Veronique Ornella Patchou from Cameroon already has a bachelor’s degree in physics from her home country, but came to study English at the English Institute at Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland.
Why did you decide to study in the USA?
I came to this country for political and social reasons. I believe that the USA is a safe place where I can study what I like.
Why did you choose Howard Community College?
The school is convenient to where I live. Advisors are available to provide the information I need to choose the right classes.
What do you like best?
The thing I like about studying here in America is the way teachers are nice and how everything has been structured to make students succeed.
What do you miss most?
I miss my family and friends.
How has this program helped you to handle future study at a U.S. university?
I have been studying here for one semester. My English has improved because I am able to talk to a native English speaker on the phone easily. This program has helped me because the classes that I have taken were mostly interactive classes; we did a lot of presentations, essay writing and reading which are essential for university.
What was your biggest surprise?
My biggest surprise was that here people are welcoming and also how students can always count on their teacher’s attention.
... your biggest disappointment?
The low temperature upon my arrival terrified me.
How have you handled:
... language differences?
It was not easy coming from a French-speaking country, but by practicing in school, I would say I am on a good track.
My family helped me.
... adjusting to a different educational system?
The American educational system wasn’t a problem for me because it is flexible.
What are your activities?
I was a member of the environmental club.
How easy or difficult was making friends?
The English Institute has helped us meet other students by organizing a lot of events so we could make some connections, but it is not easy to be friends with Americans when you don’t speak good English.
How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
I want to be a doctor. Achieving my goal in my country would have been a big challenge for me because of our system.
What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?
Choose the right college or university and you won’t be disappointed.