International student appreciates Oakton’s diversity and making friends from different backgrounds


Courtesy of Bilguun Boldchingis

Bilguun Boldchingis came to the United States four years ago. He tells of his challenges and his experience here so far.

Mandy Zoljargal

The U.S. has over 1 million international students according to International Student, and Bilguun Boldchingis is one of them. International students have unique experiences, point of views, and a set of challenges due to their cultural background and unique circumstances.

Bilguun Boldchingis came to the U.S. four years ago from Mongolia which is located in Central Asia next to China and Russia. Boldchingis said,“If I mention Genghis Khan, everyone starts to recall Mongolia.”

Boldchingis pointed out the education system in America, “is more focused on teaching students to be independent learners and critical thinkers.”

He said, “In Mongolia, I think the schools had a tendency to focus on making sure students are obedient and following the rules. I’m glad that there’s been changes over there.”

As any other student whose first language is not English, Boldchingis faced quite a few challenges in his classes. He said, “Reading and comprehending textbooks was challenging. It was time-consuming to go through all the texts because I had to look up every vocabulary that I didn’t know.”

On top of struggling to stay on top of his readings, he said, “The most challenging part was to keep up with the pace of the class.”

The resources that are available for ESL students helped with some of his challenges, and he advises students to seek help and resources when they need it.

He said, “The first semester at Oakton, I had a particularly strict English instructor. At that time, I wasn’t quite familiar with run-on and fragment sentences.” The English instructor is known among students for her strict grading.

He continued, “I remember failing the first essay and was advised to go to a tutor.”

Boldchingis went to the library for his tutoring session as advised. Looking back he is thankful that he went. He said, “ in the tutoring session, I remember learning that I can’t use the word ‘although’ as a substitute for ‘however’.”

Boldchingis comes across as a bright and social person. He has friends from many different backgrounds. He said, “What I like about Oakton is the diversity of students. I made many friends from different backgrounds, and it helped me to broaden my worldview.”

At first, when making friends, Boldchingis used to get nervous speaking in English. He said, “There were times I felt nervous. The biggest challenge was my own inner voice. It would ask things like, ‘Did I make a fool of myself?’ ”

Fortunately, he was able to calm his nerves. He said, “The only way to get over it was to talk to people over and over again.”