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ESL Students, Latin Music Performance Highlight International Student Welcome

WINTERVILLE—More than 120 Pitt Community College students and employees attended a reception last month to welcome international students to campus.

Held in the Craig F. Goess Student Center Aug. 29, the event featured a welcome from PCC English as a Second Language students, Latin music performances by La Mezcla, (comprised of PCC student Josue Marriaga and fellow band mates), poetry by Pitt instructor Regina Garcia, and international cuisine provided by the college’s Bulldog Café.

Speakers included Dean Dan Mayo, who provided a historical perspective of how the international student welcome has evolved in the 10 years since it began, and Vandana Srivastava, a PCC instructor who spoke about the value of meeting and learning from people of all backgrounds.

Javier Castillo, owner of Castillo Language Services in Greenville, described how being globally-minded and acquiring a second language can open doors in Pitt County. He even offered jobs to qualified PCC students during his remarks.

Each year, PCC's International Programs and Multicultural Activities Committee organize the welcome reception for international students as part of the college’s efforts to both connect international students to the PCC campus and expose domestic students to diverse cultures and viewpoints that will better prepare them for success in a global economy. This year PCC has more than 140 internationally-born students representing more than 50 countries.

In addition to the PCC Abroad travel program, the college has established an International Education Travel Scholarship for students and employees and has formed a partnership with China’s Wuxi Institute of Technology that produced its first graduates in June.

At the start of this semester, PCC administrators announced that the school’s foreign language department would once again feature a Fulbright Scholar. Juan Pimienta, a native of Uruguay, is the third Fulbright Scholar to teach at Pitt, following in the footsteps of Valeria Guerra and Xiu-Wen Lin, who taught Spanish and Mandarin, respectively, during the 2011-12 academic year.