USTL provides full scholarships to outstanding students from Timor-Leste for four years of study at high-quality undergraduate degree institutions in the United States. Scholarship awards include full tuition for four years of undergraduate study, travel, living stipends, medical insurance in the U.S., and visa costs. USTL is a program of the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs (ECA), U.S. Department of State.

LATEST ARTICLES

READ THE LATEST FROM USTL PARTICIPANTS

Return to Latest Articles

It is always fascinating for foreign students to study in a new country especially in a country like the United States where students have enormous opportunity to experience new values, wonderful outdoor adventures, cultural diversity and the best academic life. Although it sounds exciting, it is undeniable that students more likely face several challenges that might interrupt their academic performance and put students into some depressions.

One of the most common challenges that students face when they get to a new place is culture shock specially since the American people embrace some values that are pretty much uncommon in Timor-Leste. For Instance, many American especially college students believe that they have to use their time efficiently to get the work done. Thus, it is quite common for them to lock themselves in their room and spend time alone doing their work. For Timorese people, their behavior can be regarded as individualism and it might cause some depression if we cannot accept their values. Nevertheless, we should not worry about this issue due to the fact that there are many activities and sports that you can follow in order to socialize with American people. One of my favorite activities to socialize with friends is playing American football. Not only that you learn to accept one of the most favorite sport in the United States but you got to know many American and International friends.

As I mentioned above, challenges may come in various forms. Another challenge that students might find is a feeling of sadness due to the distance from family back home. It is normal to think about family and talk with them over the weekend, but if we surrender to this excessive sadness, we are losing perhaps one of the most amazing moment to explore America. If you have some sadness, it can be a good idea to join International organization that exist in your University. Try to express and share your sorrow feeling to some international students since they also have left their family back in their country and more likely to understand your feeling. In addition to sharing your concerned and issue, joining international organization would make you feel more accepted in the community since you can learn and share your culture, food, and songs from your country. For Instance, due to our connection with International organization, my friend Vero, who is Timorese, and I were able to made some presentation about our beloved country to the community in university and high school students, many of whom have very little knowledge about its existence. Moreover, we also constantly invited to have dinner in an American family house, playing games together and learn their tradition, which make me feel like I was at home.

Last issue that most International students have to aware of is the fact that every subject is presented in English, which is not our mother tongue. When I was in Timor, I felt pretty confident with my English level since I could easily understand what native English speaker said and my speech was pretty comprehensible. However, having lived and studied in the university, there were several times where I did not clearly understand what my instructor attempted to explain especially in science class. It was freaked me out, since other American students seemed easily understood the materials which made me feel a bit inferior at the first time. Although, there is high probability that you will face the same constraints, there should be no reason to panic because many professors here in the United States are more than willing the help their students out from problem. If you have some issue such as this language constraint and unclear explanation just talk with your professor and visit their office hours. Additionally, it is important to abolish the feeling of inferiorities due to the language because classmates here are really respectful and appreciate the way you are willing to improve your language skill.