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by Marlene Cohen, International Center Co-Coordinator

While discussions continue about a centralized place for activities that support non-U.S. students as well as all students interested in international understanding, many activities are taking place on campus each term. Here are a few:

LEARNING OUR VIEWPOINTS discussions are in their sixth semester. They are open student discussions, offered monthly, on Wednesday, and either Tuesday or Thursday, at lunchtime.

The topics vary in each session. Students have discussed the challenges of growing up with their parents’ cultures differing from the U.S. culture of their classmates, with families of two races, with grandparents’ expectations, and with rural and urban cultures that clash. They have asked each other about what it means to have Christian, Muslim, atheist, Jewish, Hindu, Wiccan, or Native American beliefs. Those with international experiences have shared images of the U.S. from others’ perspectives. Those raised in other lands have told what was strange about adapting to life in the United States or what assumptions Americans seemed to have about them.

The conversations have been expanded by faculty in some disciplines who bring their classes to participate or offer students some course credit for attending and then writing about something they have learned. With PGCC’s richly diverse student body, each discussion has been enriching. The discussions allow students to break down some barriers across age, economic class, gender, nationality, race, and religion.

When guests are on campus from other countries, such as the British debate team and the South African high school math and science teachers, we have included them in our discussions.

Schedule for the rest of Spring 2004:

Wednesday              March 10              1 p.m. – Conference Rooms 3 & 4

Thursday                   March 11              2 p.m. – Conference Room 2

Tuesday                    April 20                 2 p.m. – Conference Rooms 3 & 4

Wednesday              April 21                 1 p.m. – Conference Rooms 3 & 4

All sessions are in Largo Student Center, 2nd floor.

The INTERNATIONAL STUDENT SPEAKERS BUREAU is in a pilot stage this year. Faculty who indicated their interest on the 2003 Internationalizing the College survey have been contacted and students from many countries with knowledge and speaking skills have been identified. Where there is a match, an international student will be a guest speaker on a topic of relevance to a class. Students develop their presentations to the needs of the instructor. In fall, a Ghanaian student told a traditional tale to students in a Mythology, Legend, and Folklore course (English 241). The students found many connections between his tale and the legends of other parts of the world they had studied.

HIGH SCHOOL ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE (ESOL) VISITS TO PGCC are taking place this spring involving all eight Prince George’s County Public Schools with programs. Through coordination of the Recruitment Office, Admissions Office, Advising and Counseling Services, Financial Aid, and Instruction area, we are showing PGCC to a population that is sometimes missed by high school visitations and college fairs. The high school students learn about admissions, testing, placement, and counseling procedures and they tour programs of interest to them. Testimony from some successful current PGCC international students demonstrates that new international students can feel welcomed at PGCC and be highly involved in academic and co-curricular college programs. This is a new way to showcase the strength of PGCC’s richly diverse student population.

In co-sponsorship with the Muslim Student Association, INTERNATIONAL CENTER ACTIVITIES is organizing a presentation of Muslims and Jews in the Washington D.C. area who have worked together for peace in the Middle East. Too often, we only hear of the violence and the extremists, but not of the courageous people who work for peace. The specifics of this daytime campus program will be announced soon.

NOTE: Would you like more information on any of these programs, or do you have international students to recommend for the Speakers Bureau? If so, please contact Marlene Cohen, professor, Communication and Theatre, and International Center Co-coordinator, extension 107, Queen Anne Building, or, or on extension 0177.


The Instructional Area Newsletter, Volume 19, No. 2

Spring 2004