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Meet the Golden West College student who’s ready & confident to transfer to four-year universities


For a strategic, cost-effective path to success, choose Golden West College (GWC). Located in the heart of sunny Southern California, it is a top choice for international students seeking a strong foundation before advancing to a four-year institution. Here, they have the keen attention of faculty and staff as they find their footing in the US education system. This is precisely why Chloe Pham from Vietnam chose it as her launchpad to success.

“These services were established to help us succeed,” she says. “Plus, GWC has a reputation for providing a high-quality education through a diverse range of academic programmes led by experienced faculty.”

Chloe was passionate about numbers and wanted to turn it into a high-flying career — and give back whenever she could. Dedicated teachers back home turned her weakness in maths into a strength and Chloe wanted to pay this forward.

“My history of conquering math anxiety drives me to help others do the same with empathy and patience,” she shares. “I now mentor youth in my Vietnamese community struggling with their own numerical challenges. Coming to GWC, I could not wait to bring my unique perspective to the accounting program and mentor others to unlock their potential.”

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When she first arrived in California in Fall 2021, Chloe discovered a whole new world. The language was different, as were social norms. Although not fully confident in her English communication skills then, Chloe seized the chance to strike up conversations with her peers and professors. Soon, she was more sure of herself. Her new friends helped her experiment with new clothing styles and better understand the US’s tipping culture, too.

Adapting and growing in America

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“The individualist culture here was quite different from the more collective culture I grew up with in Vietnam,” Chloe says. “However, my new surroundings have taught me so much about my own self-sufficiency, resilience, and ability to adapt to unfamiliar environments.”

Feeling stronger and more self-assured, Chloe was ready to embrace new knowledge. Through the Introduction to Business course, she explored the diverse facets that govern the corporate world, ranging from marketing and operations to finance and human resources. In Financial Accounting classes, she mastered the language of business performance communicated through financial statements. “My professor explained accounting terminology and principles excellently,” she says. “By evaluating statements from actual companies, the relevance of this work was clear.”

Classes that empower and energise

Her Principles of Microeconomics class was just as exciting. This was where Chloe and her peers faced the challenge of unraveling market behaviors and trends. Her professor skillfully navigated this complex landscape, using examples that brought economic theories to life. The course honed her

analytical skills and deepened her understanding of the choices made by consumers and businesses within specific economic contexts.

Chloe accomplished a lot in these courses, thanks to the educators who led them — Bern Baumgartner, Herman Singh, and Aleksandra Uchlik. All three went beyond merely imparting knowledge. They made lectures engaging and were always available to offer personalized guidance.

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Today’s students,

tomorrow’s informed citizens

Studying abroad pushes us out of our comfort zone. In the academic context, it lets us experience another education system. For Chloe, this has been enlightening in many ways.

A standout moment etched in her memory is a classroom debate on the death penalty. With students hailing from various US states, as well as countries like Nigeria, India, and China, the richness of opinions left a lasting impression on Chloe. 

Some arguments were rooted in principles of justice or religious teachings, conveying moral objections to capital punishment. Others took a practical approach, questioning the effectiveness of the death penalty as a deterrent. Personal narratives added depth to the discussion as students shared stories of affected loved ones.

“Studying alongside domestic students and professors trained me to think more critically and engage in academic debates — skills I had limited exposure to back home,” she shares. “The experience is preparing me well for achieving my long-term goals.”

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“While opinions varied drastically, the thoughtful discussion and atmosphere led us to find common ground in acknowledging the immense complexity behind policy decisions,” Chloe shares. “I still have much to learn on my educational journey, but immersed in the generous exchange of perspectives from fellow international and domestic students alike, I feel my worldview expanding in incredible ways.”

Excellence within and beyond classrooms

During her free time, Chloe served as a leader and mentor to her fellow international students. As Executive Secretary of the Associated Students of Golden West College (ASGWC), she managed meeting agendas and protocols, participated in the hiring committee, and coordinated events.

Currently, as a Student Assistant at the International Student Program (ISP) office, Chloe is crucial in outreach and promotion, administrative support, and serving as a GWC ambassador for international students. “I love helping international students navigate social situations and adjust to life in a new cultural environment,” she says.

Balancing work and study requires disciplined time management, so Chloe relies on a carefully planned calendar to allocate dedicated hours for classes, studying, work, and personal time. She also makes it a point to be transparent with her supervisors, who always encourage her to leverage valuable experiences.

“I believe these roles demonstrate the power of student leaders in creating positive change on campus. These experiences have definitely solidified my passion for empowering underserved groups. I am grateful I could represent my diverse student body and amplify each voice.

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Big dreams, bigger impact

Months away from graduating, Chloe has set her sights on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) and the California State University (Cal State) system for her next academic adventure. UWM's appeal lies in its diverse student and faculty community, reflecting a global perspective that could potentially build on her GWC experience. Meanwhile, Cal State, known for its practical approach and hands-on learning, offers an ideal environment for mentorship with small class sizes.

“Regardless, I am confident my time at GWC has helped me hone abilities crucial for succeeding at any four-year college. Navigating large course loads in subjects like calculus, chemistry, and English literature developed my self-motivation and time management abilities. Group projects and presentations strengthened teamwork as well as communication skills. Guiding support from GWC professors and advisors gave me the tools to chart an academic plan for transferring,” she explains.

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“So whether UWM, Cal State, or elsewhere, I feel ready to take the next step thanks to the wonderful foundation at Golden West.”

An enriching education awaits at Golden West College.

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