International Student Orientation Program a big success

Even though classes for fall quarter don’t start until Sept. 24, hundreds of students and parents arrived to campus this week. The new students – from countries around the world – took tests and had informational meetings and workshops to help them prepare for the upcoming school year.

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More than 300 students and 50 family members arrived to take part in the fall quarter International Student Orientation Program (ISOP). This is Shoreline’s largest incoming international-student class with students coming from Saudi Arabia, Japan, Thailand, Russia, Burma and many other countries being welcomed.

For many international students, this is the first time they have left home.  Leaving friends and family behind to embark on such a journey can leave many students feeling scared and nervous.  Many have limited English skills and find themselves thrown into a new culture with different rules, regulations and traditions.

ISOP is designed to help them ease the transition to the United States and provide information, support and guidance to help them succeed during their time here at Shoreline.Students get a chance to learn about the American higher education system, rules, regulations about their immigration status and, this year, special sessions designed for Chinese students, Saudi Arabian students, and family members were included in the schedule.

“It’s great,” said Zolboo Batsaikhans, an incoming  student from Mongolia, and noting the assistance from student volunteers throughout the orientation. “We are learning exactly what to do and people are very helpful and nice.”

Providing a week-long orientation for such a large group is no small task, but has been found to be a critical component in preparing international students for the challenges of adjusting to life in the United States. This year, ISOP included U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers who provided information on the types of food that can be transported into the country.  The presentation ended with a demonstration from Woody, a trained dog from their “Beagle Brigade” team.

To help support ISOP, international students pay an orientation fee. The fee helps offset the cost of food, exam proctors, events and activities that are all part of mandatory and necessary orientation.

“Shoreline Community College blows every other college out of the water!” David Wu, an International Education partner who attended this quarter’s ISOP said. “This is the place for our students. The decision was easy.”

The International Education Department thanks all those involved in making ISOP a success this. The International Education Department collaborates with many offices on campus, including campus safety and security, facilities, catering, ESL, testing services, Student Leadership Center and other offices and departments. It truly takes a village to make an orientation like this successful.

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