Best friend is my inspiration to achieve my goals in college


Quynh Mai Thy Pham, Student Writer


Being an international student on the HCC’s orientation day 2 years ago, was an unforgettable moment since I moved to the States. However, I had a chance to make a lot of friends, and one of them is Melzandrick Diomampo (Mel), one of my best friends at Houston Community College since day one.

Mel comes from the Philippines and he is now a sophomore international student at HCC. Since we are both Asian, we have a lot of similar things to share with each other. His major is Biology after changing his major from Engineering. This is one thing that I admire about him, he finds out what he wants to do in the future, knows what is not suitable for him, and is brave enough to change his major and start again. In Vietnam, my hometown, we cannot change our major when we are attending university, it is complicated that students do not want to deal with since we need to take see if our scores are high enough.

Joining activities

Besides studying, he also joins the Student Association in HCC with a lot of activities which he needs to take part in after school. He aware of how important joining a school club is and it does help him when he interviews for a job, for every human resource department wants to find a graduated student with extracurricular activities. Moreover, he is also studying at Honor College, which he told me he applied for after his first semester at HCC. Studying in Honors is really competitive for him since Honor students have been excellent since they were in high school. Also, students need to maintain their good grades to be able to stay in Honor College. It makes me even more surprised about him since he has activities to do after work and still organizes his time to complete his assignments.

Mel with his certificate of finishing an extracurricular activity (the middle one)


At the moment, we are both last-year students at HCC, which means we are going to transfer to a university, and his choice was UT Health San Antonio. Transferring to university with a scholarship is his target to study hard for the past 2 years. He said that he is Filipino, and his mother tongue is not English, it was harder for him to study here so he had to try even harder than other students here, which is so inspiring that I cannot forget.

Tips for freshman international students

To finish the interview, he shared some tips from his own experience with the freshmen international student.

1.Make friends with many people:

International students tend to get closer together because they often meet first through an international student orientation class at the school and are surprised by new things when they arrive in the US. This is a great condition, but you should expand your circle of friends, including American students. Native students will teach you a lot about the culture and introduce you to their other friends. Make friends with them, and you might even be invited to an American Thanksgiving or an American Christmas. Besides, your English will improve significantly!

2. Don’t be ashamed of your differences:

It’s being different and growing up in a different world that makes you unique. Do not be afraid to talk about yourself and your culture, and your hometown. Your friends will love it as much as you love yourself.

3. Speak slowly and ask everyone to repeat:

As an international student, he was confused at first because English is not my primary language, so he talked quickly but never asked questions even though sometimes he did not understand. Therefore, speak slowly, pronounce clearly, and always ask questions if there is something you do not understand. People appreciate the question and will gladly talk to you.

4. Pursue your hobby:

The fastest way for people to get together is through activities. Remember to embrace what you love to do. Most schools have numerous clubs and organizations that welcome new members and volunteers. Look out for posters and flyers around campus, and ask your friends about their extracurricular activities. There will be at least one of these issues for you to care about.

If you can’t find anything you want to do, it’s still a good idea to stay calm and just try something new!