Student Spotlight: Chanbopha Loera
When Chanbopha Loera came to the U.S. for the first time, she was hardly able to speak or write a word in English. When she later returned, armed with a high school diploma from Cambodia, she enrolled in an ESL class at College of DuPage.
“This ESL class greatly improved my speaking and writing skills, but I know I needed more,” she said. “My husband strongly encouraged me to get a GED because this certificate would be recognized by any U.S. employer and college. In 2011, I took the placement test and was enrolled first in pre-GED (ABE) and then the GED preparation course the following semester. This road was not easy and more than once I planned to quit, but my family strongly encouraged me to finish it.”
In 2012, Loera passed the GED and is now working on her associate’s degree in Accounting, having already completed the Clerical Accounting Certificate and Accounting Certificate. After that, she would like to earn her bachelor’s in Business Management and Financial Accounting and take advantage of the 3+1 program with Benedictine University.
Her goal is to own her own business, something she has dreamed about since a young age.
“I’ve learned that accounting is not just numbers but also it is communications between businesses. I feel that if I understand the depth of business, which is accounting, I would operate my business effectively,” she said. “After I passed the GED, I had tried my first accounting class. Though challenging and I often was asking for extra help, I received a ‘B’ and my first four college credit hours! I was more motivated and confident than ever that my college goals would be realized.”
While at College of DuPage, Loera has received several scholarships through the COD Foundation: the GED Jump Start, GED Certificate, Keiser Accounting, Marszalek Memorial and Foundation Textbook scholarships. All help fund her education, especially when she was working second shift and taking care of her family.
But her life changed after attending the 2015 Career Fair, co-sponsored annually by College of DuPage.
“I met the Vice President of Human Resources of West Suburban Bank and Trust. She liked my resume and called me for an interview on the Wednesday after the fair, and I got an offer on Friday,” she said. “None of this would have been happened without the Career Services faculty members, who helped me to build and revise my resume and cover letter. I had attended all the pre-fair seminars – LinkedIn 101, Wow Them for 2 Minutes, and Resume Drop-In – which prepared me for the Career Fair.”
Loera, who is still at West Suburban Bank in the Consumers Lending Department, eventually would like to obtain an MBA in Finance. She thanks her husband and son for giving her the support to pursue her college education and College of DuPage for helping her achieve her goals. In particular, she is thankful for the knowledgeable professors, the Office of Student Financial Aid, the Learning Commons and the Library.
“College of DuPage has wonderful programs starting with ABE, ESL, GED, and then many majors of study, for example the Accounting 3+1 program. The classes are inexpensive and available in the morning and also the evening. With my improved English skills and my GED in hand, I have opened more doors in my new country than I could have ever imagined.
“Since I have received my GED, I have visited GED Preparation classes, given a speech for the 2012 and 2013 GED graduations, and created a GED testimonial that is shown many times throughout the year, encouraging students to continue their studies here at COD. In each of these cases, I describe my experiences of learning English, achieving my GED, and beginning my college career. I have spoken to hundreds of COD students who are in the situation I was not long ago.
“I hope these others students gain a wide perspective and see the great opportunity of education that COD has to offer in many significant ways. My advice to them is to not give up, ask for help and apply for scholarships. I believe the only person who can limit your future and all you want to be is you.”
College of DuPage
425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn IL, 60137
(630) 942-2800 (Main)
(630) 942-3000 (Student Services)
2017 College of DuPage