Student Profiles

Want to learn more about TCALC through our students? Read and learn about their experience!

António Matias Buenga
Yousef Albacker
Bella Oktay
Diana Vicezar

Meet António Matias Buenga from Angola

Why did you decide to come to Temple?

First, Temple University Center For American Language and Culture actually chose me. Secondly, initially, I was at Rowan University, but it did not match my English level. As a result, they transferred me to Temple University due to my English level

Where is your favorite place on campus?

 In fact, I do not have a favorite place on campus because Temple has so many resources. However, there are some places that I often use, such as Charles Library, the School of Art building, the gym, the technology area, and the English classrooms and TCAL office, where I frequently find helpful people who guide me.

What's the most memorable thing you have seen or done in Philadelphia so far?

 I believe that I have two unforgettable experiences. Firstly, the English Learning Service class, where I witnessed various institutions and individuals selflessly working to support those in need. They provide assistance with food, goods, and shelter, take care of animals, and alleviate the suffering of both people and animals. Secondly, I was amazed by the way Americans celebrate July 4th.

What's the best lesson you have learned while studying English in the U.S.?

Reading about the history of black people in the USA and being a foreigner, I thank God and Christ for allowing me to meet wonderful American people who treat me with love and fraternity. Moreover, this country truly offers opportunities and high-quality education in academic fields. We just need to be patient and know what we want to achieve and contribute as well.

What would you tell other international students who are coming to study in the U.S. for the first time?

If you believe that the USA is one of the greatest nations in the world, join them and you will become as powerful as they are, particularly academically.

student review from Temple

Meet Yousef Albacker from Kuwait

How has the IELP help you to improve your English?

It has not only helped me to improve my English, it also gave me an opportunity to meet various other people. Especially the teachers - they are very open-minded. I recently was with one of my teachers in their hometown. They showed us their community gardens.

What’s your favorite meal from your home country and how is it made?

It has to be one of my mom’s meals, chicken and rice. There’s a lot of ways you can cook it. It’s basically like steamed rice and fried chicken, but it doesn’t have the same kind of coating that you would find on American fried chicken.

Do you have a favorite American food?

It has to be hoagies. I’ve been trying a few hoagies around the city and everybody has their own style. Now, cheesesteaks - you have to stay away from too many. It’s a major problem!

Where do you see yourself after you finish at the IELP? What do you want to do next?

I was recently accepted into the Tyler School of Art at Temple. I’m going to be doing graphic design.

What advice would you give to other students coming to study in the U.S.?

In the beginning, people will feel overwhelmed by the culture and the language, but I want to tell them that it takes some time to break that barrier. It’s not always studying, and eventually there will be some time for yourself to walk around campus and meet other people who are interested in your major. You need to have a lot of patience. Not everything comes immediately. Go outside, discover the city.

student review from Temple

Meet Bella Oktay from Turkey

Why did you choose the Center's Intensive English Language Program?

I joined one class at each university in Philadelphia to observe, and Temple was the best one! It was easy to access and the price was really good.

How has the IELP helped you improve your English?

I had an English education background in Turkey in my high school, but I was really shy about speaking English. After my first week at the IELP, I started to talk to people because you have to! My teachers make me less shy. We also talk about U.S. history and culture – more than I even learned from my American husband!

What are some things you’ve seen or done in the U.S.?

I've been to Miami, Key West and Fort Lauderdale in Florida, as well as Memphis and Mississippi to see my husband’s family. I’ve also been to Washington, D.C., New York and Boston. I want to see Oregon and Yosemite next!

What is your advice to other international students thinking of coming to the U.S. to study?

BELLA: Don’t be shy. Ask questions. Do your homework. And always push the limits.

Bella is now on her way to reaching her goals: she was accepted to the Temple School of Law!

student review from Temple

Meet Diana Vicezar from Paraguay

What was your first impression of Philadelphia? 

Before my time with Temple's EducationUSA Academy program, I researched the city and discovered that it was BEAUTIFUL, but when I arrived I realized that it was GORGEOUS. I loved Philly and I would really like to visit it again.

What was the best thing you saw or did in the U.S.? 

Go to Temple University! I fell in love with the whole campus. It's like what we see in the movies.

What have you been up to since the program? 

EducationUSA Academy at Temple gave me the opportunity to get an inside perspective on higher education in the United States, meet amazing people and have fun during the summer. Thanks to everything I learned in the Academy, I was able to apply to universities in the United States and get closer to fulfilling my dream.

What are some of the things you’ve learned from participating in a program with people from so many different countries? 

I had the opportunity to share with 17 wonderful people for 3 weeks. The experience of living with my classmates and chaperones was very enriching, because although we all came from different countries with different cultures and backgrounds, we all had the same dream of studying in the United States. Thanks to the Academy, I can say that I have siblings in 15 countries around the world.

What advice would you give to other students thinking about studying in the U.S.? 

Never give up! Studying in the United States is an incredible experience that you will always remember.  If your dream is to study in the US, look for all the programs that can help you and, if you are a high school student, apply to the EducationUSA Academy at Temple.