New Club Connects International Student Community
The Center for International Education (CIE) is available to help international students succeed at GCU with assistance on necessary documents, travel and permits. With documentation covered, a group of students has formed the International Student Club to help those from around the world connect with their new school and home.
“My first years at GCU were spent hiding out in my dorm room,” says Francis Okot, International Club vice president and a senior in exercise science. “It’s hard coming in as an international student, getting to know the campus and community. To learn American culture.”
Okot and fellow student Patricia Mollel formed the club with the intent to get international students involved in the GCU community and the activities. As Okot says, “It’s all about bringing people together.”
Club president Mollel is an MBA student from Tanzania. She completed her bachelor’s degree at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, before enrolling at GCU earlier this year. Her parents told her to make the most of the resources available to her. In South Africa, her college had vibrant international societies for its students. She wants to create the same experience here.
“When I came here, I felt alone, but since I like to talk so much I found it easy to interact,” she says. “It would be nice to create a family atmosphere because being away from home is tough. Sometimes you want to connect with people who understand what you are going through.”
The club has many ideas it hopes to roll out this year, including reaching out to potential host families. The host families could provide friendship, a connection to the Phoenix community or even a place at the table for Thanksgiving dinner.
“The club will help new students more than anybody,” says Mollel. “If you really engage yourself, you can have an incredible time in college. There is no better experience to feel than that you are not alone, to be part of the community.”
CIE and the club has planned a year of activities for all students on campus, including monthly movie nights, cultural nights, off-campus activities and International Education Week ( tentatively Nov. 15-19).
For more information about CIE and the International Club, visit the CIE office in Building 18 or contact International Student Coordinator Debi Parris at 602.639.6351 or [email protected].