JAMESTOWN - As educational institutions around the world observed International Education Week this November, Jamestown Community College reported the largest enrollment of international students in the college's history this fall.
JCC welcomed 34 international students to the Jamestown Campus this fall with four additional international students enrolled at the Cattaraugus County Campus in Olean. Current international students at JCC represent the following countries: Australia, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, China, Columbia, Iraq, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Montenegro, South Korea, and Vietnam.
According to Victoria Peterson, JCC's international outreach coordinator, international students attend JCC for various reasons.
Several of JCC’s new international students posed with the college mascot at the annual fall semester picnic.
"First and foremost, international students are attracted here because they know of JCC's reputation for providing high quality educational experiences in a very caring environment. At the same time, the affordability of attending JCC as an international student is a real draw," she said.
"Students seeking to move on to bachelor's degree programs after completing an associate's degree at JCC are drawn by our many transfer agreements as well as the fact that we are part of the State University of New York," Peterson added.
"While we are not located in a major metropolitan area, students also appreciate our proximity to Erie, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and New York City," she said. "JCC provides a safe environment unlike the large U.S. cities international students and their parents see too often in television crime dramas."
While JCC's international students enroll in a variety of academic programs, a larger number are coming to the college to improve their English skills.
"We have now been approved to authorize student visas for those wishing to strengthen their skills through our English language instruction curriculum on the Jamestown Campus," Peterson said. That curriculum has allowed JCC to engage students from sponsored programs in both Brazil and Iraq.
Nelson Garifi, JCC's executive director of marketing and academic initiatives, notes that the Internet is the primary recruitment tool the college utilizes to attract international students.
"The web is truly worldwide as it was intended," he said. "We engage prospective students on nearly every continent through our website and social media presence on a weekly basis. We also reach prospective students by participating in webinars made available to us through SUNY and other organizations."
"Our athletic coaches also deserve credit for reaching out to international students," Ms. Peterson added. "Our baseball and soccer programs have drawn students from Australia, Canada, and several other nations."
"Students, faculty, and staff welcome our international students warmly," Garifi said. "Expanding global perspectives is one of the five key themes of JCC's strategic plan. By creating greater cultural diversity within our student body, we enhance global understanding both on our campuses and within the communities we serve. Our international students also add to the college's economic impact on our communities."
JCC further enhances global perspectives for students by providing study abroad opportunities. Through the college's membership in the College Consortium for International Studies, students can spend a summer or a semester in over 25 different countries.
JCC also provides short-term study abroad opportunities through diverse courses including the Tropical Biology Seminar and the European Union Simulation. In addition, JCC is now offering international internship opportunities in Chengdu, China and Valladolid, Spain.
For more information, on JCC's international students or study abroad offerings, visit JCC at www.sunyjcc.edu or call 338-1045.