Scottsdale, AZ (November 27, 2011) – For the past six months, SCC has been host to 18 students from 7 countries as part of the 2011-2012 Community College Initiative Program. Made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of State, the program provides students from developing countries with an opportunity for non-degree study and professional development.
The program – “Building Global Trust through Education at American Community Colleges,” is being hosted for the second year by a consortium of four community colleges: Miami Dade, City College of San Francisco, Northern Virginia Community College, and Scottsdale Community College.
“We’re able to introduce the younger generation to American culture and society, and our hope is that when they return to their home countries they’ll share their experiences in Arizona and other parts of the United States with others,” said Therese Tendick, Director of SCC’s International Education program.
Students from Brazil, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Pakistan and Turkey are part of this year’s cohort. They have selected media arts or the hospitality field as their primary areas of study, but are also taking ESL classes to strengthen their English speaking skills, as well as a class in American Culture, Society and Institutions.
The students recently had an opportunity to attend an event hosted by the Arizona Council for International Visitors (AZCIV), a program also sponsored by the Department of State. The students came dressed in the traditional attire of their home countries and had a chance to interact with high level dignitaries.
“I really enjoyed being there and showing a little bit about my country,” said Gamze Celik, a hospitality student from Turkey.
The Global Trust program and the AZCIV both have long term benefits in international relations, according to John Liffiton, SCC’s ESL Coordinator and Vice President of the AZCIV board of directors. Liffiton explains that the goals of both programs are to build bridges through sharing and acceptance, which helps to expose and remove stereotypes about one another’s culture.
“The hope is to become long-term friends with other countries,” he said. “They see us for who we are and we see them for who they are.”
Ryan Danoko is a student from Indonesia. He is studying media arts as part of the program, and like each of the students in his cohort, he writes in his journal weekly about his experiences: what is happening, his point of view on issues, and his volunteer activities.
The program has given Danoko the opportunity to try new foods, learn new languages and words, and sing songs from other countries. He said he is learning things from his classmates about their countries, their cultures and the world that he probably could not learn from the internet.
“It’s a lifetime opportunity and I am grateful.”