My experience studying at
Shoreline Community College
Currently furthering her studies at
New York University (NYU)
The High School Completion and 2+2 University Transfer Program
Why did you choose to study in America and why choose Shoreline?
A year previously I had been on a student exchange program in America and I really enjoyed it. I was in Virginia, which is quite a bit different from Seattle. Virginia was more laidback while Seattle is much livelier and a lot more happening, the public transportations are also a lot more convenient. I chose Shoreline since it was not too far from the city and I knew someone who had studied there before, the buildings on campus are also really beautiful.
Are the High School Completion Program and the student exchange program you had been on before any different?
Yes, they are very different. I felt that the student exchange program was quite easy. If we just attended the class, we would get an A. With the High School Completion Program the professors were university professors. They will not push us like in high school but it was our responsibility to do the work. We had to do research papers and course work with much greater depth on the subject, whereas with the exchange program we were studying in high school so we just had to answer some questions on the exams to pass.
Why did you decide to return to America to do the High School Completion Program?
Because I was only one credit short of getting a Diploma from Washington State. Once I completed the High School Completion Program, I would have enough credit to apply for college on the 2+2 University Transfer Program. It was my plan to study at a university in America.
How was the environment at Shoreline?
There is a no smoking rule on campus, if you want to smoke you have to use one of the special smoking areas. There are also rules against sexual and racial discrimination, everyone has to behave themselves. There are many facilities on campus like a fitness room, badminton courts, basketball courts, a computer room, an art room and even a dark room for developing your own film. There are also many societies, for example, the newspaper society, forest conservation society, Thai boxing society, Ukulele society and a lot more.
I joined the newspaper and the Economic society. Writing articles for the newspaper is quite tiring. You have to do a lot of research on the topic you are writing about. If you write about politics or critiquing something your research has to be solid and if you want to review a restaurant you have to decide on a place and go try it out. Often, I will be cutting it really close to the deadline before finishing my pieces.
How different are the education systems in Thailand and America?
I have only studied high school in Thailand but I think that they are quite different. I think teachers in America treat students differently. In Thailand teachers will also get involve in our social life. If we do something wrong, they will tell our parents immediately. In America once the class is done that’s it, as long as you don’t get into too much trouble, they will leave you to your own devices. In America the seniority system isn’t as serious as in Thailand where we have to have the utmost respect for our teachers.
What did you enjoy learning?
I really liked Math. When I was in Thailand, I hated Math but over there the teacher was really good at helping me to understand it, you can even use calculators. The teacher made me want to solve the problems because I feel as though I could apply what I learn to the real world.
How were the professors at the university?
They took care of us quite well. If there is something we did not understand we could go talk to them during their office hours. They were always willing and happy to explain.
How was the accommodation?
I stayed with a host. At first, we felt a bit awkward but once we got to know each other better we got along well without any problems. The food was great too.
How are friends and social life over there?
It was much more diverse than in Thailand and I had to adjust. I had to learn to accept the different viewpoints and opinions of different people. It took me a really long time, before I had quite a bit of an ego and thought I was always right. I am getting better now, I think.
How different were your expectations and the reality of studying in America?
When I went on the student exchange program, I was expecting to be sent to a city with glitz and glam like New York and have a gang of socialite friends like in the movies. The reality was I ended up in the middle of nowhere with only corn fields and cattle. Before I went, I only saw all the cool pictures of people who had gone on the student exchange program before me. I forgot that they probably did not post pictures of all the boring or bad part of their time.
As for the High School Completion Program I thought it was going to be easy but I was very wrong. Going from Thailand it was especially difficult for me. Having to study subjects like U.S. History, in Thailand we would just try to memorize everything to take the multiple-choice exam, but in America you have to write essays. It made me realize that my critical thinking skill was really lacking because we did not get to practice it much in Thailand.
Did the staff at Shoreline assist you with anything?
They were great, whenever I had any problems, I would email them and they would reply the very next day. I feel like they really know their stuff.
Is Seattle a safe place?
For me I think it is very safe, I never encountered any crime or any incidents. Maybe if you are traveling to the downtown area you might have to be a bit more careful, but transportation is very convenient. There is a bus right from university that takes about 30 minutes.
How do you feel you have changed from the experience?
I feel I am more independent now. When I was in Thailand, we would hangout as a big group and go everywhere together. In America everyone is more independent and focus on their studies. You have to learn to eat by yourself, or go to the movies yourself. I feel that I am much tougher and complain a lot less, partly because there is no one to complain to.
Do you have any feedback for Korpungun?
Whenever I had any problems the members of Korpungun took great care of me and helped me a lot. The office is also very conveniently located.
Do you have any advice for someone considering the High School Completion Program?
I highly recommend it because it can save you 2 whole years as well as save a lot on tuition fees. Community college is less expensive than a university and is easier for you to adapt to the new environment because the campus is not so large. You will meet a lot of Asian people and there are also language courses to help you learn English.