Taking English and University Preparation in New York
5 June, 2019
Chun-Yu Chao, from Taiwan, started at Kings New York as an English Language student, and has progressed on to the Undergraduate Preparation Program. She tells us about her experience on both courses, and plans for a degree in Fashion Design.
Hi Chun-Yu, what are you studying at the moment?
I am studying UPP Level 4 at Kings NY at Concordia College.
Before I started the UPP program, I took English classes through the EFL program. I took classes with teacher Suzi and it was a great class. I really enjoyed it. I had an opportunity to improve my speaking skills by exchanging information with my classmates about our experiences and discussing various topics with the help of the teacher. One of my favorite assignments in the EFL program was to write a movie review!
As part of my EFL course, I also did the English for Fashion, Art & Design SIG class for 4 weeks. In my high school I also studied art and design in Mandarin so it was interesting to learn about the history of fashion and art in English. This course was very helpful because it gave me a lot of vocabulary words in my area of interest.
How was your transition on to the UPP program?
UPP program is more academic. It gives you skills that you need to enter college. You work with a book called Pathway, so you need to learn academic vocabulary, writing skills, and, of course, listening. In the morning class, we do a lot of reading of articles to make sure we can make sense of the reading.
In the afternoon classes, we prepare presentations and then present on different topics. Before giving a presentation, we write an outline of the presentation for the teacher to review. If your outline is not clear, the teacher will ask you for clarification; ask you for examples and details to support your reasons.
What made you pursue a degree in America?
I graduated from high school in 2016. We have a big test for entering the university or college in Taiwan. When I took the university entrance exam, I was sick so I scored lower than expected. After the results, my mom asked me, 'Do you want to go to America to study there?' I thought my mom was joking, but I gave her a very serious answer that, Yes! I wanted to study in America.
In the meantime, I still started my bachelor's degree at a university in Taiwan with a major in Industrial Design. Another reason why I wanted to come to the US was because I wanted to change my major to Fashion Design.
I love fashion design because if someone wears clothes that you design, it makes you feel proud. I also love reading about fashion trends, what is popular each year. It's amazing that fashion changes every year.
Why did you choose to study with Kings at Concordia?
My agent explained to me how the Arts Pathway Program works. She told me I could study at Concordia for 1 year and then either study at Concordia or transfer to a different school.
What are your 'dream schools' you want to go, after finishing your UPP and Pathway program?
Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City! I actually researched this school when I was in high school but my TOEFL score was not enough for attending FIT, so now after completing the Kings Pathway program, I hope to finally attend FIT!
What are your plans after graduation?
I want to work in a big company, and maybe after three years of working with a big brand and learning how the system of marketing and design works, I will come up with my own brand.
Have you had any difficulties with classes or life in general?
I have managed well in all of my classes. I knew that I had to study hard because it is a lot of money that we are paying for this education, so I have been working really hard.
What kind of assistance do you get from Kings staff?
Our Campus Support Coordinator Jodi, and Progression Manager Chris, have been very helpful. Jodi helps with the activities and Chris helps with planning my future education.
Which student activity have you enjoyed the most?
My favorite activities were Christmas tree ornament decorating and also canvas painting. These activities were relaxing and fun.
What do you usually do after school or at weekends?
After school, I usually finish homework and review some lessons from the day. On the weekends sometimes we go to Flushing in Queens for some good Chinese and Taiwanese food. There is also a Taiwanese beverage store in Flushing. It is great!
What is your favorite part of living in New York?
I love the variety. In New York City, you can engage in a different activity every week. For example, I went to a pop-up Coach exhibition in SoHo, and it was free! It surprised me because these kinds of activities in Taiwan are very limited or very expensive, especially students don't have such opportunities in Taiwan.
Is there anything you wish you had prepared before starting school?
I think having a portfolio would have helped me. If you want to be a designer, you need to start putting together your portfolio. Also, learning some positive and useful slang or learning how the local people speak would have been helpful. For example, 'Have a good one!'
Anything else you'd like to share?
I want to tell all students that it's very important to have an open mind. Everyone comes here alone, with no one accompanying you, and you may feel isolated. It is important to have an open mind to make new friends. I have made a lot of new friends. We have very similar experiences and things in common.