It all started for Sean Watts in
high school, his interest and love for computers has stayed with him and
carried over into college.
“I am studying Computer Science, a master’s degree in Computer Science with specialization in Software Engineering. Being back in high school I liked the idea of computers and Computer Science, but my brother who is older than me he did some classes in Computer Science in our high school and when we got a personal computer I was able to use his computer and from there my love affair with computers started from there,” he says.
“So there I transitioned to college and I did Computer Science in undergrad and now I am also doing Computer Science at a master’s level."
Coming here wasn't a big adjustment for Sean because his undergraduate as well as his graduate studies has taken place in the United States. “Well I am originally from the Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago. I came to the United States because I wanted to further my academic career.
Actually I came here as an undergrad. I did my undergrad degree at a school called Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Then I transitioned to graduate school and now I am attending Clemson University in the city of Clemson in the upstate of South Carolina.”
Sean's masters program is for two years. Currently, he is in his final semester and plans to graduate in December. Sean says both his academic and social experiences at Clemson have been good for him. “Well, I have had a positive experience at Clemson. It’s the largest school in Clemson because my undergrad only had about five or six thousand[people].
Clemson has an enrollment of about seventeen or eighteen thousand, but the town is not that big, but the campus is large enough and there are a lot of activities and students always have fun downtown or even on campus,” he says. As far as the social atmosphere, there is a lot of stuff to do.
“The academic atmosphere is very conducive and everybody is always into [their] studies when it is time for studying and there is always academic help if you need help,” he says. “Faculty is always willing to support you. There are also establishments where you can get [help] from your fellow peers so it is a very conducive atmosphere for studies.”
There are some cultural differences being a student here versus being home in Trinidad. Sean says.. “To be honest it is a little different because in the Caribbean culture a lot of people they stay home. They live at home even into their late twenties and sometimes, early thirties they live at home. Here, younger people seventeen and eighteen they are living away from home.
College life they will leave home and live in the dorms and even if they are not going to college, a lot of times I have encountered people who are just ready to leave home eighteen, nineteen, twenty they don’t want to be in their mother or father’s house anymore and that doesn’t really happen in Trinidad,” he says.
“Most times you stay with your
parents until you get married and then you move out or something like
that. That is one major
difference. Another difference I would
say that a lot of times American students they have jobs when they are
teenagers, fifteen or sixteen. They
work at a fast food joint or they go to a mall and they work. That doesn’t readily happen in Trinidad as
well so those are two major differences I can say just off the top of my head.”
Sean also says there are more opportunities offered to international students than choosing to attend a college or university back home. “Well it’s a large opportunity. Back in Trinidad there are a couple of universities, but it is more competitive because its a small island and its also expensive,” he says.
“Here, there are a lot of universities welcome international students and they give them scholarships. In undergrad I was on a full academic scholarship for my undergrad program and like I said here at Clemson I was still able to get a [financial] package. So it is a big opportunity then from here you are able to transition into the job market if you so desire or go back home. A lot of people get opportunities here that we would not readily get in our native countries.”
Sean's advice to other students wanting to study in the United States is..."If you get the chance do your Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), do your Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) and apply because like I said before the U-S and the U-S universities readily accept and they love international students. They know that international students are going to work hard and they are going to produce for themselves as well for the universities,” he says.
“I would advise anyone and when I talk to people back home I say try to come and study in the U-S because it is a big opportunity!