Why did you decide to study in the USA?
I decided to study in the United States because my dream lies in this country. The heart of the film industry is located in Hollywood, and the best film schools are in California. If I had stayed in Brazil I would never have the same opportunities as the ones I have in Southern California.
Why did you choose Orange Coast College (OCC)?
I chose Orange Coast College because of the reputation of the film program and its high transfer rates to the universities I desire and the convenient location in Orange County, allowing me to visit big cities like Los Angeles and also to visit my relatives in San Diego. I could not have chosen a better place to start the journey towards my dream.
What do you like best?
What I like best about OCC is the insane amount of leadership opportunities that students have to stand out from the crowd. In my first semester, I succeeded in participation in mentor programs, student government, academic activities, volunteering and establishing a campus-wide honor society for film and visual arts.
What do you miss most?
I really miss my hometown, food, close friends and obviously, family.
What was your biggest surprise?
How the behavior is while attending a class is extremely different in both countries, and also how people dress, talk and have very distinct personalities.
... your biggest disappointment?
Upon moving, I faced such a drastic change to adapt to other peoples’ behavior, lifestyle and rules.
How have you handled:
... language differences?
Since 7th grade I started to speak English frequently, however, my brain had a mental arrow to aim as far as when to code switch languages. I knew that I had to speak English when I entered a classroom in a subject off of the Brazilian curriculum. In the first months, I struggled with this issue, I had to constantly speak English with no Portuguese intervals. Sometimes I would forget words or start speaking my native language to people.
This was a very big obstacle. Besides the Brazilian economy being very low in the past year, I had problems managing how and what to spend every month. Many times I ran out of money before the week or month was over. My solution to keep track was to systematically calculate what I was going to spend in a certain week.
... adjusting to a different educational system?
This was not very hard. In the beginning I took some time to understand how the courses are divided, labeled, ranked and which ones I need to take.
What are your activities?
I have just founded the campus-wide Visual Arts Honor Society, Pi Tau Epsilon. I was hired as a front desk and film tutor at the Student Success Center. I am involved in the Student Government, I am currently in the Advocacy Committee and last year I was in the College-Life Committee and Volunteer Team. I was a volunteer note-taker for students with learning disabilities and also officially serving for Make-A-Wish Corporations in Irvine. In the meantime, I actively participated in clubs: International Student Association, Golden Talent Entertainment, Debate and Film Club. I am also involved with my own independent photo and video production company, Enzo Flores Productions.
How easy or difficult was making friends?
It is quite difficult at first, but it is a process that takes time. Americans are not as outgoing as Brazilians. I just remained with my behavior and acted the way I always do and ended the semester with a consistent social life.
How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
I aspire to be a respectable director, film historian, and critic in the film industry. The United States includes the film industry in which I guide all my goals towards getting working in studios. Further, I would not have the one-time opportunity that I have if I was not in this country.
What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?
I encourage everybody to get out of the comfort zone and experience life and education. I know it is very difficult to leave absolutely everything and everyone behind and move to a country with very different traditions, but if you are really certain of what you want for your life, it is worth it. Surround yourself with people that have the same work ethic and bring only good to you.