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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

International students find opportunities

Mai+Truong+is+one+of+the+many+international+students+who+attends+TCC.+Truong+moved+to+the+United+States+from+Vietnam+with+her+family+when+she+was+9+years+old+and+now+attends+TR+Campus+after+becoming+a+permanent+resident+in+2011.++Photo+by+Taurence+Williams%2FThe+Collegian
Mai Truong is one of the many international students who attends TCC. Truong moved to the United States from Vietnam with her family when she was 9 years old and now attends TR Campus after becoming a permanent resident in 2011. Photo by Taurence Williams/The Collegian

By Alice Hale/reporter

Mai Truong is one of the many international students who attends TCC. Truong moved to the United States from Vietnam with her family when she was 9 years old and now attends TR Campus after becoming a permanent resident in 2011.  Photo by Taurence Williams/The Collegian
Mai Truong is one of the many international students who attends TCC. Truong moved to the United States from Vietnam with her family when she was 9 years old and now attends TR Campus after becoming a permanent resident in 2011. Photo by Taurence Williams/The Collegian

Part of TCC’s diversity derives from the couple thousand international students who enroll in TCC courses each year.

TR student Mai Truong became a permanent resident in 2011 at the age of 17.

“I moved here with my family on a green card when I was 9 years old,” she said. “My mother became a citizen while I was still a minor, which in turn gives me citizenship as well.”

Permanent residents register at TCC just like any other student.

“There are close to 25 different ways to study in the United States as an international student,” said admissions assistant director Vikas Rajpurohit. “The most common amongst TCC students is becoming a permanent resident.”

For other students here on a green card or a student visa, the process is not as straightforward. These students must handle any registration or transfer work through TCC’s only international admissions office located on TR Campus.

“We keep the international office centrally located at only one campus so that there is no confusion about how to process student information,” Rajpurohit said. “We have to keep up with extensive transfer processes from numerous different countries, so it could be quite complicated to spread that out to different offices.”

SE student Amir Laylaz is from Iran but became a Canadian citizen when he was 10 years old and now studies here on a student visa.

“My mother moved to Texas years ago, and I wanted to continue to live with her to help save while I am in school,” he said. “Not only that, but Texas is a great place to study for my major in petroleum engineering.”

On a visa, students must follow guidelines and remain enrolled throughout the year and are sometimes not allowed to work.

“[Texas] A&M only accepts new engineering students during the fall semester,” Laylaz said. “I cannot just take a semester off and work to wait for the program to start accepting new students because I will not only lose my student visa, but I am given very strict rules for working. Since I will not be ready to transfer until the spring, I will be transferring to Texas Tech instead because they will be accepting new students.”

Canh Tiet, born in Vietnam, uses a green card to study on TR Campus and hopes to one day be a U.S. citizen.

“I wanted to study in the United States because in most countries, including Vietnam, having a degree from America likely guarantees you a well-paid job,” Tiet said.

Leaving home is never easy, even if moving is ultimately to have a better future.

“The hardest part of it all is finding friends,” Laylaz said. “In Canada, I already had a close group of people I grew up with. Here, it is hard to find even one person that I really connect with.”

For Truong, her hopes are to visit Vietnam frequently to help others have a better future with her growing business in Mary Kay and her education.

“I live by what my father told me when we left Vietnam,” she said. “I cried because I did not want to leave. My father told me that if I really want to come back someday, I will be able to come back with a better chance to help the country and people I love so much.” 

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