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Studying and Living in the United States, California by Lin Htet Aung


In this blog, we are going to share our regular knowledge exchange session about “Studying and Living in the United States, California ” by Lin Htet Aung. We regularly hold knowledge exchange sessions as public for all the youths. We did the following knowledge exchange session On July 2, 2022, 2:00-3:00 PM JST time.

This blog covers the following topics :

Please check out more details in the following video or in the following blog.

1. Speaker, Lin Htet Aung’s Profile

Linn Htet Aung, also known as Bryan, is a Business Administration student in his sophomore year at Irvine Valley College. He is a recipient of two scholarships awarded by Irvine Valley College Foundation.


He was also an academic fellow of Young South East Asian Leaders Initiative, an intensive short-term academic program fully funded by the United States Department of State. He studied Environmental and Natural Resource Management with the YSEALI program at East-West Center, Hawaii.


He is an active, dynamic and prospective youth currently contributing back to the education sector of his country. For the moment being, he is also working as a Real Estate and Property Management Intern with Project Destined Program at Century 21, Los Angeles.


2. U.S Education Syste

Generally, there are three educational tracks in the U.S education system, which are University track, Community college track and vocational study (certificate program).


The first track, University track, is attending the university directly to get a four-year bachelor. Although it is easy to attend for the U.S citizens, the international students need to have equivalent high school completion such as IGCSE and SAT.


The second track is the community college track, which is taking the two-year associate degree for the community college and then transferring the credits to attend the university for the remaining two years in order to pursue the bachelor’s degree. Most of the international students prefer this pathway because it is more affordable than attending the university directly.


The vocational study(certificate program) is attending the community college for the purpose of vocational study such as applied electrical engineering and agriculture. This track takes two years to finish and will get the certificate to join the workforce, not the same with the associate degree.


3. Universities in California

There are two types of universities called private and public universities. In California, some of the private universities are Stanford University, University of Southern California, University of San Francisco, University of San Diego and Chapman university. Some public universities are UC Berkeley, UC Los Angeles, UC Irvine, CSU Long Beach and CSU Fullerton.


The private universities mostly prefer the university track and they are expensive. Moreover, some private universities like Stanford University only have 2 to % of acceptance rate. On the other hand, if you attended the community college and apply to university, you can apply mostly to public universities through the university transfer admission process.


4. College Application Process

In applying to community colleges, it is generally easier to apply than universities directly. Firstly, the applicant needs to fill out the college application form which includes your personal information, academic history and so on. After that, he needs to attach the proof of high school completion, English proficiency test score (TOEFL, Duolingo, etc..) and personal documents such as passport and relevant transcripts. For universities, it needs more processes like verifying the high school completion with education service and other specific requirements according to the universities.


5. Academic Challenges

When someone with a different educational background from the U.S education system, the person can encounter some academic challenges in attending the community colleges or universities.

Firstly, the bachelor’s degree is granted to the student only if he finishes getting 120 credit units in his study. For all U.S colleges and universities, the 120 credit units requirement is mandatory to get a degree.

The second fact is that the education system in the U.S is focused on the student-centered teaching and learning system. This will be an obstacle for the students who are not familiar with planning the studies alone with less interference from the professors and teachers. In the student-centered system, the student can get the guidance from the professors for the course related activities, however, he has to give effort and focus a lot by himself.

The third academic challenge is the research skill, which is a very basic demanded skill, for students. Homework and assignments need proper research and the universities provide the research resources via respective online libraries.

Class environment can also be the academic challenge for those who are not used to debating and having discussions with the teacher in the classroom. Being a democratic country, the U.S encourages the freedom of speech which has impact on the classrooms for discussion and debating with the professors.


6. Internships in USA

Regarding the internship opportunities in the US, you can find the internship vacancy announcement via LinkedIn platform, students’ information sharing groups (like Discord) and job fairs. Moreover, if you have a better relationship with the professors, you can also know the internship opportunities from them.

On the other hand, there are also some challenges in applying for the internships. Firstly, there is huge talent pool in the U.S which means many students apply for the position when an internship is announced. Secondly, it can be said that the internship applying process is competitive since you have to compete with not only the undergraduate students but also with the graduate students from many famous universities. Furthermore, attending many rounds of interviews and assessment can also be challenging to be unique among the applicants. However, it does not mean you cannot get the internship in the USA. You need to prepare well with strong interest when you are applying for internships.

Since the U.S is one of the most diverse countries, it is significant that the working environment will be diverse, where you will meet with different people, not only the American natives. Secondly, the working experience will be challenging for you while you are working with people from different backgrounds. Being able to do proper research in the workplace is also in high demand because you have to research and learn a lot by yourself when you are doing an internship or working despite the fact that you can ask the coworkers if you do not understand.


7. Part-Time (On Campus

The part-time jobs are only legal to do on campus for the international students. Most of the campus jobs are paid jobs and a few can be on a voluntary basis. Students can do part-time on campus at most 20 hours per week, which they can get $13 to $15 per hour and social security number. Social security numbers are beneficial for international students if they want to invest in crypto or stock exchange.


8. About California

In California, the weather is great which includes Spring, Summer and Winter. The temperature is generally from 18 to 28 Celsius which is convenient for people in South East Asia. Unlike other states, the weather is comfortable to live in.

For transportation, the public bus and metro are only convenient in large cities such LA and SF in California. Thus, people need cars if they do not live in large cities in California. Most of the international students take public transportation or ride scooters/bikes to solve the transportation problem.

Regarding the accommodation, students can stay at dorms if they attend universities. However, most of the community colleges do not provide campus housing. Thus, students need to find the accommodation themselves from external websites such as Zillow and apartments.com or from the school website for homestay.


Feel Free to Comment if you have any questions!

The event ends well and we would like to thank you to each and every of the attendees especially to the speaker, Lin Htet Aung. After the event, there had been a Q&A session and the attendees could ask all of the inquires related to the title to the speaker.


We will not put about the Q&A session here but if you have any questions or concerns, you could leave in the comment below. We will respond to your questions as soon as possible. However, we like to recommend you to attend next coming event in person not to miss the insightful knowledge and you could also ask your questions to the speaker directly there!


You could always check the all upcoming and past events here


We hold this knowledge exchange session for the public for their interest titles by inviting relevant speakers. If you like to join our openfor.co/fellowship community and don't want to miss exciting events and announcements, please check out our Openfor.co/fellowship social media pages Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

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