There are more than 130 international students attending South Puget Sound Community College according to the SPSCC International Student Handbook.
All new international students are required to attend an orientation, where they will be filling out an International Student Application. After the orientation, the students will go to the Testing Center for the English proficiency test. They must take this test before registering for classes.
“When you’re at the orientation, you’re worried about making a mistake,” said Katerina Sochorova from Czech Republic.
“I was actually in high school the first time I came to America. I was doing the foreign exchange program, and now I am here. I was really excited to come to America,” said Sochorova.
“When I got here, everything seemed big, the roads, the houses and the food,” she said.
According to student, Jason Lau, from Hong Kong, he has benefited from the American culture.
“I have learned about racism and what it means to be prejudicial. If I hadn’t come here, I wouldn’t have learned about it,” he said.
Gbenga Oladaye is a student at SPSCC from Lagos, Nigeria who works at the campus bookstore.
“The American culture is very individualistic, where everyone has their own beliefs, and in Lagos, it is collectivistic,” said Oladaye.
Community and Health Services Coordinator, Yi-Ping Lu, from Taoyuan, Taiwan said, “The people in America have their own culture. The way you act reflects the way you are raised. You are representing your family.”
“The staff and faculty give you help when you really need it. It is a very easy community to get involved with. Even the instructors want to see you get involved,” said Lu.
Student and Campus Activity Board Promotions Coordinator Jacky Nguyen from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam is going to school for his associates degree of applied science for computer programming.
“The atmosphere here is a lot friendlier, and is more social. In Vietnam, when you say ‘hi’ some people don’t tend to say it back,” Nguyen said.
According to Lau, the education system in the U.S. is much simpler. “In Hong Kong, you have to be on top of the pyramid. There are only seven universities in Hong Kong, and they are very hard to get into,” said Lau.
Since attending SPSCC, Nguyen has involved himself in sports. “I am really good at soccer and ping pong, and I love it. When I got here, I learned how to play basketball and volleyball. Basketball is a very popular sport here in Washington, and it’s so much fun,” Nguyen said.
In Vietnam, you would either eat a bowl of noodles or rice every day, according to Nguyen.
“It was just something you had to eat. I think the food in Vietnam is fresher, but I really like Taco Bell,” Nguyen said.
According to Lu, “In Taiwan, you always have rice and vegetables with your meal, and it almost goes with everything. I have been eating a lot of pizza since I’ve been here.”
International Student Services is a program for college students and international learners set up to get to know one another and converse about each other’s culture and chat with other people from a different country.
The Conversation Partner Program is designed to help international students make new friends and have the opportunity to work on their English skills with a native speaker.
“Being an international student member is great. I enjoy it, and you get to meet new people from different countries,” Nguyen said.
Students at SPSCC are assigned a number of language partners and schedule times and days to meet and talk about anything they want.
The Diversity and Equity team believes in the development of a set of cultural competencies that assist and prepare students for life after college.
Director of Diversity and Equity, Eileen Yoshina, and the DEC members’ mission is to provide quality educational opportunities to a richly diverse community.
“The Diversity and Equity Center is designed to run programs that support diverse communities,” said Yoshina.
“The Diversity Leadership Institute is a program set up as an environment for engaging in a sustained dialogue within a diverse learning community for exploration about self and others,” said Yoshina. “It is a place where students and new students expand their knowledge about anti-oppression and diversity.”
“I used to live with a multi-ethnic family in Hawaii. When I left, I began seeking opportunities to work with diverse communities. I lived where there was a lot of diversity,” said Yoshina.