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A Scholarship From Alaska Pacific University Gives Latvian Student An Opportunity To Study In The United States

Isn't receiving a scholarship a good reason to come to the United States? Edgars Vimba definitely thinks so. “My name is Edgars Vimba and I come from Latvia it is a small country located on the coast of Baltic Sea in Eastern Europe. The reason I came here is I have been offered a scholarship to come to Alaska Pacific University so that is a good reason to come I think,” he says. “I have always wanted to get an American education and so I thought I had been offered a scholarship so why not to come. “I am majoring in Business Administration and why I chose it honestly I like business and economics since eighth grade so I kind of interested in that stuff because I really like it.”

Edgars credits his experience of being outgoing and active back home to being a big help in his transition to coming to the United States and attending college. “So now I am attending Alaska Pacific University which is pretty small and private university located in Alaska Anchorage and I think in total there are about five hundred and fifty students and it is a personable university because everybody knows almost everybody and it is a nice, neat environment where you can feel really good,” he says. “I really like the professors and the school is really good and I would say for me the transition was pretty easy, but I would say the differences are pretty big ones. The good thing is I have already been involved in clubs and debate clubs back home in Latvia so I can of had the experience of networking and being around people and socializing because in America it is really important especially in the class discussion because back home we don’t have this kind of thing called class discussion that is what you guys have here in the United States and it helped me a lot to be able to express my opinion and to be able to express myself and not be shy.”

Staying involved with campus activities and associating with other international students Edgars is enjoying his time in the United States, but he says his visit to Washington, DC and having an opportunity to eat steak for the first time he will never forget. “I was really impressed with Washington, DC this was the first American city I saw so I came from Riga to London, from London to Washington, DC so this is quite impressive to see the Mall and the monument and that kind of stuff,” he says. “Also the one thing I am really enjoying here is steak. We don’t cook steak back home. We don’t do that stuff. We eat different kinds of meat, but not steak so that is something I am enjoying,” he says. “Also I was enjoying fast food, but now I am not a big fan of fast food anymore because I know it is not really good for myself and the people here eat fast food a lot more than back home because the fast food is really readily available almost on every corner,” he adds. “You have McDonalds, you have Arby’s and those kind of places, but we don’t have those back home that much. I think there are only two McDonalds in my home country and they are both in Riga, the capital of Latvia so that’s why I kind of been enjoying it on the first hand, but now that stage is kind of gone,” he says. “So I am back to steak and mash potatoes.”

Edgars is in is second year at Alaska Pacific University, but when he thinks about going back home he says he has alot of advice to share with others there that might be thinking about studying in the United States. “People back home in general some of them are kind of afraid because they think they will not be able to speak that well in English and that they will not be able to adjust to the lifestyle and that kind of thing. I would say people should be brave and just give it a shot because it is not that hard and if you really want it you can make it happen eventually and another thing is you learn by doing and learn by speaking by using the language so I would think that even people who have pretty poor or even fair language skills in Europe back home people should not be discouraged by that, but of course having sufficient background helps a lot,” he says. “Of course I interact with my American friends and this I think helps a lot to understand the culture. One thing is we talk about American traditions so when I ask what is the background of Halloween, what is the background of Labor Day or Memorial Day and those kind of things I have heard of them, but I really don’t know much about them so this kind of things we talk about and just about anything I would say.”

Afer graduation, Edgars says..”I initially plan to probably work for a year in the United States and gain some work experience and then go back home and work as a business consultant and start a business and encourage people to start a business because it is so important for my country to develop because business this is what the country’s economy is built on,” he says. “Also, I would like to do economic consulting for my government so this is why I consider economic education important for myself.”