International students meet reps at fair

“Welcome to the international transfer fair! How can I help you? Do you need a map?”
A few student volunteers were standing in front of the main dining hall at Shoreline Community College’s Pagoda Union Building, assisting the visitors to the winter 2016 international transfer fair on Tuesday, Feb. 2.
Anne Colpitts, an international education advisor with SCC’s international education office, who was in charge of this exhibition for the first time, explained the difference between the international transfer fair and the regular transfer fair.
“In the international transfer fair, the people coming are outreach people who primarily work with international students,” She said. “The regular transfer fair is an event that is coordinated by somebody else on campus and the people who come are working with transfer students who are residents.”
According to Colpitts, many of the the participating schools in the domestic transfer fair are located in Washington state. The reason for that is the domestic students prefer to get in-state tuition, and since most of them are Washington State residents, they will go to Washington universities. Few of them decide to continue their studies to another state, but she said she thought it was uncommon.
“For international students, because they don’t get in-state tuition anywhere, they tend to be more mobile and interested to go out of state,” she said.
Second-year international students, who are the main target of the fair, find this event really beneficial for them.
“I guess (the biggest benefit of this event is) I can get closer to the college,” said Hansen Liman, an international student from Indonesia. “I can get information from the actual college officials rather than advisors.”
Steph Nguyen, a second year SCC student from Vietnam, also found that international transfer fair helps her a lot in application process. “I can speak directly to the representatives and get more information,” she said. “And once they know your name, your application can be more appealing.”
Lucas Maikarar, an official from Thompson Rivers University at Kamloops, Canada, saw this event as a big chance to introduce his college, which is outside of United States, to the international students.
“It started from a slow process,” he said. “I educate people slowly but surely about the opportunities in Canada, and that person will tell another person, but it’s also part of an opportunity to learn what students are looking for, so we can improve our brand, and getting procedures better.”
As students who are going to transfer soon, these international students face some obstacles in applying to their universities. According to Liman, his biggest obstacle is the competition to get into a good university.
“I’m pretty sure many people are like me, who want to go to the top schools,” he said. “So I need to compete with other students to get accepted into one of those schools.”
Hawa Coulibaly, a student from Mali, stated that her biggest obstacle is not about the application process, but more about the stress on waiting for the acceptance notification. “I spend a lot of time in my advisor’s office, so if I have any question (about application), I can ask them,” she said. “The only part (that I could consider as an obstacle) is the stress part of getting in or not.”
Talking about the school preferences, lots of international students prefer to transfer to out-of-state universities. Coulibaly is one of them: she is hoping to transfer to either schools in California such as UCLA, California State University at Long Beach,or to a university at New York called Fredonia University.
“I would think on being at California because I would be close to my sister, so I can be closer to my family,” she said. “The East Coast would be because the population is really crowded there, so if I go there, I would be able to challenge myself. But well, I’m pretty sure that I would end up at California.”
Yet, Nguyen has a different preference: like many domestic students, she would prefer to transfer to universities in Washington State.
“I really love Seattle and I really want to stay close to Seattle, and that is why my first choice is Seattle University.” Nguyen said, “But, if I don’t get accepted to Seattle University, probably I would have to go a little bit further from Seattle, but still in state.”
The goal of this event, according to Colpitts, is to connect the students with the representatives of their target colleges. “For us, it’s a good opportunity for students to talk to the representatives from schools in this country, so if they have questions, it’s easier to talk to face-to-face rather than calling or emailing.”

_Adelia Sindunata

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