I was born in Bogotá, Colombia in a large and beautiful city located in South America. I have a BA in Communications and Journalism from my hometown, but I always wanted to study a degree in the video production field. As a result, I decided to start an AA in Media Communications with an emphasis in Digital Video Production at Laney. I recently graduated with high honors and had the wonderful opportunity to do an internship at KTVU FOX news Channel 2. I am proud of being a latin woman who has inspired other people to come back to school. I thought English would be a big barrier for my journey at school but I was wrong. I have accomplished a lot of things as professional and I still working hard to do more.
My message to the new international students at Peralta Colleges is to be strong in this new culture, in this journey. And don't let anyone stop your dreams. I am still dreaming, working hard for my future projects and I believe that dreams can come true if you believe in yourself and your capacities.
In Vietnam, I have to choose my major right after finishing high school; and if I want to change to another major in another university, I have to start all over again. However, studying in a community college in the U.S. gives me more time and chances to think about what I want to do. I can decide on my major when I’m ready; and if I change my mind, there are still some general units that are accepted for every major and I just need to take additional classes to fulfill the requirements to transfer to a 4-year university.
- So what does our student life look like?
Taciana Mello just completed a summer at UC Berkeley through the Pathways to 4-Year Universities program between UC Berkeley and the Peralta Community College District. She said, "It was great - I did one class, Project Management, at Haas School of Business, during the first period of summer classes. This specific class got together a large number of international students, which made it even more interesting. I had the chance to take advantage of UC Berkeley's amazing resources - labs, libraries - and enjoyed it immensely. I hope to repeat the experience next summer. I strongly recommend it to all international students at PCCD."
"The Peralta Colleges helped me fulfill my dream of going to college. I first attended Laney College and completed the prerequisites before applying to Merritt College’s Nursing Program.
"Also, Ms. Angela Khoo, at the international office, really helped me with choosing the right classes for learning English and preparing for the Nursing Program. It really helped that she speaks Cantonese and the staff speaks different languages."
"When I first came to the United States, I really wanted to improve my English skills. At the time I never thought I would attend College of Alameda (COA) and transfer to San Francisco State University (SFSU). I learned about COA while studying at EF Santa Barbara and I completed an AA in Psychology before transferring.
"I chose COA because I wanted to try something different. I was surprised how diverse the Bay Area is and how friendly people are here. While I was a student at COA, I enjoyed studying and talking with my friends at Starbucks or getting lunch in Oakland's Chinatown. When I transferred to SFSU, I didn't really feel that there was a big jump in the education. In fact, it was pretty smooth.
"After graduating from SFSU, I plan on applying to medical school for Psychiatric Technician. I am glad that I chose a community college because it has greater diversity and I had extra time to improve my English as well."
"I transferred from Berkeley City College (BCC) to UC Berkeley after two years and ma studying Art History. I always wanted to attend UC Berkeley and knew that I couldn't go straight there. After improving my English at English Language School (ELS) New York, my advisor told me about the community college system and the opportunity to transfer to UC Berkeley.
"I chose BCC because of its proximity to UC Berkeley, but I had no idea what to expect. It was really interesting to see so many types of people going to school together. My professors pushed us to think on our own and not recite and we had many in-class debates. After I left BCC, I felt prepared and I knew what to expect at UC Berkeley.
"I was also admitted to Columbia University and UCLA, but Berkeley is a friendlier area, and I really wanted to support public education. I am glad I chose UC Berkeley because of the opportunities that I have to build close relationships with professors and discuss ideas. After graduating, I am planning on earning a PhD in Western European Art History and be a researcher or professor."
“I was attracted to study in the United States because of the high standard of its public community college and university system. Through research, I knew that I wanted to get a Textile and Clothing degree at UC Davis to pursue my career in the textile industry, and I also learned that the Peralta Colleges have a special partnership with the University of California system and a high transfer rate to UC Davis. By taking an Associate Degree in Apparel Design and Merchandising at Peralta Colleges I was able to save a lot of money by studying at a community college for two years, and then successfully transferred to the university of my choice. When I finish my degree at UC Davis, I want to be a textile developer and work in a company with various nationalities, therefore, my U.S. education is crucial to my career.
Whilst studying at the Peralta Colleges I enjoyed the multi-cultural climate of San Francisco, I would usually go out with my international friends, like my roommate from Korea and some other American friends I got to know through my life in the U.S., and we went to movies, dinner, or sightseeing."
“I chose to study at the Peralta Colleges after I learned that they offered a wide range of UC-transferable classes, which would satisfy the lower division requirements for many majors in the UC system for a fraction of the cost. I started at Laney College in the summer of 2004 and transferred to UC Berkeley for fall 2006. I graduated from UC Berkeley in May 2008 with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (IEOR) and a minor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences (EECS) with honor. I now work for an investment banking firm in San Francisco as a software engineer/web developer.
My time at Laney College prepared me not only academically but also culturally for the transition to UC Berkeley. The staff at the Office of International and Distance Education were friendly and very helpful. They were especially valuable in providing assistance to me when I was preparing my application for the off-campus work authorization.”
"I came to the U.S. to get a more global experience and see something different. At Merritt College, my academic advisor provided me with great support and everyone on campus, from the Vice President to faculty and staff, were always willing to listen. I got involved on campus and was a part of the African Student Association.
"Since I had taken a couple years off between high school and college, it was difficult to adjust - and I was in a new country. In high school, we had to polish our shoes, wear a tie and blazer, and say good morning to our teachers every day. Luckily, I knew English and I remained focused. There are thousands of kids in Zimbabwe that would love to have this opportunity and I have to take advantage of it.
"After completing my coursework at Merritt, I chose to transfer to Morehouse College, which is one of the best historically black college due to their reputation. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Spike Lee and Robert Massey are among their more prominent graduates. After I earn a Business Degree I plan to apply to graduate school and earn an MBA."
“I am a 21-year-old majoring in Biology/Pre-med and I come from Harare, Zimbabwe. I’m completing my lower division courses here at Peralta Colleges ready for my transfer to UC Berkeley. There I will major in Molecular and Cell Biology before entering med-school. I decided to come to the United States because of its stable climate, its high quality of education and the vast opportunities that are available to all students. I was a little overwhelmed when I first arrived in the United States but the advisors at the international students' office were very friendly and made me feel welcome, helping me figure out my class schedule and adjust to life in the United States.
What I love the most about the United States is the freedom of expression and respect for different opinions that exist. Studying in this climate, and at Peralta Colleges, has really helped me grow as an individual. I have learned to be independent and to work hard, to be open-minded, and to think critically. The sky is the limit in the United States. If you work hard, you will be rewarded for it and I feel well prepared to claim my dream of becoming a medical doctor.”