite easy. The Intensive English Center created lots of occasions for international students like me to adapt to the new environment as quickly as possible. I really love my teachers.

What are your activities?

The IEC often organizes various extracurricular activities on weekends. For example, we have gone canoeing on the Mississippi River, visited Como Zoo and gone to Mille Lacs Indian museum. Besides that, I have also attended unique cultural events of this state.

How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country? 

Encouraging creativity of students is probably my favorite part of the U.S. education system. The diplomatic skills, teamwork and high professional qualifications that I am learning are what companies and employers around the world are interested in. After graduation, I plan to continue to pursue postgraduate.

What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?

According to Oprah Winfrey, “The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” Becoming an international student is not easy because you will face so many difficulties in a new environment. But you should never give up your dreams and ambitions. And a life without challenges is not worth living. 

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