Hanne Katrin Martinsen, 22, has seen the world. She comes from a family who believes cultural perspectives are key to success, especially her grandfather, a fervent champion of cross-border education.
She spent her junior year of high school in Minnesota, US. When she returned to Northern Germany, she missed Minnesota and “the Land of the Free” — a lot. Martinsen was determined to go back to the US for higher education. This time around, she would pick a state that would push her out of her comfort zone while nurturing her passion. Her needs were specific and only one destination measured up.
“I really wanted to study in California,” she says. “Golden West College had the best programs. I was very interested in criminal justice and when I saw that they were one of the first colleges to have a police academy on campus, my decision was made. Because of the college, I’ve decided to stay here.”
Golden West College (GWC) has this effect on international students. Located in the coastal community of Huntington Beach, otherwise known as “Surf City,” GWC’s campus is known as one of the most beautiful in Southern California.
Life here is smooth, with vistas that move the soul –– in close proximity to anything and everything a student could ever need such as golden beaches, an international airport, various delectable cuisines, diverse communities, Disneyland, and much more.
You can’t put a price on an experience, which is why GWC ensures all students a foundational, educational experience at a reasonable cost –– making it the perfect destination for students looking to first experience their passions before coming to a definite decision.
Once ready, they join the many students who have successfully transferred to top universities such as California State University and the University of California –– with transfer rates placing GWC among the top 10% of all community colleges in California.
All aspirations are welcomed. GWC offers several majors and programs that lead to an associate’s degree or certificate. Industry-based, university transferable topics cover Anthropology, Art, Automotive Technology, Biology, Business Administration, Chemistry, Communication Studies, Computer Science, Cosmetology, Criminal Justice, Digital Arts, Economics, English, Geography, Geology, Management, Marketing, Music, Nursing, Philosophy, and more.
With initial plans to become a dental hygienist, Khanh Tran is currently dabbling with Accounting and Business Law while developing her American Sign Language Interpreting (ASL) skills to better communicate with her aunt and uncle, who are both hard of hearing. Thanks to GWC, she’s realized her true calling to become a Certified Public Accountant.
She’s having the time of her life getting there. Tran describes life in Huntington Beach as “just the most perfect thing ever.” Her childhood prepared her for it. Growing up, the bubbly international student from Vietnam spent countless hours watching Disney Channel which helped her develop her English speaking skills in ways books could never.
“I was so obsessed with the American accent that I would imitate the way actors and actresses speak and repeat their lines nonstop,” she explains. “I was also very interested in American culture. Therefore, when my mom asked where I wanted to study abroad, I said the US!”
Of course, her excitement came with mild reservations. Tran worried she would struggle to fit in or find fellow international students who understood her culture. However, after choosing GWC –– where her elder cousin had once thrived –– her worries were put to rest.
The city and campus were home to many Vietnamese staff, students and residents who were always welcoming and ready to lend a helping hand. Tran lives close to campus in Westminster, home to a large Vietnamese community.
“There are also international students here from all parts of the world that I’ve gotten to make friends with,” she says. “Not only have I been able to learn about their cultures and languages, but I’ve also been able to widen my connections.”
Unibuddy is an added perk that connects the community, enhancing interaction and building enduring relationships in the process. Through the app, interested applicants can chat with a GWC ambassador and have all their burning questions answered.
“It’s hard to leave your home country behind and start a new student life in a new country,” shares Tran. “With the platform, students get to know how it is to be a student at a school in the US.”
There are more perks. “You can also connect with students who have experiences in this direction,” says Martinsen. “Or you can find friends and get to know each other’s cultures.”
If you would like to prepare yourself for a vibrant education at GWC or life in Surf City, Martinsen and Tran are both currently serving as “uni-buddies” to help you get there. To connect with them or one of GWC’s many other representatives, click here.