International student recommends studying abroad

Soohyun Kim, Staff Member

More than 30 Diablo Valley College local students have applied to the study abroad program every year of spring and fall semester in order to learn a foreign language and experience different cultures. If you are considering becoming one of them, as an international student, I encourage you to do it.

Traveling makes you feel adventurous and can challenge you to be independent from your family and friends.

I have studied in America since I was 16, without being with my family. I used to stay with several host families who took care of me as a daughter.

At first I was scared with a new and potentially awkward environment. I struggled with homesickness for several weeks. However, when I made American friends during classes, I overcame my language barrier and adapted to America’s pop music.

As time went by I became more confident, getting along with strangers, and more mature as my heart grew stronger.

Studying abroad is essential in learning languages in a short period of time. Therefore, if students want to learn a language, I would suggest they visit the country and experience its culture.

For example, Gina Yoo, 20, a Korean international student currently enrolled in her third semester at DVC, delightfully shared her experience learning Chinese and English overseas.

“I have been studying Chinese since I was in elementary school. However, when I looked back at all the time I spent learning Chinese, the trip in China was the most unforgettable event, and it motivated me to write and speak Chinese,” said Yoo, “I understand studying abroad can be very expensive to afford. Yet I never regret  having a special experience interacting with Chinese people.”

Students have to pay approximately $6,000 to $7,000 including airplane tickets, housing, and necessities. Some students might feel discouraged to join into program due to high prices even though they are eager to visit.

The DVC study abroad program uses two major scholarships – AIFS scholarships and the Benjamin A. Gilman International scholarships – that cover some expenses. However, if students want to seek out more scholarship opportunities in DVC, I recommend they visit the Scholarship or Financial Aid offices to get more information. How much aid students receive mostly depends on their financial situation. If you are eager to visit, do it before transferring a four-year school.

My main wish is that the study abroad program would be expanded past European countries, so students who could experience Asian cultures. In the past, there haven’t been enough DVC students interested in an Asian destination for the program to be offered there. I think this is too bad. With global markets increasing and Chinese becoming one of the most popular second languages, a semester in Asia could be beneficial to your job career.