Ricardo Schmitz from Brazil: Studying English at the English Language Institute at the University of Florida

Why did you decide to study in the USA?

I received a scholarship that gave me the opportunity to study at a university in the United States.

Why did you choose the University of Florida English Language Institute?

The foundation that gave me the scholarship strongly recommended me to study at English Language Institute because of the great reputation and quality.

What do you like best?

The comfortable environment that the English Language Institute offers to the students. One of my biggest fears before coming to the U.S. was the culture shock, but the Institute did a great job making me go through this process in the most profitable way.

What do you miss most?

My family and old friends.

How has this program helped you to handle future study at a U.S. university?

I have been here for one year and one month. I can say that I did not speak English before taking classes at ELI, and today I am able to make a conversation with native speakers. This program has helped me in many ways, such as getting ready to take a college class with native speakers, to solve complex tasks, and getting to know which behavior I should have at university and college classes.

What was your biggest surprise?

I was very surprised about how friendly and polite the people are here, and I was not expecting to have so much contact with the teachers as I am able to.

How have you handled:

... language differences?

In the beginning, it was hard to communicate, but with the ELI's help it was much easier and fun.

... finances?

It has been easy to handle because I am able to plan everything that I am going to spend.

... adjusting to a different educational system?

When I was struggling with something the teacher's advice was helpful to handle the situation.

What are your activities?

I travel a lot around Gainesville, going to places as Clear Water, Saint Augustine and Tampa. The ELI’s activities are also an awesome way to have fun and meet new people and get to know new places.

How easy or difficult was making friends?

For having many different cultures and because most people are very friendly, it is very easy to find someone that matches with what you are interested in. Everyone is looking for good friends here, so it is pretty easy to find a nice person among the many amazing people that are here.

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

My goals are getting a degree here in the U.S. (and) then go back to my country, where I will be able to share my knowledge with our farmers and improve our economy and the relation between farmers and the environment.     

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

I am sure that anyone who has the opportunity to study in the Unites States will go home with a different perspective on what they know. Once here, try to make as many friends as you can, to spend your time with people from different cultures, get to know different places and cultures and enjoy everything that you can.

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