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College Welcomes International Students

PCC English as a Second Language students Luis Caballero-Benito, Magda Jamies, Hazel Gonzalez and Claudia Rodriguez-Vergel (left to right) wait their turn to introduce themselves to the audience attending last week's International Student Welcome Reception.

• VIDEO: 2013 International Student Welcome Reception

PHOTO GALLERY: 2013 International Student Welcome Reception

WINTERVILLE—Pitt Community College held a reception in the Craig F. Goess Student Center last month to welcome international students to campus.

The program, which was organized by the PCC Multicultural Activities Committee and PCC Global, took place Aug. 27. In addition to several speakers, it featured a presentation by PCC English as a Second Language (ESL) students, poetry by Pitt instructor Regina Garcia, and international cuisine provided by the college’s Bulldog Café.

PCC President G. Dennis Massey welcomed students and employees to the reception and focused his remarks on the college’s commitment to global awareness and internationalizing curricula. In addition to ESL programming, he noted Pitt’s mechanical engineering training partnership with China’s Wuxi Institute of Technology (WXIT), its support of UNC-Chapel Hill’s World View Program, the PCC Abroad travel program, and, for the third year in a row, the addition of Fulbright Scholars to teach foreign language courses.

After noting that Pitt County is home to several internationally-based companies, such as DSM, ASMO and Metrics, Massey stressed the importance of international learning and pointed out how much things have changed in the 50 years since President John F. Kennedy stood at the Berlin Wall and said, “Ich bin ein Berliner.”

“In 1963, President Kennedy told Germans he was a citizen of Berlin as a statement of solidarity and freedom,” Massey said. “Fifty years later, I’d suggest a modification – we are all citizens of the world; we are all international.”

Echoing the PCC president, Dan Mayo, dean of PCC’s Public Services and Fine Arts Division, explained that the college has made it a goal to prepare students who are “globally competent.”

"As educators, we're obligated to do our very best to prepare our students for the global economy,” he said. “We want them to have knowledge of other regions of the world. We hope that students can develop a healthy respect for other cultures, and we want to be sure that we have prepared them to work in cross-cultural environments, either working abroad or right here in Pitt County."

Mayo, who played a key role in establishing PCC’s educational partnership with WXIT, added that technological advances have made the world a smaller place.

"There's no doubt that the world has changed with rapid globalization; it's been described as hot, fat, crowded and shrinking,” he said. “At Pitt Community College, it's meant that our definition of community has expanded. Our students will be prepared to be a part of the work and solutions to many of the global challenges ahead."

Mayo said there was no substitute for actually travelling to a foreign country to learn more about its people and culture, and he encouraged students to take advantage of opportunities to study abroad while enrolled at PCC.

"We provide exposure to international programs and perspectives through campus activities and within the curriculum, but there is no substitute for travel,” he said. “We want our students and faculty to experience travel abroad. We want them to experience firsthand the sights, sounds, smells of international travel, and we make every effort to encourage students to participate in many of the study travel options at PCC.”

To make international travel more accessible to students, Mayo said the college established the International Education Travel Scholarship.

“Without the scholarship, travel abroad would be just a dream for most PCC students,” he said. “Instead, the scholarship has made it the opportunity of a lifetime."

Each year, PCC holds a welcome reception for international students to help them connect with campus and to expose domestic students to diverse cultures and viewpoints that will better prepare them for success in a global economy.