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Study Abroad Experiences: Studying in the United States

Sreng Mao: ACE/IDP

Monirath Siv has been studying in the US since starting high school in 2006. He spoke to Lift about his recent experiences. In his words:

In 2012 I graduated from Washington University with a major in biology and a minor in public health. Fresh out of college I joined a two-year national service commitment with Teach For America and have been teaching biology, environmental science and introduction to research at a high school in Camden, New Jersey. I am also pursuing a Master of Education in urban education and a certification program in secondary biology at the University of Pennsylvania and expect to complete my teaching commitment and graduate degree by June 2014.

It is incredibly important to be inquisitive about opportunities and resources when you study in the United States.

Choice and opportunity are the most rewarding aspects of my experience in the pursuit of higher education in the United States.

I lived in California, Missouri, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and they are very different. There are Cambodian communities in each state that I could be a part of. I also had the chance to meet so many different people from all walks of life. I have a great social life here in the US and it’s hard to find a place where you can meet people hailing from everywhere around the world like America. It’s an environment for me to grow, not just academically, but also personally.

Your academic success in the US depends on what you want to study. My accomplishments came because I have strong linguistic skills. I was trained to critically scrutinise and be sceptical when reading and I can write really well due to the rigor and structure of the graduate program I’m in.

Doing something and failing is not proof that you cannot do it. You should set the highest standards for yourself. Never settle for anything less than doing your best. At the same time, be humble enough to see the flaws you have and thrive for better. I learned so much about my own deficits as a scholar and have continuously identified opportunities to fill those gaps. I have developed the thirst to have a sense of other disciplines I wish to know more about, and that can be a very good thing for anyone; knowing how little you know is the sign of an inquiring mind of a lifelong learner.

Are you interested in studying in the US? Visit an IDP Study Abroad Resource Centre today to discuss your options with a trained counsellor.

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