Shivani, a participant in the Northwest Community College Initiative (NWCCI) program from India, is studying hospitality and tourism at Whatcom Community College. In addition to improving her writing skills, she’s passionate about photography. Here Shivani selects three images that capture the powerful experiences and relationships that have shaped her time on the CCI program.
I had no experience with international students before coming to the United States. When I found out I’d be living with other international students, I was really nervous. On the other hand, it was an unforgettable moment of my life when I met students from all over the world; I never imagined how much they would impact me and help me to understand my various perceptions. One of the greatest gifts of the Community College Initiative Program is to provide international friendships. They will forever be friends of mine, whether I see them again or not.
Before coming to the United States, I did not think that I would find somebody to care for me and love me as their family member. Fortunately, I met my friendship family and they have helped me in several ways that I could never have imagined. On the first day, my friendship parents took me to a place where I could get Indian food and I remember I asked Catalina (my friendship Mom) “May I call you Mom?” She replied “Of course, you can call me Mom. Shivani, I am your mom, your friend, your sister and your teacher. You can call me whatever you want.” Since that day I have felt that I am part of their family. Whenever I am with my friendship family I feel like I am with my real family. I really appreciate everything they have done for me during this program.
First day in American classroom
I still remember my first day in an American classroom, how frustrated and nervous I was. My biggest concern was not getting to the right classroom on time. When I got to the hallway of my classroom I sat on the floor, checked my schedule ten times, and waited patiently until I saw Greg Hansen, my hospitality instructor. On the first of my class we made introductions. I didn’t think I made a good first impression because I was very shy. On that first day, I could not understand half of what my instructor said. As an international student, I realized that the rate of speech of my instructor was very high compared to our normal conversations. When the first week was over, I decided to talk to him. My instructor really appreciated it and said thanks to me for bringing that to him. He said, “I know the majority of students are international in my class and they do not speak English as their native language. I will speak more slowly while I am with international students.” After that I realized that it gets easier day by day.
The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The opinions expressed in this blog by writers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Northwest Community College Initiative program, Edmonds Community College, Whatcom Community College, Pierce College, the United States Department of State or any employee thereof. NWCCI and Edmonds Community College are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied by student bloggers.