To all friends who are considering studying abroad:
Whatever ideas or reasons you have for studying abroad, you will have to undergo a “metamorphosis” of sorts. Maybe the word “metamorphosis” isn’t quite right. Literally, you will need to bathe in the fire and be reborn from the ashes like a phoenix. Of course, it happens only if you are strong and work hard enough.
Most of the Chinese students coming to the United States have seen a TV series called Peking People in New York; the most impressive line of which is “if you love someone, send him to New York because there is heaven; if you hate a person, send him to New York because there is hell.” You may not necessarily go to New York for college, but “heaven” and “hell” might be the right description of the place you will go to after your graduation. Ultimately, your path depends on every step you take in your study abroad program, including and especially the initial preparation phase.
In my own case, I applied to study in the United States through an agent. Not being from a wealthy family, I wasted too much money on expensive third-tier schools that were recommended to me by my agent. When I first arrived to America, I was almost penniless, spending only $5 on meals for the whole day. Eventually, I got sick and developed a very high fever, which lasted two weeks. But I couldn’t even afford to go to the hospital. It was pathetic! If my health hadn’t improved, I may have had to bid my new college life in America good bye forever. I also realized that if I had known how to obtain better information about American colleges, I could have applied to better schools or sought greater scholarships. Unfortunately, I realized this too late and couldn’t re-apply to colleges and universities as I’d invested too much time and money already. Fortunately, despite a series of setbacks, I landed a desirable, stable job with a handsome income. However, as I reflect on my college experience, I constantly think of those “ifs”– if I were better prepared, if I had chosen the right method and path, if I found the right institutions to help me search and analyze information, I would not have wasted so much energy and money and missed the good opportunities. I could have been more successful. But life is no Nintendo game. I cannot change my history. But I can help those who are planning to study in the U.S. I hope you will not repeat my suffering. I want to share my experience with you and help you to have a more successful life abroad.
The title of this article is “Memorial Day.” However, we changed it to “Metamorphosis” because Memorial Day is actually a holiday in the US celebrated in late May. I initially named it Memorial Day because today is the first day that IntroAmerica launches its website. We put great effort to build up this website, which in my mind, is a memento of our American study abroad experience. Through IntroAmerica’s website, we are sincerely trying to help you prepare and apply to U.S. colleges and universities. We want to provide you and your parents with the most relevant and useful information, some which you may or may not have expected. We wish you great success in your US college application process and happiness in your new college life abroad!