Cruzkaya Barbosa from Venezuela is studying English and pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics at Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland.
Why did you decide to study in the USA?
I wanted to improve my level of English and be able to understand an entire college-level class for my future study. This country offers the master’s program that I have been looking for so long, Food Safety, unlike in my country.
Why did you choose Howard Community College?
I have relatives and friends living in this area, but many people also talked to me about the good reputation of Howard Community College and their English program. Once I got here I realized that there are students from all over the world who I identify with because we share the same interests. I like to meet people and make new friends!
What do you like best?
I love the diversity of the people here, as well as the quality of the teachers. I personally think they are well prepared, not only because it is their job, but because they are passionate about it.
What do you miss most?
The thing that I miss the most about my country, other than the food, is how warm the people are there. Americans tend to be really polite and welcoming, but they don’t show affection the same way we do.
How has this program helped you to handle future study at a U.S. university?
My English improved a lot in a year thanks to the English program, and the whole experience has enhanced my chances to get into my master’s program.
What was your biggest surprise?
I think the technology involved in the education process surprised me, like the high-tech equipment that the American teachers have available to help the students learn complicated subjects in an easier way.
How have you handled:
... language differences?
For me, it has been particularly hard because I’m not only studying in the college, but I also have an on-campus job, so I can say that every day is a challenge. It is important for me to communicate effectively during the classes and also to be able to help people in my place of work.
From my point of view, things here tend to be pretty expensive, so in my case, my relatives support me. But I do have to admit that in order to live here in United States, you have to be really conscious and organized with money.
... adjusting to a different educational system?
I knew from other people’s experiences that studying here isn’t easy. But when you are really committed to reach your goals, adjusting to a new system is only part of the process. What I do to be successful in this new system is push myself every day to be more organized with my time so I can study, work, and also enjoy my free time.
What are your activities?
I currently work in the Department of Student Life and that gives me a chance to volunteer for many events on campus and for the English Institute.
How easy or difficult was making friends?
It is really easy; people are really friendly, respectful, and welcoming.
How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
By doing my master’s degree in the United States I can not only improve my level of education and knowledge of the nutrition field, but I can also return to my country to teach others and have the opportunity for a better job.
What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?
For me, the United States was the best place to learn English, not only because it was cheaper than other countries, but because the teachers were well-qualified and the colleges and universities offered students an amazing environment.