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  1. #1
    Senior Member Moiety's Avatar
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    Default Foreign students in the US

    Okay, so I'm considering studying in the US. I'm Portuguese and dropped out of college halfway through (Computer/Software Engineering) for various reasons.

    I always thought going to the US at some point after graduating, since that's the best place to look for a job in game development, which is my area of interest. I haven't graduated, but it's getting clear to me that the sooner I get there the sooner I'll be doing something I actually like. I've looked at some majors in various schools that have peaked my interest (mostly mixes of arts and technology and design).

    I've been doing some research about getting a student visa, but it doesn't seem to be that easy. There doesn't seem to be any one entity that could help me with the whole process and I'm an ENFP...so, let's just say bureaucracy is not my forté. Anyway, cutting to the chase...I was hoping to hear if any of you have some kind of experience with this. Do you know any foreigner that came to the US to study and how he/she went about it?

    One of the biggest hurdles seems to be financial. You have no idea how much the paradigm shifts when compared to tuition in portuguese universities. Even compared with European universities in general. I'm not sure if I'll have my parents backing me up, but do you know of any case of someone who managed to pay for his/her tuition without parental support or previous savings? Obviously, I'd be prepared to work while I studied. My question : is that enough?


    Also, when it comes to accreditation and usefulness and success rate, is getting a B.A. of any use in current day America? I don't know about there but around here B.A.s often stand for unemployment and are not as socially valued as B.S.s.


    I probably lost most of you, but I'd greatly appreciate some kind of help on the subject. Anything at all. Consider me a blank page on the topic of higher education in the US and how foreigners are regarded there.

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    mountain surfing nomadic's Avatar
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    i think california art institute is supposed to be a good game artist school. one of the tops in the US. some ppl would go to community college (santa monica college) and try to transfer to a top art school. i know most of the game development companies are either in the bay area or los angeles, like EA or that Counterstrike company.

  3. #3
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    No, no one goes to school without parental help or student loans and grants here unless you can win a scholarship. "Working through college" is a bit deceptive, because working alone isn't going to pay your tuition, it will just help you live while some other source pays for your tuition.

    Foreigners are generally well accepted here as far as I can tell. There are many non-natives even at my small liberal arts state college in WV.

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    Sugar Hiccup OrangeAppled's Avatar
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    If you're going into a form of commercial art, then a BA will be useful. It just depends on the career you want. I work in design, and a bachelor's degree is often required for the better paying jobs, but none I've seen specify BS or BA. Some schools give a BA and some a BS for the same major...usually BS holders do more technical design and BA holders do more artsy creative stuff though. Game development can go either way, depending on what aspect you do. If you have a bachelor's degree, a great digital portfolio, and good connections, then the BA or BS difference probably won't matter much.
    Often a star was waiting for you to notice it. A wave rolled toward you out of the distant past, or as you walked under an open window, a violin yielded itself to your hearing. All this was mission. But could you accomplish it? (Rilke)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sytpg View Post
    it's getting clear to me that the sooner I get there the sooner I'll be doing something I actually like.
    So the thought of staying put and getting some degree while working up a portfolio (start modding ) is not appealing? For game design, I do not think what your degree is in matters much at all (except coding I guess, but you probably dont want to code).

  6. #6
    No moss growing on me Giggly's Avatar
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    Okay, Stypg, I'll marry you.

    Jk. anyways, definitely come to California. It's expensive to live in or near the major metropolitan cities, but you can get a bazillion roommates while you're a student, and we have the most inexpensive education!

    We would welcome you.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Moiety's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lamp View Post
    So the thought of staying put and getting some degree while working up a portfolio (start modding ) is not appealing? For game design, I do not think what your degree is in matters much at all (except coding I guess, but you probably dont want to code).
    It is appealing in theoretical terms, yes. But the reality of it is that self-teaching, as a learning style, only works when life outside of game development gives me some contentment. I've threaded the path of sacrifice and the only thing I got out of it was self-awareness. My strengths are not in the technical side of things, and I can learn much more from interacting with people that have similar interests. A degree, in itself, won't teach me much unless it spices my appetite (computer engineering did not).

    Yes, I am aware that game design doesn't require a degree. But I want a degree so I can learn things...not as means to "objectively" distance myself from the unqualified competition.

    So I guess what I'm saying is that as an ENFP, my internal motivation is in the goal itself (i wanna create games) but external motivation is paramount too and dictates the means....which.... are definitely more attuned to my levels of personal happiness than reaching my goal. Sometimes the path is more important than the destination, and all that.


    You can imagine how the view of the jaded game dev community would probably say my philosophy doesn't stand a chance against the reality of the industry these days...but I feel I'm capable of exceeding my own expectations provided I'm properly motivated in life.

    Also, I'm still trying to figure out what exactly I would be good at.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sytpg View Post
    You can imagine how the view of the jaded game dev community would probably say my philosophy doesn't stand a chance against the reality of the industry these days...but I feel I'm capable of exceeding my own expectations provided I'm properly motivated in life..
    No, I think you make a really good point about learning by being around like-minded individuals.

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    Senior Member Kyrielle's Avatar
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    New Mexico and California are the places to go for game-related careers and schools.

    A lot of talent for digital media comes out of those areas. I'm not sure why.

    I must warn you, however, getting a job in the US right now is awful (unless you're a web technician or a nurse), and trying to work to pay for school is unlikely as school costs have gone up considerably in the past decade. 10-20+ years ago, you definitely could have worked to pay for school, but now the costs are too high.

    As for foreigners, the school I went to had many very talented students from other countries and they were happily welcomed into the fold.
    "I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference."

    Robert Frost

  10. #10
    Senior Member sandwich's Avatar
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    Most of our international students come from China or Korea, but there are plenty from the rest of the world, as well. I know that the rates for internationals is fairly steep, but there are also schools with which we have partnerships and exchanges. I'm not sure if yours would, but there's a growing interest in Central Asia, so it's possible.

    We have great programs for CS and related sciences, and also a decent Digital Arts department.

    Edit: Ah, I missed the Portuguese part and concentrated on the Mongolian steppes. Bah.

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