Interested in studying abroad, but not sure where to begin? American Collegiate Live provides first-year students the opportunity to study online and earn recognized and easily transferable credits at a US university, all without leaving their home country. Three international students recently shared their experiences with the program, and offered advice on how to take full advantage of the American Collegiate Live program before (and even after) coming to the US.
We spoke to three Chinese students: Ziqing, Tao, and Zhaonan, each of whom successfully completed the American Collegiate Live program. They offered their advice for future students who may be deciding if American Collegiate Live is right for them.
Why Enroll with American Collegiate Live?
American Collegiate Live makes it possible for students to get a jump start on studying in the US by taking classes virtually. Impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Ziqing decided to enroll in American Collegiate Live because “I didn’t want to waste a year of my academic life, so I chose to start [American Collegiate Live] early to earn my credits … All the classes I took have had their credits accepted by my chosen university, American University. It has saved me a lot of trouble and moved my graduation date up.”
Tao chose American Collegiate Live to keep his studies on track from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Starting [American Collegiate Live] helped to ease me into the fast-paced nature of US universities. It helped me to [become] familiar with the intensity and process of US lectures,” he said. “It also [showed me] the importance of academic and language support, especially for international students, and I was grateful [the program] provided that.”
After successfully completing the program, he was accepted to the University of Utah.
What Are the Benefits of American Collegiate Live?
From registering for classes to helping with a job search, and everything in between, American Collegiate Live coordinators make sure a student’s transition from online learning to on-campus US university studies is seamless.
Tao remembered his program coordinator helping him register for classes. “This is a very challenging task for students like me because it is a culture shock,” he said. “I remember specifically that we had to sit down to talk about curriculum and class schedules for over an hour during one meeting. He helped me build the confidence needed to register for classes and get ready for the next semester.”
Zhaonan’s program coordinator, Alicia, was always on hand to answer any questions.
“If I ever encountered technology issues during the American Collegiate Live program, I went to her,” Zhaonan said. “I met with Alicia four or five times in the first semester, and [in] each meeting we talked for between 30 minutes and an hour. Alicia has also helped me with the visa preparation.”
Another program coordinator, Sylar, helped Zhaonan travel to the US. “When I came to the US, I was nervous and did not know what to do. Sylar helped me and provided advice on booking transportation and hotels, ensuring I had a smooth student experience upon my arrival to Salt Lake City,” said Zhaonan.
Program coordinators can also help with job searches in the US. Zhaonan found an on-campus job with Sylar’s help. “He recommended me and wrote a recommendation letter for me to apply to the job,” Zhaonan said.
American Collegiate Live classes aim to replicate a real US university classroom as much as possible, and are designed for students to engage frequently with professors and each other.
Ziqing appreciated that “the classes are [synchronous]. It made me feel like I was studying with US students on campus. It was an unbelievable experience.”
Zhaonan found professors to be “very funny, [with] a wonderful sense of humor while giving lectures. They have been responsive to my emails and answered my questions quickly. During class time, besides the lecture of the day, some share parts of US and US university culture with us. They also gave us some time to talk about our own cultures and the cultures of our peers.”
Taking classes virtually may seem isolating at first, but American Collegiate Live is designed to help international students from all over the world get to know one another.
“The most beneficial thing was meeting students who were also planning to come to study in the US,” said Ziqing. “We [then] became friends and roommates at Zhejiang University. Our friendship has lasted longer than I expected — we are still friends and roommates now in DC.”
Zhaonan recommended “expand[ing] your network, especially by making friends who have the same plan to study in the US. You need to have friends to encourage, help each other, and work together.”
Are There Any Challenges Studying with American Collegiate Live?
Tao experienced a few initial challenges when starting the program, especially with “group discussions. My group ha[d] students from different cultural backgrounds, and, due to those, communication was the most challenging. However, we overcame the challenges and successfully completed the assignments.”
While communication can be difficult, Ziqing saw it as an opportunity and “met with a lot of students from different countries, such as South Korea, Vietnam, and Thailand, and they all planned to study in the US. We use English to communicate with each other, and, because each of us has our own accents, we’ve had to slow down to ensure that our communications are effective and that we all understand each other.”
Advice for International Students from American Collegiate Live Alumni
After successfully completing American Collegiate Live, Ziqing was accepted to American University and Zhaonan and Tao were accepted to the University of Utah. American Collegiate Live made it possible for each of them to earn credits when the circumstances wouldn’t allow for them to attend classes in the US.
Ziqing wanted to tell future students, “if you are not ready, or you don’t want to experience a sudden change in culture or academics, [American Collegiate Live] is a great option for you to ease yourself in. [Do] not be afraid to make mistakes or express your opinions. Be brave and communicate with your instructors and classmates.”
Tao recommended those “studying in the US [to] please remember that you are not alone, and your family and friends will be supportive of your decision. Don’t be afraid of challenges, especially the small ones. Talk with academic professionals, such as your program coordinator, as well as your family.”
Zhaonan kept it simple, saying, “take everything step by step, and don’t worry too much about your results. Just try your best.”