Learn More About CPCC’s International Student Population

Authored by CPCC student Jason Rivers

Having lived in the United States for only a year and four months, international student Idriss Guindo says that the first time taking classes at CPCC was really hard.

Guindo, who plans on majoring in dentistry, attended and graduated from an institution in his home country in Africa, Les Castors.

Being a new student at the college, Guindo was hit with a lot of challenges.

“When going to a different country, you have to know about your objectives,” Guindo said.

The first objective was to learn English, and he learned very quickly by watching American TV shows, Guindo explained.  Learning the language also made it easier to adjust to taking online courses as well as taking tests and quizzes, he added.

The next objective was to make new friends. He was able to make that happen by meeting people in his English as a Foreign Language classes.

Now, Guindo, 19, has a part- time job working at the Victory Coffee Café located in the first floor of the library.

Guindo, like many international students, struggled to adjust to living in the United States.  Cultural barriers and money become problems for them when attending college for the first time.

Yangnan Emmet, an international student from China, attended and graduated from #5 High School in her home country. After finishing high school, Emmet worked in Shanghai for a year then came to the United States.

The first time Emmet moved to the U.S. and took classes at CPCC, she found it difficult to start conversations with the locals.After spending more time with the local people in Charlotte, it was easier to talk to her classmates, Emmet explained.

Yang Xu, another international student from China, finished her education at #16 High School.  She also attended the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts and majored in dance.

When Xu first had to interact with her fellow EFL classmates, she learned through a series of body language and hand gestures.  For example, if a classmate asked her if she drove a car, they would motion their hands as if turning a steering wheel, Xu explained.

Clubs and organizations such as the International Student Association provide comfort for international students, said Elizabeth Bazin, director of International Programs. For example, for students who are Muslim and follow the Islamic faith, the program supplies prayer mats for them.

Every other Thursday, the International Student Association hosts an international coffee where students from all parts of the world can socialize while eating snacks and drinking coffee.

Guindo misses his family, but his EFL teachers try to get the classmates to be together like a family.

Guindo explains that back home in Africa, all of the classmates were treated like family.