International student succeeds at DVC


DVC student Kin Na Cheong joined the International Student club a year and a half ago. She became president this semester and plans to make some positive changes in the club. (Pablo Caballero / The Inquirer)

Most DVC students take a few semesters of classes to transfer to a UC. Kin Na Cheong, also known as “Vivian”, crossed the Pacific Ocean to do so.

Cheong moved to Pleasant Hill from Macau, China right after high school to attend Diablo Valley College.

“At first, I did miss my family,” Cheong said. “I didn’t know anyone when I first came here and school didn’t start yet. When school started, I felt comfortable and excited. I still miss them, but my friends in the International Student club are my family.”

Her brother, who studied in Australia, inspired her to go abroad for her education. Unlike most students who experience culture shock when going to a different country, Cheong faced no real issue.

“Of course I considered America to be strange when I first got here,” Cheong said. “But it fascinated me. I wanted to learn about everything. I took it as a challenge.”

Cheong took no time in getting involved. She joined the International Student club her first semester three semesters ago. This semester, Cheong became the president of the International Student club.

“I feel very honored to hold this position,” Cheong said. “When someone holds a position, it means they are a representative. You want to do well.”

Cheong is hoping to make changes in the International Student club. She plans to make the club educational as well as entertaining.

In an email interview, Ligia Morcillo, the advisor for the International Student club, said, “Well, besides being a DVC student […]and the president of one of the most active […] clubs at DVC, [Vivian] also works at the International Education Center, […] an intensive English program across the street from DVC.”

She keeps herself busy by taking 13 units, working twelve hours a week at the IEC, getting ready to apply for colleges, and planning activities for her club.

Lee Tsung Hsun, who has known Cheong since spring semester, said Cheong has been doing a great job organizing the club so far.

“Kin Na has been really helpful,” Hsun said. “She’s approachable and assertive. Those are qualities you really need in a leader.”

Arianna Hayes, a member of the club, joined this semester and said she is enjoying it so far.

“Kin Na is very charismatic,” Hayes said. “She has a cute personality. I love her accent. I can tell she’s working very hard to make everyone feel comfortable.”

Cheong has tried to orient the club toward a more educational approach. She has set up volunteer applications and has set up workshops where students can learn how to write personal statements.

Her personal goal is to transfer to either UC Berkeley or an out-of-state school. She plans to major in political economics.

“I’ve wanted to study here since I was young,” Cheong said. “The UCs in California are famous.”

Wei Hsuan Huang, who is in his third semester at DVC, met Cheong during his first semester. He ended up joining the International Student club not long after.

“She’s quite the leader,” Huang said. “She’s very energetic, friendly, considerate, and organized.”

He said Cheong spends a lot of hours trying to make the club a success and helping other international students feel comfortable.

“We appreciate her as a leader,” Huang said.

Staff writer John Kesler contributed to this article.