More than 20 students from across the globe were welcomed into the Brookdale family on Aug. 29 during a pre-semester orientation program hosted by the International Education Center (IEC).
The students – hailing from countries including China, Pakistan, Brazil, Hong Kong, Turkey, South Africa, Nigeria, Honduras, the Philippines, Russia and Jamaica – were greeted by a wide range of college officials and student services representatives, including interim Brookdale President David Stout and IEC director Janice Thomas.
“It’s great to have you all here, and I thank you for choosing Brookdale,” said Stout. “We consider ourselves a family, and you are now part of that family. Our International Education Center, and the staff associated with it, are here to help make your transition as smooth as possible and help you to succeed. If you ever have anything you want to talk about, please reach out to us at any time.”
Thomas joined IEC coordinator Lucyna Wadych-Ketley, administrative assistant Anna Flood and English as a Second Language (ESL) coordinator Synde Kaufman in providing a comprehensive overview of the services offered to international students at Brookdale, including student visa assistance, health insurance and housing advising, ESL programs, transfer assistance and career and internship opportunities.
The students also participated in ice-breaker activities and met with a series of guest speakers before taking a campus tour and coming together for a group lunch.
“It has been amazing,” said Karen Suazo, of Honduras, following the orientation program.
“It has been the most wonderful experience so far, because of all the services and the resources everyone has provided. They have exceeded all of my expectations. I feel more than comfortable at this college than I thought possible, and I haven’t even begun yet.”
The attendees represent more than 30 international students who are enrolling at Brookdale for the first time this fall. In all, the college now hosts approximately 160 international students from 45 countries across the globe.
According to Wadych-Ketley, a former international student and a Brookdale alumna, the IEC is designed to help new students overcome the challenges associated with studying internationally and reach the highest levels of success at Brookdale.
“We offer individual support to students in every aspect of their life: adjustment to life in the US, culture shock, help with immigration issues, employment, academic advising and counseling – the list goes on,” said Wadych-Ketley. “This kind of support is very important especially at the beginning of their education.
“I faced the same struggles and went through the same journey as all international students go through,” she added, explaining that the IEC’s diverse team hails from countries such as Poland, Jamaica and Italy. “Therefore it is very easy and natural for us to understand what they are going through and we are glad to now be in a position to help. Our message to our students is very clear: ‘You are welcome here.'”
Learn more about the Brookdale International Education Center, and the services available to international students, by visiting the IEC webpage.
Check out more photos of the orientation program here.