International students seek American Dream

Photo by Megan Kimble/Los Angeles Times/MCT
Photo by Megan Kimble/Los Angeles Times/MCT

By Keith Burbank

Every international student has a different dream when they come from abroad to study in the United States. For each student every dream is different.

While many Americans dream of buying a home and raising a family, international students may have different dreams for their time in America, Dean of International Education Minh-Hoa Ta said.

For three students, no matter what they do, they are optimistic they can reach their goals.

“I believe it’s possible,” international student Michi Hosokawa said.

She is in her fifth semester at City College studying English so she can work as a nurse in California. She has 14 years of nursing experience in Japan.

Charlie Schock, a student from Luxembourg studying business at City College, wants to be an entrepreneur.

He plans to transfer to San Francisco State University or UC Berkeley for a bachelor’s degree in a business-related field.

Kha Pham, a student from Vietnam, dreams of working for a company in Silicon Valley after earning a bachelor’s degree in engineering from San Francisco State University.

Of course, all three face challenges.

“In the beginning, it was the language,” Schock said. “I hadn’t had any English classes for a year.”

For the past two semesters he has been taking classes in the intensive English program at City College.

Like Schock, language has been the challenge for Hosokawa. She has been studying English for the past two and a half years.

If she passes the debate class she is taking currently, she can get a certification in speech communication.

Language has been the biggest challenge for Pham. It’s not that he doesn’t know how to speak or read, it’s that people have a difficult time understanding him, Pham said.

Contrary to what some might think, Ta said some international students want to return home after they study in the U.S.

Students that come from countries with strong economies have less reason to stay in the United States than students from countries with weaker, unstable economies.

Ta said some families expect their children to come home after studying in the U.S., because the family has invested so much to send them to school.

But Hosokawa and Pham seem set on staying, Hosokawa because of her fiance and Pham because he wants to work in Silicon Valley.

Schock is open to other places besides America, but he’s also attracted to Silicon Valley. Schock called Palo Alto the “principle tech city in the world.”

All three are making progress toward their goals and all three appear to be happy.

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