An array of 60 different flags decorated Plaza Vaquero Tuesday to exhibit the various nations represented among GCC’s student population, and to promote International Education Week 2002.
According to Dr. Philip Kamara-Kay, counselor and professor of international/cultural studies at GCC, the event can be described as one week in the year to praise international education.
“Our intent,” said Kamara-Kay, “was to highlight the value of international education.”
The event, sponsored by the United States Department of Education, included opening remarks from Kamara-Kay, speeches by Dr. Jewel Price, dean of student services, and ASGCC President Antonino Patti, as well as student testimonies on the value of international education.
“‘International education promotes a greater understanding of students among other nations,'” said Kamara-Kay quoting a release from President George W. Bush.
The third annual event not only sought to recognize international students studying here in the U.S., but to recognize students studying in other nations as well through study abroad programs.
According to Kamara-Kay, the impact of international education is tremendous.
“The only way we can promote peace and a healthy environment is through education,” said Kamara-Kay. “These [international students] are your future ambassadors and world leaders.”
Price also praise the work of such international students as former ASGCC President Dimitrios Sinodinos, who was from Greece.
Sinodinos went on to graduate from Cal State Northridge and is now an intern in Rep. Adam Schiff’s Glendale office.
“These students are doing great things,” said Price.
The student testimonies included that of international student Sebastian Beck from Chile, who described his experience here as “nothing but good.”
“I was looking for a better education and experience,” said Beck. He went on to explain that having a degree from here could offer him more opportunities in his home country.
The president of the International Students Club, Henan Joof, who is also an ASGCC senator of administration, told of his experience in leaving his family and friends in France to study in the U.S.
“GCC is very diverse. I wanted to come experience every culture the world can offer,” said Joof.
He has interacted with students from such different parts of the world as Asia, Latin America and Europe.
“From every person I have learned something,” said Joof. “To me, that is what education is – the way to a better life.”
Among other international students, Shant Uhanian, ASGCC vice president of administration, who is from Iran but was raised in Germany, Howard Chang from Taiwan and students from Japan and Russia spoke of their experiences with international education.
“We are in a melting pot of many different cultures, ethnicities and heritages,” said Corinne Sce, a student in Kamara-Kay’s Social Science 134 class on international/intercultural studies.
The class teaches about cultures, how they affect one another and how sometimes they melt into one.
Andrea Whitehead and Leroy Johnson, not foreign students but still a part of the International Students Club here at GCC, promoted the club, letting students know that even “home grown” Americans can benefit from the program.
According to Joof, there are currently about 550 international students at GCC. However, only about 100 of those are actively involved in the International Students Club.