College: Laney College
Major: Cell & Molecular Biology
Path After Peralta Colleges: CSU East Bay
I’d like to start by saying that PCCD is a great gateway for higher education for foreign students who would like to study abroad, especially in the Bay Area. There are other options, yes, but the four campuses of PCCD definitely cover a lot of grounds, making them the community colleges of choice for many. I’ve had the chance to attend three campuses during my time at PCCD (except CoA), most of it was at Laney college. The diverse and vibrant community at the college truly got me because I’d never feel lonely or left out. The faculties and staffs were always eager to help throughout my time there. I’d say the help I received from the counselors at OIE was the most crucial during my study. They were attentive and resourceful in regard to visas, legal documents, and requirements for international students which can be quite overwhelming at times for newcomers. I remember going to OIE about three times per semester just to get help with my major and I-20. The last time I went there was to work on my OPT application after I graduated with an AS from Laney back in 2017. The whole process could not have gone any better because they know how to prepare the documents. And I’d recommend this to any current or future international students: spend sometimes at the OIE because you’re going to go there a lot.
Regarding transfer, I think PCCD really places an emphasis on getting students to continue on to 4-year universities instead of being satisfied with a 2-year college degree. Most of my professors, in any given subject, would often mention about hoping their students would consider transferring to a CSU or UC system. They would go out of their ways to provide resources, establish a connection, write recommendation letters, or about anything that can help their students succeed. As an international student who was quite clueless about the system, what better deal could I have asked for? The counselors outside of OIE were great as well. They helped me decide on a major when I didn’t know what would fit me, create roadmaps, and answer all my questions whenever I came up with one. When I decided to transfer to a university, they helped me with my options so that I could narrow down which university would be the best fit for my finance and career goal. The fields of study at PCCD are vast enough that one can transfer to almost any popular or highly demanded fields offered at both CSU and UC. The fact that I could choose to take classes at any of the 4 campuses really help with my not-so-flexible schedule.
The last point I’d like to make is on-campus employment, which helped me tremendously during my time at Laney. Not all international students arrive here with strong financial supports from home like many people think. Money matter can be vexing at times if not all the time, but Laney really did a good job at being the safety net for international students in that regard. Laney was both my college and workplace for the good part of my time there, and I appreciate all the learning opportunities that I get from it. The work experience that I gained at Laney went a long way, as it also helped me get an on-campus job at CSUEB a year after I transferred there.
I strongly recommend new international students to step out of their comfort zone and enjoy their home campus to the fullest. I know I didn’t, and I missed out on many things. It also explains why I don’t have any pictures. For Vietnamese students thinking about going to the Bay Area for study, PCCD is a great option to consider. Challenges like cultural shock and language barriers will be there, but they would be proven trivial because I know you guys wouldn’t let it hinder your success. Remember, when in doubt, go to the OIE.