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Community college: One Brazilian footballer’s path to become an engineer in the US

Mussi, has aims to study Civil Engineering after getting his Science associate's degree, and also continue his career in soccer. Source: Jorge Mussi

Jorge Mussi, a 20-year old Brazilian far away from home is currently studying to get his Science associate’s degree at Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) — a more than supportive educational institution. Mussi is one of the first recipients of the Holiday Gift Bags from the PHCC Patriot Pantry, and not the last as this college has made one for every single international student. 

Being an international student is not the easiest thing — studying abroad, having to start a new life, and living in a different country with a different language and culture take guys and time. Still, it was always Jorge Mussi’s dream. “I would have more opportunities and I would be able to have an athletic scholarship to complete my degree,” he tells us. 

He chose to pursue a Science associate’s degree to build his qualification towards a Civil Engineering bachelor’s degree. It’s the natural path for Mussi, as he always wanted to build things and also work with energy. Read on below on what else Mussi has to add about PHCC:

Why did you choose to pursue your Science associate’s degree course at PHCC?

I am doing my Science associate’s degree at PHCC because I am planning to transfer and pursue a Civil Engineering degree and the Science Associate’s would help me towards that path. I also chose PHCC because of the community involvement, the support from staff and that I would be able to play soccer whilst completing my degree. 

Do you think it would have made a difference if you got a Science associate’s degree or a Civil Engineering bachelor’s degree at a local institution? If so, why?

It would have definitely been different. But in my opinion, not necessarily one better than the other. If I had chosen to study at a local institution, I would be living with my parents, close to my friends and it would be easier. 

Mussi has felt tremendous support from PHCC who have become his family away from home. Source: Jorge Mussi

By studying abroad, I needed to adapt to a new country, with a new language and culture. I feel that I am more independent now, and I create my own path. 

What has been your most memorable class so far — and why?

My most memorable class so far has been Physics I. Studying and conducting lab assignments for this class, especially during COVID-19, was a hard challenge, but awesome!

How have your lecturers supported you in your studies thus far?

I am a curious future Civil Engineering degree student. Every time I don’t understand something or I want to learn more about it, I talk to the professors who are extremely receptive. My College Composition II professor helped me out every single day. 

Sometimes we talked for hours after class. This professor also invited me to be part of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honour Society, of which I am now the Vice President of the Chapter at my college. 

How has PHCC given you support during COVID-19?

PHCC was extremely important to me during the COVID-19 lockdowns. All the staff helped us with care packages and the COVID Emergency Fund. 

What are your academic goals after getting your Science associate’s degree?

My academic goals are to get my Science associate’s degree first at PHCC, transfer to complete my Civil Engineering degree and later pursue my master’s. I have gained some skills during these 18 months in the US — learning English as a second language, mathematical skills, oral communication, written communication, leadership, decision-making and problem-solving skills. 

Jorge Mussi is also a soccer fanatic and has plans to continue playing in the US. Source: Jorge Mussi

What is one thing you miss from home and how do you substitute it?

I miss my family and friends back in Brazil. It is hard to live far from them, but luckily I have good friendships with my roommates, and we help and support each other with everything. 

Do you plan to progress further after getting your Civil Engineering bachelor’s degree in the US?

After graduating, I plan to do my Optional Practical Training for international students and work as a civil engineer in the US. 

What advice do you have for international students?

Go to bed with a dream, wake up with a purpose! You can achieve anything if you put your mind to it!