Monica Tran, 2019

Major: Childhood Education
Hometown: Caledon, Ontario, Canada

“My goal is to teach K-3 back home in Canada. I’m getting a good foundation here, and the classes are very small, which I like.”

As a high school student in Ontario, Canada, Monica Tran had never heard of St. Thomas Aquinas College. But when STAC’s head softball coach approached her after a tournament, Monica decided she’d travel down to Sparkill and take a look.

Today, Monica calls the STAC campus her home away from home—and her teammates her family away from home.

“I was looking at some colleges in Canada, as well as some in North Carolina,” Monica says. “I really liked STAC’s campus and class size, and the location was closer to home than some of the schools I was considering.”

Because she is enrolled in STAC’s dual-degree program in education, Monica will graduate with her bachelor’s degree in childhood education and her master’s degree in special education within five years.

Monica says her life as an international student at STAC has been an easy transition and that she enjoys her classes. This spring, she begins her first season as an outfielder for STAC’s Division II softball team. She says the experience has been rewarding so far.

She says she would tell prospective students from outside the U.S. to make sure their high-school courses are transferrable to American institutions.

“Do your research and make sure you’re taking the right courses in high school,” Monica advises, “and brush up on the grading system in the U.S. because there are differences in the way grades are computed.”

After graduation, Monica plans to teach primary school in Canada, although she says she would not be opposed to staying in the U.S. if the right teaching opportunity comes along.

“My professors really know what they’re talking about, and I love that the classes are so small that they know my name,” Monica says. “The professors and the program have been very engaging so far.”