It’s refreshing news for staff and students to have one more person they can trust and rely on. After a long and thorough process, the International Student Program at Glendale College had the plea- sure of welcoming the new Senior Coordinator, Nusha Shishegar, shortly after this past spring break.
Working on the field for the last 17 years, Shishegar started her career path as a student worker at UC Irvine Extensions, where she was in direct contact with international students learning English as second language.
In her senior year of college, she was hired as a full-timer in the school as a SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) coordinator, and dedicated herself to her studies while helping international students as well.
While Shishegar explained how she landed the job, she shared what motivates her, “You have to have a love for people” she said with a big smile on her face.“Haveanunder- standing of culture and diversity, and how those things play with each other, so you don’t come from a lens of judgment.”
On asking why she chose to work specifically with international students, and what it meant to her, Shishegar said “I actually get a little emotional when talking about international students, because I find them to be among the bravest people on the planet.”
By being in this field with people coming from so many different countries, she recognizes that it’s a big leap of faith they take. “To leave everything that you know […] it takes a very innovative strong person to do that,” she explained “I couldn’t do what they do.”
There are many international students at GCC, and the US educational system is very different from their countries. There are laws, rules, and exceptions that apply, and it is easy for students to feel overwhelmed with information and doubts.
Besides having to comprehend all of it, they also need to keep their objectives in mind, both academically and in life. “I feel it’s our responsibility to support them for that process. That’s where we the DSO’s (Designated School Official) come in to play. We have to support their goals,” she affirmed.
Shishegar also highlighted the importance on receiving feedback from students to develop the international program for better, as she believes in the importance of touching base with students and keeping a connection, preferably face-to-face. That is why her office door is always open, and she even has sweet treats on her desk as a bonus.
“Come to us early when there is a problem,” because at the end of the day “an international student’s advisor life is boring without international students,” she said in laughs.
Acknowledging that sometimes international students tend to feel more insecure on their way of communicating and going through cultural barriers alone, it’s important for Shishegar that students under- stand that they’re not being judged, and that it is okay to seek for help.
Besides minding the students’ goals, the new senior coordinator has her own as well. Her aim is for the school to become a second home for the students. For her, it’s about witnessing the students’ success, from transferring to achieving different goals in life. “That to me is super impactful. If you can be a part of that student’s success, that’s why you do the job I do.”