Preparing to major in Computer Science in New York
Pathway student Tun Tun Aung, from Myanmar, tells us about pursuing a degree in Computer Science with Kings New York at Concordia College.
What made you pursue a college degree in America?
I would say the reputation of US education and US degrees was the deciding factor. I also studied in the UK for 2 years and sometimes I feel like in the UK, unless you're studying at Oxford or Cambridge people in other places do not acknowledge your education. They just don't know about the smaller schools.
Also, as a child you see lots of films and products, and a lot of the good quality stuff is coming from the US and I eventually got attached to that.
What major are you interested in, and why?
I'm interested in pursuing a Computer Science major. You know, as a child, you're given a computer, you play games on it. So sometimes when playing those games, I would think about adding something, or changing something that would make the game better, and it linked me to thinking this type of work is something I want to pursue. It gave me direction.
Why did you choose to study at Kings Concordia?
I went to an agency. Initially I wanted to go to the (San Francisco) Bay Area in the US, but NY is more urban and cosmopolitan. Some may not like it, but I really like the urban setting of the city. The agency also gave me a detailed brief about Concordia College so that information was very helpful.
What’s your dream school you want to go to, after finishing your English Preparation and Pathway program?
I was originally considering MIT, but then I decided I wanted to go to NYU.
Why did you change your mind about MIT?
MIT has a great reputation and a beautiful campus, but NYU itself is not low in ranking either, and it's right in the heart of NYC. It also has a pretty prominent Computer Science program.
What are your plans after graduation?
After graduating from college I might want to pursue a master's degree, but before that I'd want to get some hands-on experience in the field. If I get established as a computer scientist, I might want to go back home and start a company.
Have you had any difficulties? What kind of assistance have you had?
Difficulties wise... not really, because things are relatively simple and straightforward. Challenge is keeping track of subject matters. Currently, I don't have Computer Science courses as I'm taking foundational freshman level courses, so I do a lot of self-study in the area of my interest.
In terms of studying at Concordia, I have no trouble meeting deadlines. Professors typically tell me to keep up the good work. I stay in good contact with my professors. I try to take advantage of studying at a small college, where it's easy to access the professors, to email them, ask them questions. So I often contact my professors directly if I have a question.
Which student activity have you enjoyed the most?
Probably the most memorable student activity was the bonfire on campus, where we sat around the fire pit and roasted marshmallows and corn. I'm the type of person that enjoys more relaxed activities, so I really liked that. I also went to the Chinese New Year celebration in NYC.
What is your favorite part of living in New York?
Accessibility to many of the things around here. Diversity in food, people, landscapes, architecture. I come from Burma, which has a lot of forests and not much diversity in landscapes, so I'm really enjoying the change. Also, before coming to the US I didn't really have a hobby, but now I enjoy going to museums. I went to the MET in NYC and to De Young Museum in San Francisco.
Is there anything you wish you'd prepared before starting school?
I guess I wish I had done more research about the things around Concordia College and how to get to places. For example, when I first arrived, I took a taxi to Manhattan to get some groceries, and the next day when I attended orientation at Kings, they said we were going to Target! So yes, my advice to future students would be to either do some research or wait for the information given to you during orientation.
That's a great piece of advice! Anything else you'd like to share?
What I would say to people interested in studying in NY is that, if you're already from an urban city, you may not find it too different. Otherwise, NYC can seem intimidating but don't worry about it. You get used to it.