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Not many families understand the value of a community college education in the United States. It’s a wonderful way to begin your studies without paying so much money. While at community college, you can take general and specialized subjects to help you decide what you want to study. After two years, you can apply to 4-year universities and transfer your credits. One of our alumni, Pamela Martinez (Class of 2009), went that route and has been very successful.

Pamela’s dream of studying in the U.S. came tumbling down her senior year. The family business wasn’t doing well enough and times were rough. Ni modo, her second best option was to go to TEC. However, that summer, while vacationing in California, she drove by MiraCosta Community College and decided to check it out. She and her parents decided that was a great option for her: she had people to stay with, it was relatively inexpensive and after 2 years she could transfer to another university! At MiraCosta, they took one look at her credentials (honor roll, NHS, bilingual, good grades) and did everything in their power to convince her to stay. During the past 2 years, Pamela has worked hard, earning countless honors on the way. She worked on student council, did community service, etc. She just graduated with honors having earned her associate degree. She even got a monetary award! She applied to various universities as a transfer student and got accepted at UCLA, UC San Diego, and Berkley. She’ll be headed to Berkley this fall. Her dream has come true!

Community college is a great option for many reasons. It’s a great idea for families with limited funds. It’s also useful for students who have not been very motivated during high school and don’t have great grades. It’s also a good idea for those students who have no idea what they want to study or where. Community colleges give a student 2 years of college-level education, which can then be transferred to a 4-year university. Those credits go towards your Bachelor’s degree- you don’t waste time. Over half of the undergraduate students in the United States start off at community college and almost 40% of all the international students in the U.S. begin this way.

Something to think about…

Alejandro Riefkohl Lisci, MD (Class of 1996)

Alejandro graduated from the American School of Puerto Vallarta in 1996. He obtained his Medical Doctor Degree from Universidad Anahuac, Mexico City, in 2004. He completed a medical residency at the J Willis Hurst Internal Medicine Residency Program, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, in 2010. During his training at Emory University he was actively involved in the development and teaching of the Evidence Based Medicine Curriculum for internal medicine residents. He participated in the Global Health Scholars Program, traveling to Ethiopia for clinical rotations at the All Africa Leprosy, Tuberculosis, Rehabilitation, Research & Training Center (ALERT), and at the Black Lion Hospital/Addis Ababa University. He has volunteered his time teaching medical students in Mexico City, has received numerous academic awards and has published in peer reviewed medical journals. He is currently at Boston University School of Public Health doing collaborative research in epidemiology as part of an ongoing investigation studying an epidemic of chronic kidney disease of unknown cause among sugarcane workers in Nicaragua.

Congratulations Alejandro!

Ayelet Gabriel (Class of 2001)
I asked her for an update on her life and here’s what she responded:
I’ve been doing well! After high school I lived in a Kibbutz for a year. Then I did an intensive dance course at the Ballet Nacional de Mexico in Bellas Artes. After that, I joined the IDF, the Israeli army and did my two year service in Intelligence. Right after that I started my degree at the University of Victoria in BC. I did my degree in three years in Political Science and Middle Eastern studies. And right after that I was accepted to direct an NGO, and I’m going for my third year now as Director. That’s the past ten years in a nutshell! 🙂

Michael Armando Diaz (Class of 2006)
To my beloved former second family, also known as the Colegio Americano:
I report that upon graduating from the American School I went on to receive a B.S. in Advertising and Public Relations at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). As it was a requirement of most undergrads, but more than anything an invaluable learning experience, I spent two quarter terms doing paid internships at a full Advertising agency in Washington, D.C. Having learned the craft and account portions of advertising, my next goal is to earn a Master of Business Administration degree at RIT.


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