“I love that I made the choice to move to Santa Barbara!"
Antonio Filho shares his experience as an international student at Santa Barbara City College.
Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) is a community college based in the state of California in the United States. Offering students over 80 degrees and 50 certificate programs, SBCC accompanies international students down a convenient pathway to a four-year university degree from US.
SchoolApply interviewed Antonio Filho, a Brazilian student pursuing a double major in Community and Psychology. He is currently finishing his second year at SBCC.
SANTA BARBARA CITY COLLEGE
Location: Santa Barbara, California (US)
Student Name: Antonio Monteiro Melho Filho
I have two favorite classes: Public Speaking and Psychology Research Methods. The first one is great because as you give presentations to the class, you start to lose your inhibitions about speaking in front of an audience and I like the second one because it offers a lot of group interactions and useful knowledge in terms of analyzing research, understanding its outcomes and how to properly design research.
Favorite school event:
I like going to my friends’ theater performances because it's great to see them doing well and following their ambitions.
Tell us a little about yourself…
I am 22 years old and this is my final semester at SBCC. I'm from Salvador, Bahia in Brazil and I am a huge fitness enthusiast and reader. When I'm not working or studying for school, I’m reading books related to spirituality, health & fitness, marketing or psychology. Or you can find me hiking, surfing, doing some yoga, or working out at the gym. So far, I have lived in Brazil, Australia and the United States.
What were your school experiences like before university?
I studied three semesters of Business Administration at the Federal University of Bahia and then moved to SBCC. Prior to that, I completed high school in Salvador and I also did an exchange program with a school in Australia’s Gold Coast, where I lived for six months.
How did you hear about Santa Barbara City College and what made you decide to study in the US?
I decided to study in the United States because it was closer to Brazil than Australia. My main reason for coming here was because there are a lot of opportunities related to digital marketing and advertising here in California. I chose to attend SBCC because of its reasonable tuition costs and Santa Barbara is a good city – there's a lot of nature, surfing, and great business opportunities.
Did you have any problems adjusting to life in a new country and university?
Yes, I faced some difficulties. I thought it was going to be easy to make meaningful relationships, but coming from a different country and trying to make friends who are not Brazilian has been challenging. In the beginning, it was a very lonely journey, primarily because I was more focused on my academics and career – partying and going out on the weekends wasn't really on my agenda.
I believe that the main problems I had were related to language barriers. In the beginning, it was very hard for me to be my natural self while speaking English, but as time went by, I slowly became more fluent.
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What were your first few days at SBCC like?
The first time I saw the campus I was amazed at its beauty and how well conserved it was. The people were all very friendly and one girl even showed me around campus and told me the names of each building. If I couldn’t find my way to class, students would always help me get where I needed to go.
SBCC has a strong community feeling. They make students feel very comfortable at school and they have many different programs that suit everyone's needs. These programs are great because you feel that you belong to something. A sense of belonging is very important for international students, especially in the beginning of their university experience.
The first few classes I had were very stressful for me because of the language barrier, the different classroom behaviors, and new culture… everything was very different and so I went through a period of adaptation. Having said that, in my first week I also made some of my greatest friends – I still keep in touch with them and we hang out even after two years of being here at SBCC.
What degree are you pursuing and why?
I am double-majoring in Communication and Psychology. The main reason that I've chosen these subjects is that I want to work in advertising and I think that the combination of how to deliver a proper message and interpret people’s behaviors is powerful in this sense. I had previously worked in marketing in Brazil for a consulting company and I am sure of my career choice.
Have you had a job while studying?
I worked at the school Language Lab as a Lab Monitor for about eight months. It was a good experience because I met new people and got a social security number, which is great. Nowadays, I run my own e-commerce store and work at a startup company.
What has your academic and social experience been like as an international student at SBCC?
It's been a truly amazing experience. I love that I made the choice to move to Santa Barbara, and not a single day goes by that I am not grateful for being here. In academic terms, I feel that you just need to put in the necessary effort in order to achieve what you want. You need to focus. I see a lot of people here who just show up to classes and don't do much else. It's easy to get caught up in a lazy mentality and this will definitely hurt your grades.
This city is incredible for those who like nature, outdoor activities and sports. It's not very big on nightlife and all the clubs close at 2am. But there are many good hiking trails around town, beautiful beaches, great wineries, and a lot of surf when there's a swell.
SBCC is by far the best community college in the US! They have so many activities, great professors, excellent infrastructure, and friendly staff. The school offers programs that are suitable for almost everyone. I like the ESP (Express to Success) program, and its advisors, especially Andy Gil. He gave me all the support necessary to understand the general education requirements and plan my semesters here at school. Without him I would have struggled a lot in figuring these things out. In addition, the ESP offers some programs that can help speed up the school process by doing two English or math classes in the same semester. I did the English course and it was very helpful because the professor was excellent.
What would you say to international students who are considering studying at Santa Barbara City College?
SBCC has an incredible faculty, staff, community, and campus. The people who work here are very helpful. They want to see you succeed, and that is great. If anyone is hesitant about coming from a different country, I would say give it a shot because this might be the only time in your life that you are able to do something like this. It’s best to come and see the college for yourself to make sure you like it. Every day you will learn something new if you put yourself in new environments and meet new people from different places.
If you want to find out more and apply to Santa Barbara City College, click on its SchoolApply profile page and get started now!
About the Writer: Muneeza Kizilbash grew up in the United States and Pakistan and was active in her university’s International Student Council. Now settled in Dubai, she loves to inform, educate and entertain her readers through her writing.