From Vietnam to Chemeketa Community College, USA

Growing up as a curious boy, science has always been my favorite subject. Early on, I watched a video on new technology and realized that we did not have things like that in Vietnam. So my father decided to send me overseas for college, to the United States. The U.S.A is famous for its innovation in the science and technology fields. I am now an international student at Chemeketa Community College, in Salem, Oregon. I am studying Pre-Engineering and planning to transfer to a 4 year university afterward to finish my bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering.

When I first got to U.S.A, I was really amazed by the roads, the architecture and even the food. But culture shock is still inevitable, I started to miss home and food a lot. I also did not get to hear Vietnamese very often but I decided to focus on my new opportunities and got connected on campus. I quickly discovered that by reaching out to other students, I felt less lonely and learned a lot faster about the resources available to me in the area.  At Chemeketa I do not feel like I am an outsider, and we even have several places where I can get Vietnamese food close to school.

Visiting the International Programs Office also helped me a lot. College is not all about studying, but also about student engagement. We have many clubs and active organizations that host different events year round. At Chemeketa I have gone on white water rafting trips, hiking, video game parties, dancing… Not only that, we also give back to the community through different volunteer opportunities. There is so much to do here! Through the activities I can also get to meet many new people.

Living in Salem, Oregon is very inexpensive and peaceful. The standard cost of living in Salem is more affordable than California or Washington State.  This helps my family save more money on my education expenses. I also work on campus at Chemeketa which is an option for International students. This also helps me a lot in paying for some of my living costs. I love my experience at Chemeketa Community College and I hope to see more International students take advantage of this great opportunity!

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