By J.T. Buchheit
The beginning of a school year is difficult for everyone to adapt to, but for most, the adjustment is likely nothing compared to the challenge students from other countries face when coming to school in the U.S.
“The ‘culture shock’ is always the number-one issue that we see for students’ first terms in college,” said coordinator of International and Immigrant Student Services Iping Lee. “Also, the U.S. classroom [can cause struggles]. In the U.S. classrooms, the professor likes to ask questions, and the professor is also expecting that the student can be more active and answer the questions. But some international students, because of their cultural backgrounds, may not fit in the U.S. classroom culture because they are shy, and maybe because of the language barrier problem. So sometimes, misunderstanding and miscommunication can cause them problems in adjusting to campus life.”
Even though international students can struggle when they arrive, the college has many ways of helping them grow more comfortable on campus.
“We do have a new-student orientation for students from overseas,” said Lee. “This orientation will help them to adjust to campus life for the first semester. During the orientation, they will read the campus resource information provided by the JCCC staff, like the student information desk, the counseling service, the writing center, and student clubs … During the orientation, we also have a student from International Club in order to make a presentation and invite new students to join the International Club.”
Lee also stressed that students from overseas need to look into multiple colleges before deciding on one, and that they should also consider why they want to seek an education in the U.S.
“Before they apply, they really need to know about the campus and the JCCC campus resources,” said Lee. “They need to realize why they choose JCCC as their school, and what their purpose is to go the United States to study, and what degree and program they would like to pursue from the college. They have a very useful online resource provided by the government called ‘Study in the U.S.’ It is a website that contains all the U.S. colleges’ campus resource information and admission requirement information. So before students come to the U.S., they can go online to look up U.S. college information that is going to help them make the right decision.”
One new student, Rubens Davanso from Brazil, has enjoyed his brief stay at the college and is grateful for his opportunity.
“It’s a really good college. For people that don’t come from here, we just think that it’s a dream,” said Davanso. “You know, to come to America and study at a big college like this. I’m really glad that I’m here.”
Davanso is aware of the challenges that he will face as a new international student, but he feels fully up to the task and hopes students and teachers will understand any difficulties he might have.
“People should understand that sometimes the language is difficult, and some things that you study are just hard. But I think if you just focus, you can do it.”
For more information regarding international and immigrant students, visit COM 306 or their website.