Chandandeep Singh Thind from India: Studying Computer Science at Cerritos College in California

Why did you decide to study in the USA?

Due to overpopulation in India, not only are universities highly competitive, the ones that are enrolling have overcrowded classrooms with often inadequate facilities. To overcome this problem, I found that studying in the USA would be beneficial for me, because it has very flexible education style and one-on-one interaction between the students and the teacher.

Why did you choose Cerritos College?

My friend referred me to this college. I checked the online rating of Cerritos College and its faculty and found it to be quite impressive. I also liked the diversity on campus. This college provides many professional courses and helps students to get ready for university. The office of international students also provides a lot of amenities like free math and chemistry tutoring, computer lab, counseling, and free immigration and legal advice.

What do you like best?

What I like the best about my program and the college is the excellent faculty. I like the flexible education style; you can change your major any time if you really need to. The best thing I like here is that whenever I experienced any challenge, the whole staff of office of international students stood by me and gave me moral, mental and academic support.

What do you miss most?

Sometimes, I feel home sick and miss my parents, siblings and friends. I miss the homemade food from my mom.

What was your biggest surprise?

I think the biggest surprise for me was the freedom of speech and expression. There is no formality, which gives you a chance to express your views more independently. Same is with general lifestyle. People are open-minded and ego free.

... your biggest disappointment?

As an international student, it’s really challenging to maintain a high GPA and it is very hard to get an on-campus job due to employment restrictions.

How have you handled:

... language differences?

I made many American friends and tried to learn their pronunciation and language style. I joined clubs and learned their culture and traditions, which really helped me to polish my language and speech skills.

... finances?

My best advice is to save enough money before coming here. Also, my parents are helping me financially sometimes. The college also provides many opportunities to apply for merit-based scholarships, which really help to manage the financial expenses to some extent.

... adjusting to a different educational system?

The initial transition stage was really challenging, but my international counselor and professors assisted me. Now, I am feeling on top of everything and more organized.

What are your activities?

I always kept myself engaged in various activities and used on-campus resources including library, student success center, free tutoring, study groups, regular interaction with professors and joined various clubs like Math club, Veteran club, International Students Association, Speech club, etc. These resources helped me to combat culture shock and to maintain a good GPA.

How easy or difficult was making friends?

It is quite easy to make new friends. American people are very friendly and easy-going. The best way to contact new people is to join clubs and engage in community volunteer services.   

How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country? 

I always hoped to one-day run a successful web design business in India. I want to give back to the society that raised me. The U.S., especially Silicon Valley, is the hub of IT industry that I would like to be involved with to gain experience to move up higher on the ladder of success in my profession.

What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?

My advice would be that the learning is just not limited to the classroom. You can learn from your experiences outside of the classroom. If you want to get a quality higher education, in a very comfortable environment, then Cerritos College is the best place to be in. Secondly, I would like to advise to save enough money before coming USA and if you are going to be a computer science major, finish a basic course in C++ and Java in your country. This will really help you for a strong computer base.

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