International students eager for education at Saddleback

Nathaniel Vamvas

Have you ever imagined yourself acquiring an education in a foreign country? Here at Saddleback we have over 150 international students from over 25 countries across the globe with an addition of 40 new students this semester. As the International Student Program grows, our campus becomes eminently diverse culturally.

Almost anyone would expect there to be a majority of students coming from one particular country, however that is not the case here. Saddleback has accepted international students coming from more than 20 countries in the Fall semester alone. Additionally, 8 more students have come this Fall in comparison to 2009. For example, there are 4 students from Korea, 3 students from Japan, 2 students from Vietnam as well as students attending classes from Indonesia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Sweden, Oman and many more countries worldwide. Valerie Kasuku, a 22 year old Sociology major from Zimbabwe, said, “College in my country has been rated as one of the best over the last years, but now things have changed economically, thus affecting the education system due to shortage of resources, teachers and professors.”

There are many reasons why aspiring students from around the world desire a state-of-the-art education at Saddleback College. Classes are located in the beautiful climate of Southern California, only a few miles from local beaches along the beautiful Pacific Ocean. “I chose Saddleback as it has been rated as one of the top community colleges in California,” states Kasuku, “The reputation of the school is what attracted me to apply to your institution.” Of course, Saddleback is one of the most prestigious community colleges in California, providing excellent student services, elaborate academic curriculum and high transfer rates to nearby universities such as UC Irvine, UC Los Angeles, UC San Diego and several others.

In addition to the many attractions Saddleback has to offer, international students are provided with tremendous opportunities along with their education. For instance, our institution offers numerous majors, academic programs, certificates and outstanding athletics which may not be made available by other community colleges. Saddleback may also appeal to parents because of it’s safe location and environment. Accessibility to major cities such as Los Angeles and San Diego gives way for many career opportunities as well.

The International Student Program at Saddleback is run by Monika Pinto Connolly, International Student Program Specialist.

The program is a superb addition to the campus due to the revenue generated by its department each year. According to Connolly, international students are required to pay $234 per unit. In doing so they are each provided with an F-1 student visa which allows them to stay in the United States for a total of 7 semesters. The International Student Program also includes F-1 student visa immigration advising, health insurance registration, academic workshops, seminars, and social events including a monthly coffee hour for both domestic and international students.