At Salt Lake Community College, we pride ourselves on our diverse student body and faculty. Strolling down the hallway, it is possible to find several students who are international transfers.
Sambo Kim, a 19-year-old SLCC student from Phnom Pen, Phnum Penh, Cambodia, moved to Salt Lake City with his family less than three years ago. Kim can attest to the distinct plethora of cultures that flow through our classrooms.
“Coming to school here has given me many opportunities,” says Kim, including finding his passion for videography and filmmaking in the Film Production Department. “I have made so many new friends from all over the world and met many cool people. When I moved, I did not speak very much English but now I’m a pro.”
SLCC welcomes international students seeking a rewarding educational experience. According to the International Student Services, SLCC is ranked in the top ten in the United States for the number of associate degrees awarded among international students.
International Student Services (ISS) aids international students in making smooth transitions into successful academic careers and social skills while studying at SLCC.
The ISS provides workshops and programs on international issues to students, faculty, and staff, answering questions relating to international students’ needs. Intercultural communication plays a key role in the integration of students.
Kathleen Hom, a professor who teaches Intercultural Communication at SLCC and the University of Utah, equips students with the proper tools to communicate effectively with each other while respectfully understanding the cultural differences that make our students so unique.
For students wanting to make a difference and meet our international students, there is the International Buddy Program. New international students at SLCC often have a lot of questions and concerns before arriving to their new school and during their first weeks on campus.
To ease the transition, the International Buddy program connects current students with new international students. Resident students work as peer advisors to help students acclimate to their new school. Adjusting to a new culture can be challenging, but these students can make coming to SLCC easier and provide them with a friend before their first day. Program participants communicate through email or Facebook to share information and insights on student life at SLCC.
New students can expect to receive insider tips about purchasing textbooks, how to register for classes, on-campus employment, the location of hospitals or churches and how to use public transportation. Buddies can also offer cultural guidance, translation services, and information about life in Salt Lake City.
Current students can expect to learn about different cultures and perspectives, increase their knowledge of campus and community resources, gain new skills in intercultural communication and make long lasting friendships when participating in the International Buddy program.
Nayara Rigual, 21, used the International Buddy Program when she moved from Cuba to Salt Lake.
“My buddy Kirah told me everything I needed to know about college. She showed me where all my classes were and took me to a local Cuban café for coffee,” says Rigual. “I felt so welcomed. My son and I love living here and I am studying to become a nurse. Now I volunteer for the program to help other girls like me.”