Derek W. Croydon “I always hope international students won’t be afraid to speak English. They should try to think in English as much as they can.”

Derek Croydon of Hong Kong currently speaks Chinese and English and is rapidly adding on German. “I studied German one year when I was going to school in England,” he says. And German will come in handy when Derek begins to study Freud and Jung on his way to a Ph.D. in psychology. “I chose my major not only to develop myself,” he says, “but also to help people from different countries communicate well. Between the people of East and West there is too much bad feeling, too much struggle. So I want to help them resolve these conflicts.”

Derek has seen enough of the world to realize that his native Hong Kong may not always be “home” to him. “Hong Kong is so crowded, you can hardly catch your breath,” he says. “And the education there, I think, is not so good. They work very hard but their eyes are always on their studies. They never see the world. And I think it’s necessary to see and understand many other cultures. This you can do very well at SMC.”

Derek found his way to the campus seven months ago by the method that seems to work best in Hong Kong: word of mouth. “I had a good friend who studied here and he very highly recommended SMC to me,” says Derek. “This is a very good place where the teachers are very helpful. The best thing is that I always feel comfortable with my instructors, and I’m never afraid to ask them a question.” Derek reports that, when he has settled in a little more, he’d like to see “all the attractions of California. And maybe I’ll visit my brother who’s studying in Texas.” Who knows? Maybe Derek will soon add “Texan” to his list of foreign languages.

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.