What is One Thing You Like About Studying in the United States and One Thing You Do NOT Like?

Aliya Uteuova from Kazakhstan studying at the University of Maine just won $100 by sharing what she likes about studying in the United States and what she does not like.

Aliya won $100 as part of our microscholarship program. Each semester we award six microscholarships, each worth $100 to six different international students. To see our past winners and to learn more, please click here.

For microscholarship #5 we asked the question: What is one thing you like about studying in the United States and one thing you do NOT like? 

Aliya was selected as the winner! Please read her essay below.

Coming to the United States to pursue a bachelor’s degree has definitely been one of the most important decisions I have made in my life. Like many other life-changing experiences, studying at the University of Maine has had its own ups and downs.

One of the things I like about studying in the US is the education system. If one day you realize you don’t want to study Business anymore, the American higher education system will allow you to change your major multiple times. In the US university, classes have set structures to them. You will get your syllabus on your fist day of class which will list all the things that are expected of you to do: homework which is worth 15%, assigned readings, quizzes that are worth 20%, tests worth 35%, group projects 30% etc. If you do not do well on a particular quiz or a test, it is not the end of the world. Your final grade for the class is a compilation of homework, quizzes, tests, attendance, and more. Chances are, your professor will give the class extra credit opportunities towards the end of the semester. My friends who study in the UK, Spain, and the Netherlands, often share that exams either make or break their grades. A lot of the times, they end up not doing homework or attending lectures, because they do not count towards the final grade. As the exam week approaches, my friends’ stress levels are extremely high, and I usually don’t bother them with phone calls until their exams are over. At the US university, your knowledge in a particular class will be evaluated holistically, and one bad quiz grade is not the deciding factor of how well you do in the class. If you feel like you are not doing well, you can always arrange a meeting with your professor or teacher’s assistant to discuss what you can do to improve your grade. Structured style of the American education system is one of the main reasons I enjoy studying in the US.

One aspect of studying in the US that I do not enjoy so much is the health insurance. Every enrolled student must have a health insurance plan in order to be able to studying the US. Usually, universities offer health insurance plans to international students which can cost thousands of dollars. At UMaine, international students have a choice to opt out of the university healthcare and buy a cheaper alternative for a couple hundred dollars. Unlike in the US, governmental healthcare and emergency care is free of charge in my country. If a person is complaining about pain and is taken to a US emergency room, after being treated and released, he or she should prepare to deal with costly bills, which could cause tremendous amounts of stress and anxiety to any college student. Therefore, be very careful when choosing your healthcare plan. Sometimes, cheap healthcare plans can turn out to be scams that do not cover any of your hospital bills. If you choose an expensive plan, you may never end up using it, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Trust me. You never know what can happen to you in a foreign country, so always remember that your health and safety come first. You shouldn’t compromise on your health; after all, you came to the US to study, and you need to be healthy and happy in order to do so.

College is what you make of it, and there are going to be ups and downs, regardless of the university and country you are studying in. So if you are considering studying in the US, I would encourage you to have an open mind about it, listen to your heart, and believe in yourself. You can do it!

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