GCC international student population increases 150 percent

GCC Global Education Service Department staff help international students with everything from testing to creating a schedule and other student services. Photo By Adam Ibrahim

The number of international students at GCC has increased dramatically, according to school, doubling in the fall of 2017 from the same time last year.

The total number is at 669 students, including all immigrant refugees and F-1 visa from 86 different counties. The increase percentage is about 150 percent over that of the past year, this means GCC staff are now working harder for international students helping them to receive better services and quality of education, including both educational and entertainment programs during their studies.

“Our Global Education Services department works directly with the students coming under F-1 visa. We provide all the student services from their recruitment and retention their transfer and graduation,” Director Global Education Services Leonor Carrasco said. The Global Education Services department is focusing on helping F-1 visa students and the staff provide them with many services besides processing student applications. The F-1 visa is for students. Carrasco said that after students apply for admission, the staff department processes their application by verifying information, evaluating credentials and checking student admission requirements.

“Our international student population is a special group with unique needs. Global education services provide all the services they need in a ‘one-stop’ model,” Carrasco said. Carrasco’s office guides F-1 visa students step by step, from freshman student to graduation. The services include immigration forms, testing, advisements, registration, housing, financial processes, acculturation and much more.

But other areas of campus are also extending their services and helping international students too. Center for Learning front desk employee Hanan Pouls said that her department offers exclusive ESL Conversation Circles for international students. The Conversation Circle helps students learn and practice English and students have the opportunity to practice, speaking and understanding English with professional teachers. In the center, students will learn new vocabulary, develop confidence and share experiences.

At the Center for Learning, International students and resident students both have an opportunity to take free reading, writing and math workshops before taking the ACCUPLACER this helps students to understand how to take the placement tests and reach college English or math levels. Students who want to enter ESL courses can take the CESLA. They can come to the Center for Learning to receive help preparing farther test by using a computer program. The program includes a sample CELSA test, helping students to learn basic computer skills to navigate the CELSA test and build confidence to take the test.

“The Center for Learning is an opening for all English students, including ESL students, to check their papers if they need to fix grimmer and correct spelling,” Pouls said (translated from Arabic).  ESL students regularly visit the Center for Learning more often than college students, however, to improve their English.  The Center for Learning provides comprehensive English language tutoring, including grammar, reading, writing, listening and speaking. “We are well aware of the special needs of non-English speakers, and we can help them to keep building better English structures and vocabulary,” ESL tutor Merry Christensen said.

“We have an International Student Club that provides students with opportunities to learn about different cultures, meet new people and have lots of fun. We have field trips and many other events,” Carrasco said.

Besides the education program, GCC also offers entertainment programs. The International Students Club is working on the entertainment activities inside and outside campus. The club program activities include NAU travel, sport and college events.

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