This week, 47 international students from as far away as Tunisia, Rwanda and Slovakia are getting an introduction to college life, and daily life in the US and San Diego, at San Diego Mesa College.
Each year, Mesa College welcomes more than 100 international students representing dozens of countries. The student applicants find out about Mesa College through online searches, word of mouth and recommendations educational institutions in their home countries, and especially from family who live in San Diego and California.
All incoming international students are required to attend a three-day orientation session. The orientation, held this week, acquaints students with required immigration assessments, academic requirements, application processing and registration. They are also given an introduction to daily life, and become acquainted with programs, services and resources at Mesa, one of San Diego and the nation’s largest community colleges.
This spring, Mesa admitted 47 of 70 applicants. Incoming students include 21 students from five Asian countries, a full 44 percent of the incoming total international student cohort. The 47 students – 24 male and 23 female -- come from 25 countries, broken down as follows: Bangladesh, 1; Brazil,2; Canada 1; Ecuador, 1; France, 5; Germany, 1; Indonesia, 2; Italy, 1; Japan, 6; Mexico, 2; Nepal, 1; Norway, 1; Pakistan, 1; Philippines, 2; Rwanda, 1; South Korea, 10; Slovakia, 1; Spain, 1; Switzerland, 1; Taiwan, 2; Tunisia, 4.
“At first, the students are quiet and wide-eyed,” says International Student Admissions Supervisor Ivonne Alvarez, “but by the third day of orientation, they are confident and relaxed, comfortable among new friends, and eager to begin their studies.” The college has a dedicated counselor for international students, and an International Student Club to offer support and camaraderie.
Spring classes begin at Mesa College on January 28. For more information on the Mesa College program for International Students, call 619-388-2717. For general registration information, log on to www.sdmesa.edu.