Who Are These Students?
Your foreign-educated immigrant students may be highly literate in their own language, but beginners in English. Or they may be immigrants from English-speaking countries in Africa, the Caribbean and Southeast Asia who are completely proficient in English. They may only have completed high school or a few semesters of college, or have one or more degrees from a university in their home country, coupled with years of work experience. They may be refugees or asylees who have just arrived in the U.S. Or they may be immigrants who have worked for years in low-paying survival jobs to support themselves and their families but now want to resume their careers or train for a new one.
The one thing foreign-educated immigrants typically have in common is their lack of awareness about what programs community colleges have to offer that could serve as stepping stones to well-paying jobs and a better life in the U.S. For example, the distinction between credit and non-credit courses, the concept of “continuing education,” and the opportunity to obtain post-graduate certifications through short-term courses are not typical of most international education systems.
The tremendous opportunities that exist in community colleges match the diverse needs and flexible pathways these students need. No one program or pathway will be suitable for all. This is why community colleges have such a vital role to play in helping immigrants transition into professional careers.