Part-1 How International Students from developing countries can save money while being at GCC by Zerin Firoze

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I was born and raised in a developing country, Bangladesh, and it was my dream from a very young age to study in the US. A lot of youths like me from developing countries also aspire to study in the US. It is extra challenging for poor students from developing countries to be able to afford to study in the US. Students from developing countries cannot remit money to a foreign country. The US government is also notorious for imposing sanctions in certain countries. Exchange rates plus foreign transaction fees by banks also add up. For example, 1 US dollar is 84 takas in my country Bangladesh. There is no legal way to remit money and corrupt middlemen charge high fees. I am a student from a developing country and here are the following things I have learned after coming in the US. I hope these tips will help you to save both time and money.

Choosing the right college

I would encourage all students to start at a community college first. You can literally save thousands of dollars and still get the same degree and classes at a cheaper price. Many community colleges like GCC do not even charge admission fees. It is completely free to apply for admission. You just need to apply online. So, apply to as many colleges as you want.

Learn to drive in your home country

Many cheaper colleges in the US are located in rural areas with little to no public transportation. You can save a lot of money by choosing a rural location. The cost of living in large cities is extremely expensive. It is not possible for students to pay out of state tuition fees and still afford thousands of dollars per month for rent, food, and other basic necessities. According to American Infrastructure Report Card, the US infrastructure is crumbling and has a rating of D+. Driving schools in America are very expensive. Private one-hour driving lessons are also very expensive and are not available in all rural US counties. So, try to get some driving time before coming to the US. Ask your family members or relatives in your home country to teach you driving for free.

Try to learn about car maintenance and repair before you come to the US. Then, attend a defensive driving course and Driver’s Education course in the US to get your license. You will be very busy being a full-time student once you come to the US. So, try to learn basic life skills while waiting for your acceptance letter from US colleges or for your visa interview.

Learn how to cook and preserve food before coming in the US

I lost thousands of dollars in wasted food. I had no idea how to preserve food. I had no experience in estimating the shelf life of certain food items. I cried when I had to throw away tons of fruits, frozen meat, and cartons of milk. I have been in the US for two and a half years now and I still did not find the time to read all the articles or watch all the videos that I always wanted to watch about food preservation. You can save a lot of money by learning to preserve food. Cooking skills are also important. Next time, hit the grocery store with your mom and learn about basic spices and ingredients if you are not a cooking pro.

Learn how to use coupons and rebate apps

I remember how overwhelmed I was when I first landed at JFK airport and very quickly I became busy with campus life. I had no time to read blogs about saving money in the US as a full-time student. I had no leisure reading time outside college textbooks. Hence, do yourself a favor. Read blogs and website articles about saving money in the US while you are waiting for a decision from US colleges or for your visa interview.

Coupons and rebate apps are not used in my country at all. I became familiar with coupons and rebate apps after coming in the US. It took me two years to learn to use coupons and rebate apps. Now, I am the ultimate coupon queen. I received $54 cashback from Ebates and $55 from Ibotta just for buying groceries and other necessary items. Groupon is also a great website to save money. Learn to use coupons and rebate apps before you even come in the US. Read articles about rebate apps and coupons on the Internet.

I will share more secrets and life hack in part-2 of the same article next week!

 

 

 

 

Our College Experience

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Hello readers of the GCC Blog,

Our names are Zarina and Sabina, we are two international students from Kazakhstan studying Digital Art at GCC.Ā Ā  We are not good in writing stories about ourselves. Thus we decided to write about GCC and Digital art major.

About GCC. We found this college on Internet while searching colleges with appropriate tuition, fees and location. In GCC we love that we can learn new things that we can apply in the future job. This college gives many opportunities to international students. There are many international events and many clubs that you can join.

About Digital Art. We like going to Digital Art classes, because we love creating new projects that we have never tried to do before. We can express our ideas and share them with other students. There are not many students who study Digital Art major here in GCC. The students help each other. We can practice and develop our skills while attending digital art classes.

About MarCom. We decided to work here because we would like to get new experience. I hope MarCom will give us good experience. We want to know the many sides of Marketing, how it works and decide in what field of future work we would love to work.

We are supposed to graduate in fall 2018. After graduation we hope that we will get a good job.

My Time at Genesee Community College

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Hello everyone, I am Helmsley a current sophomore student here in GCC. I am a native of Ghana West Africa but currently live in New York City with my Dad. I lived and played Soccer in Lyon France for one year were my mom currently reside and later moved to the united states in 2011 to pursue a career as a sports agent because back home in Ghana, the ability to play soccer is a big part of the culture.

Ever Since I moved to America, I have been able to stay focused academically which ranked me as one of the top students in my grade and also my college life at Genesee Community College. My time here in GCC has also been great. I have been able to meet outstanding roommates who set an great example In the college community.

The Professors also play a big role because their able to answer any questions I might have on my project and encourage me to stay focused academically. In GCC, I have been able to collaborate with individuals from different parts of the world. Some activities we have participated in, include training with the soccer team, having fun at the student union, playing video games etc.

As I enter my second year at the college, more and more great things have been occurring, including some hours at WGCC (the college’s radio station) as a sports caster and working in the MarCom (Marketing & Communications) Office. After GCC, I plan on transferring to Indiana State University in order to gain a scholarship to Edge Hill University in England and pursue my degree in Sport Management.

Countries You Can Travel With Your American Visa

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Summer is coming, and everyone is planning on traveling. But one thing people worry about it all the time is the visa. As an international student, I collected some countries that international students can go without a visa from these countries and only with our American student visa.

Mexico: International students can stay in Mexico for no more than 180 days with an American visa.

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Colombia:Ā International students can stay in Colombia for no more than 180 days with an American visa that will not be expired in 6 months.

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Honduras:Ā International students can stay in HondurasĀ for no more than 30 days with an American visa that will not be expired in 6 months.

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Costa Rica:Ā International students can stay in Costa Rica for no more than 30 days with a used American visa that will not be expired in 6 months.

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Panama:Ā International students can stay in Panama for no more than 30 days with a used American visa.

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Philippines:Ā International students can stay in Philippines for no more than 7 days with an American visa.

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Serbia:Ā International students can stay in SerbiaĀ for no more than 90 days with an American visa.

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Montenegro:Ā International students can stay in Montenegro for no more than 30 days with an American visa, or for the days left for the visa if the visa will be expired in 30 days.

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Albania:Ā International students can stay in Albania for no more than 90 days with a used American visa.

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Dominica:Ā International students can stay in Dominica for no more than 90 days with an American visa.

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Bermuda:Ā International students can stay in Bermuda for no more than 180 days with an American visa or a Canadian visa.

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Since you’ve already had the visa for the United States, let’s not waste it and go to other countries with it. Enjoy your summer more easily!

Studying Abroad at GCC

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In July 2013, I made the decision to come to the United States for college. In April 2014, I got a conditional admission from SUNY Geneseo, which suggested me to come to GCC first for improving my English. In August 2014, I came to this country I had never been in before and started my life at GCC.

Iā€™ve taken a lot of helpful and interesting classes here. The classes I love and Iā€™d definitely suggest are Foundations Academic Success (FYE 100), Ceramics 1 (ART 123), Advertising (BUS 203), Female Role in Film (CIN 242), and Career & Education Planning (CEP 101). As I want to graduate and transfer with Public Relations or Advertising this semester, classes Iā€™ve had before are very beneficial. Also, professors and faculties here are truly helpful.

However, the experience is the point here, which has been more enjoyable and helping me more to be what kind of person I want to be. If you ever used StrengthsFinder to look up your top five strengths, you would probably notice those five strengths have been supporting your life and never changing. It was surprising when I found out my strengths had changed from September 2014 to February 2016. I realized that adventure is the best way to learn. I was a resident assistant at College Village in Spring 2015, and I definitely improved my listening, leadership, and communication skills because of it. I also used to be a DJ for the radio station here and I learnt about communications a lot, as the radio station at GCC is awesome. I also work on campus and it gets me to talk more, write more, and get more ready for my future college and career. I think both classes and all these experiences here is exactly why my strengths have changed, which I also believe Iā€™ve been getting into a better person. This is not a life lesson only from classes, but Iā€™ve been also seeing both cultures, talking to people from different countries, and especially experiencing a different life here. Studying abroad is the most effective way for me to get a better view of the world. Being alone in another country has also made me a stronger person to face to and solve all the problems.

This explains how I believe that, nobody can discover the world for you, and nobody can steal your experience you get for yourself. Study more, see more, and suffer more.

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Customs of the Chinese New Year

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Monday, 8 February, 2016 is the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year. From February 7th to February 13th this year, people donā€™t go to school or work for a week, as an official holiday. In this coming week, Iā€™d like to keep posting and sharing something about the Chinese New Year. For today, let me tell you what we do for the Chinese New Year.

Continue reading

Harbin – The Pearl on the Swan’s Neck

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Iā€™m from a city called Harbin, in China, where is as cold as Batavia, NY. But itā€™s been pretty warm this winter in Batavia, so itā€™s colder in my hometown right now. Iā€™d like to share with you how people have fun in winter there. First, let me show you something about my city.

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My city Harbin (the red part in the second picture) is the capital and the largest city in Heilongjiang Province. Also, the city is the eighth most populous Chinese city and the most populous city inĀ whole Northeast China. Thereā€™re over 9.94 million inhabitants from the city, and a number of people living there who come from towns near Harbin.

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In the 1920s, the city was considered China’s fashion capital since new designs fromĀ ParisĀ andĀ MoscowĀ reached here first before arriving inĀ Shanghai.

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On 22 June 2010, the city was appointed aĀ UNESCOĀ “City of Music” as part of theĀ Creative Cities Network.

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Our city is also called Ice City, Oriental Paris, and Oriental Moscow.

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After I came to GCC, cold weather here made me miss home sometimes. Thinking of what we used to do at home, it even made me miss home more.

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Thereā€™s a place, Ice & Snow World, open to public by tickets about 20 US dollars every year from New Year to whenever the weather gets warm.

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Thereā€™re a lot of ice lanterns and snow sculptures for everyone to see and take photos.

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Also, thereā€™re a lot of fun activities about ice and snow, such as slides made of ice, and skiing with different kinds of funny boards.

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People wear super warm clothes, and just go there to have fun with their families and friends.

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Besides the World, thereā€™re some small parks open for free, also with a lot of fun in there.

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Also, you can see the ice or snow sculptures everywhere by the streets.

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I have to say that the winter is really pretty in our city, which I miss it a lot.

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This is Harbin, China.

The Pearl on the Swan’s Neck.