Scott Has Made The Most Out Of His Decision To Leave South Africa To Pursue Engineering Degree In America

Published on: May 11, 2021
GTCC Student Bryce Scott and 2021-2022 Student Government Association President.

Bryce Scott has traveled a long way in a short time. Both literally and figuratively.

Until two years ago he called East London, South Africa home. Now Greensboro is home for him. Before he came to the United States, he dreamed of being an aerospace engineer. Now, with the help of Guilford Technical Community College, he’s on the way to turning that dream into a reality.

“I’ve had my major nailed down since my junior year in high school … more specifically I want to be an aerospace engineer,” said Scott. “It’s kind of a high hopes thing, but I want to build spaceships, spaceships that take people to the moon or to mars. That’s my dream.”

The first step to accomplishing that dream was coming to America.

“America is the place to be to do this,” said Scott. “If I was doing anything else I probably would have stayed in South Africa. But for space travel and aeronautic engineering, America is the place to be.”

Coming to America, though, wasn’t as simple as buying an airline ticket. There are mounds and mounds of paperwork to complete, hoops to jump through, laws to be aware of. But Scott had some help.

“My sister had come here a year earlier. She had done all the hard work, all the research, all of the trial and error,” said Scott, whose sister graduated from GTCC with an associate degree in art and whose aunt and uncle have lived in Greensboro since 2000.

Scott said it is very difficult for someone from South Africa to gain acceptance to a four-year school. “It is very competitive,” he said. GTCC was the right place at the right time for him.

“When I got to America I had absolutely nothing. I got to a place like GTCC and they say ‘take these three tests.’ They have an open-door policy. Without GTCC I wouldn’t be here. In my mind, it was absolutely the right move for me,” Scott said.

Scott entered the United States on an F-1 or student visa. But before he did that, he had to be accepted by a college before arriving. GTCC checked that box for him.

“When I arrived at JFK in New York, I had to go to one of the immigration officers, checked my paperwork and then allowed me in the country.”

The rules of an F-1 visa are fairly stringent. For example, Scott can only work 20 hours a week, the work has to be on campus in a facility owned by the college. As a top-level water polo player, Scott was able to find a job working in an aquatics center on campus. He now works with children with disabilities, teaching them to swim.

Scott is also one of GTCC’s student ambassadors, and in his spare time ran for and was elected student government association president this spring.

Scott, who began at GTCC in the fall of 2019, is working toward an associate degree in engineering but is already taking classes at North Carolina A&T, thanks to the Greater Greensboro Consortium (GGC).

The GGC is a program designed to expand the options available to degree-seeking students currently enrolled in one of the eight colleges and universities in the surrounding area. It assists a student in registering for a course elsewhere that is unavailable in a given semester on the student’s home campus.

“If GTCC doesn’t offer a class, I can go to another college in the area, take it, but I’m still a GTCC student paying their rates,” said Scott. “I can take engineering classes at A&T and pay GTCC rates.”

Scott figures by the time he transfers to A&T he will have accumulated 15 hours toward his engineering degree from that school.

After a conversation with someone who works at his dream company, Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Scott said he will enter the mechanical engineering program at North Carolina A&T after one more year at GTCC.

“A professor of mine has a friend at SpaceX. I set up a phone call with him. I had written out two or three pages of questions,” said Scott. “One of my main questions was should I be a mechanical or aerospace engineer. He said the actual degree doesn’t matter. It’s what you do with that degree that matters.”

And rest assured Scott will do much with his degree.

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