One of the few things I knew when I decided where to study was that I wanted to combine the experience of going to college with the experience of exploring a new place. As an aspiring engineer, I ended up applying to several schools in the US, knowing that the programs and opportunities to study engineering were some of the best available here.
How did you choose your intensive English program?
When I found out University of Mississippi (or Ole Miss) For the first time, I knew almost nothing about it. However, as I continued to think about coming here, I discovered that the small college town and Southern culture made this place one of the best college environments in the United States. Furthermore, the people I contacted to make my decision were more than willing to assist me and help me find programs and scholarships that made my experience at Ole Miss the best it could be.
What is your favorite thing about studying here?
Certainly people. There’s nothing scarier than moving thousands of miles from home, and yet I’m so happy to find myself in Oxford, Mississippi. From my first day, people were friendly and caring. The great diversity on campus has allowed me to form strong friendships with people from diverse backgrounds in the United States and abroad.
What do you miss most about home?
No matter how comfortable I feel here, there will always be two things I miss about Mexico. My family and my food. Staying in touch with my family today is not difficult. After a while, we got used to calling and communicating with each other on a fairly regular basis. However, losing food is different. For me, this is the most common reminder that I am in a different place. Although it is sometimes sad not being able to eat or do what you are used to in Mexico, sometimes it is a good reminder that the world is full of many other experiences than the ones we know.
How long have you been studying here? How did your English improve? How did this program help you manage your future studies at an American university?
Now I study for a full year Ole Miss . My English has improved greatly. Not only do I feel like my vocabulary and use of language has improved, but more importantly I feel like my self-confidence has improved too. Compared to where I am here, I no longer spend a lot of time wondering whether what I’m saying is true or not. I feel most comfortable interacting in situations ranging from informal conversations to academic presentations or professional events.
What has been the biggest surprise for you about living and teaching in the United States?
University professors are mostly very nice people. The movies I’ve seen have portrayed them as mean and tough, but the reality is much different. They are everyday people who are willing to make meaningful connections that help students learn. However, as in any other social environment, you will find teachers with closed and cold personalities, but this does not make them less friendly and open teachers.
What is your biggest disappointment?
I think my biggest disappointment after living and studying in the United States was that on some occasions I was too afraid to interact with others. My experience has changed significantly since I started interacting with more people here. Openness to different cultures comes not only from our awareness of them, but also from our ability to reveal ourselves to others, meet them and learn from them.
How did you deal with language differences?
Many times, I’m willing to admit, I found myself in really awkward situations where what I said in the end wasn’t what I meant at all. However, most of the time I can laugh, explain the situation, and rephrase what I’m saying. So far, these situations end up just being funny mistakes because most people usually get it and laugh with me in the end.
How did you manage your money?
Going to college in the United States is already an expensive experience, even for people here. I was lucky enough to find… The university offers a wide range of scholarships and awards for which international students are eligible. Moreover, it is very common for me to have a part-time student job on campus, which I used to pay for some of my needs and desires.
What does it look like to adapt to a different educational system?
No matter what it may look or feel like, as a first-year student, you quickly realize that everyone is experiencing similar changes. Most people will be as lost as you, and it’s very easy to find people to help you through these new experiences. For most students, college life and classes are very different from what they are used to, but adjusting to this new lifestyle takes more than a little effort and patience.
What are your activities?
Since arriving here, I have been looking for places and projects to get involved with. Currently, I am part of Center of Manufacturing Excellence Program Which helped me improve my professional skills while learning business administration, accounting and engineering in the manufacturing sector.
I am currently participating in the program not only as a student but also as an ambassador and advisory board member. I am also a member of other clubs such as the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and Future Defense Professionals. The facilities provided by the university also allowed me to enjoy activities such as going to the gym, training for a marathon with friends, or rock climbing from time to time.
Is it easy or difficult to make friends in the United States?
It doesn’t take much to make friends. Even without trying to establish new relationships, people are friendly enough to facilitate friendship building, provided one is open to doing so. Personally, I’ve found sharing to be the best way to find and spend time with people who share the same interests and tastes as me.
What are your career goals? How relevant is your education in the United States to your personal goals and the needs of your country?
As an engineering student majoring in manufacturing and interested in aviation, studying in the US gave me access to opportunities directly related to what I want to do. Being able to participate in conferences, internships, and events geared toward what I aspire to work on has allowed me to grow professionally. I have been able to build a strong network with people involved in the industry, as well as develop a better understanding of the job opportunities available and how they match my expectations.
What advice would you give to other students from your country who are thinking about studying English in the United States?
Don’t be intimidated by the idea of moving to another country to study. Obstacles and obstacles exist, but in the end there is little reason to fear them. The amount of people and resources that exist to enhance our experience as international students is enormous in the most positive way. Going to study in the US has been one of the biggest and best adventures of my life so far.