Ambitions of International Students at GCC

There’s a lot other members of the community just don’t know about those from other countries at the college.


James Ojano-Simonsson

Welcoming students from all over the world.

Studying abroad is a big challenge. Many young people come to the United States every year with their big dreams and plans of achieving them. It’s sometimes fun, sometimes hard, but always an experience to remember.

Glendale Community College has a strong tradition and commitment to educating students from other countries. Many international students are working hard at GCC. 

About 15,000 students are enrolled, and 600 of them are International F-1 visa students from over 50 countries. Many of them are active on campus in positive ways and take important roles here, and they are encouraged to participate in student government, clubs, athletics, and other organizations. Every spring, they hold International Week, which includes things like a fashion show, world music, food festival, and dance. These activities are free or very low cost for international students.  GCC provides many events and opportunities for international students.

The International Student Office is located on the third floor of the Sierra Vista building. Staff and counselors are willing to help students with class registration, health insurance, immigration advising, and general requests.

Moreover, the International Student Association (ISA) is the largest club on campus with over 400 members. They support the students in achieving their goals with activities. Their goal is to promote international education and celebrate their uniqueness with the campus community by being one of the most active organizations at GCC.

Most international students have struggled with life in the new environment, but they are trying hard to pursue their aims and dreams. Virix Kwong, a student from Hong Kong, entered GCC in Spring 2017. He is an English major who aims to transfer to a university. He decided to study in the U.S. because he thought America has a better education system for students. “Tight class schedule is one of my struggle in my college life,” Kwong said. The students need to study a lot, so they have to spare time on the weekend or holidays for studying.

“Hong Kong is more convenient than the U.S. on transportation. I used to use transportation a lot in Hong Kong, but people rely a lot on their private cars here,” Kwong mentioned. He feels more independent living by himself in the U.S. He enjoys cooking and taking care of his bills. He plans to go back to Hong Kong after finishing his degree and applying to the Cadet Pilot Program in order to be a pilot.

Miran Yamamoto, from Japan,  is an animation major. She is also working hard at GCC for her dreams. She started her education at GCC in the spring of 2017. She wanted to learn about film at first, so she decided to come to L.A. She had struggled with her English skills at first. “English is not my first language, so learning subjects in English was hard for me. It took times to be comfortable much longer than I expected.” In Japan, people are not really multiracial, but various people from different countries are living in the U.S.

So far, Yamamoto has learned new cultures, religions, and languages. Now, she is planning to transfer to California State University, Northridge (CSUN) to get a bachelor degree. Yamamoto really wants to learn about animation.” I’d like to work in a job related to animation for kids in Japan,” she said.