In 2008, Johnston Community College became one of 23 community colleges nationwide, and the only college in North Carolina, to host Community College Initiative (CCI) students. Through a grant provided by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and managed by Community Colleges for International Development (CCID), these students come from developing countries to study in the US for a year. Countries participating in the program include Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt, Brazil, South Africa, Cuba, Ghana and several Latin American countries.
The program targets students from lower-income families, who may not have other means to travel abroad or gain further education and training. These students also come from countries which American students do not typically know much about. There is mutual benefit to the program- CCI students will gain quality skills to allow them to excel when they return home, and greater awareness and understanding of American society. American students at JCC will be able to learn more about CCI students’ countries, making them more informed and tolerant in the process.
Employment skills and professional development are two of the most important components of the CCI program. At JCC, students enroll in Business Administration, Advertising and Graphic Design, or Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology. During their academic year, they will work toward a certificate, which will allow them to return home with improved qualifications and better job prospects. Students will also complete a 60+ hour internship in their field to utilize their new skills.
Another goal of the CCI program is to promote cultural understanding. We have misconceptions about many foreign countries, just as they do about the US. CCI students will complete an American Government course for them to learn about our ideals and how American society works. They will also take a Cultural Studies course with American students and will learn how their cultural backgrounds can influence their perspective on the world. Students will receive leadership and diversity training, competitive job market once they return home.
Lastly, CCI students are expected to live independently and develop personal responsibility while here. They share apartments in the Smithfield area, but also develop personal connections with people in their local area. Each student is matched with a mentor family, who serves as a source for friendship and guidance. Students and their mentor families generally get together 2 or 3 times a month to have dinner, visit a museum, or see a movie. Both students and mentor families receive support from a project coordinator at JCC.
Students will also have an opportunity to be matched with others at the college through the International Friendship and Language Exchange (IFLE) Program. Read more about it here
After hosting 2 Egyptian students for the academic year 2008-09, JCC accepted 6 students from Egypt, Pakistan and Turkey for 2009-10. Students will be eager to share their cultures with the community and will be participating in outreach activities at local schools and community organizations.
If you would like to learn more about the CCI program, or are interested in becoming involved with CCI students, please contact Heather Murphy, Coordinator of Global Education and Outreach on (919) 209-2239 or firstname.lastname@example.org.