Anouk de Graauw -
Orange Coast College, California

After a year of high school in California, Anouk immediately started looking for ways to return to the United States for a longer period of time. After visiting the GO USA Education Fair in 2016, she discovered the financial benefits of going to a community college. Anouk just started her second year at Orange Coast College in California. 

A few years ago, I attended high school in Pasadena, California. I felt at home in Cali, so as soon as I got back to the Netherlands,  I immediately started looking for reasons to return to the US. At first,
I wanted to work as an au pair. 

But my parents said: “If you really want to go to the States, then you should go to school. Otherwise, you will just throw away another year.” Then, one day, Marina Meijer came to my school to talk about the many study options in the US, and I thought: hey! That is when I got serious about it.

I do not think I would be here, right now, if it wasn’t for UStudy. I wanted to go to the US so badly, but when I saw some of the tuition fees, I thought: ugh… But at that time I didn’t know that community colleges exist!  That is a much more affordable option.

Story continues under the photos >>

I made a list of pros and cons. That’s when I knew I had to go to California.

UStudy - Student Stories, Study in California, Orange Coast College
Anouk de Graauw - UStudy, study in the US, Orange Coast College, California

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My mother encouraged me to go to the Education Fair. After talking to Marina about all the different options, it came down to two places: Seattle or back to California – such a hard decision. I made a list of pros and cons. That’s when I knew I had to go to Cali. It is familiar to me, and the weather is much nicer than in Seattle.

For me, the American style of teaching is a much better fit than the Dutch style. It feels more motivating. In the Netherlands, it is almost like you aren’t allowed to make any mistakes. Here, I feel less pressure. I am also happy with the American education system. It is a lot easier to switch majors here than it is back home. After majoring in Graphic Design last year, I was able to easily switch to Early Childhood Development this year.

I didn’t come here to play sports, but once here, I really wanted to do something. I played a little tennis in high school and Orange Coast College was short one person for their tennis team, so I joined the team. 

We won the State Championship that year – and I only had been playing for 6 months. Ha ha, how cool is that! In the State Championship, the best team from Southern California played against the best team from Northern California. It was a close game – but we won! It was an awesome experience. And, because I had a 4.0 GPA, I also won a scholarship for being the best international student!

I am really enjoying my time here. I have a tight group of friends. We go to Disneyland so frequently that I ended up getting a pass. We also hang out at the beach all the time. Everything is so close by! I do miss home sometimes, but with today’s technology, it makes it a lot easier to stay in touch with everyone. But it’s not the same, though. You can’t hold them. I did meet my boyfriend here, in the library. His family has become like family to me, too. They take great care of me, and they really include me in their family. After graduating, I would really like to stay in California. My dream is to open my own pre-school here!

This could be your story! Interested in exploring  your  study options in the US?

Studying in the USA -