More than 30 students from across the globe were welcomed to the Lincroft campus on Aug. 29 during a pre-semester orientation program offered by Brookdale’s International Education Center (IEC).
The new Brookdalians, hailing from countries including China, India, Jamaica, Italy and Pakistan, join a community of more than 150 international students currently studying at the college.
Attendees participated in a series of ice-breakers and information sessions led by IEC staff and college administrators before taking a campus tour and coming together for a group lunch.
International Center director Janice Thomas, coordinator Lucyna Wadych-Ketley, administrative assistant Anna Flood, faculty liaison and Brookdale English instructor Kelsey Maki and English as a Second Language (ESL) coordinator Synde Kaufman all spoke about the dedicated services offered to international students at Brookdale, which include student visa assistance, health insurance and housing advising, ESL programs, transfer assistance and career and internship opportunities.
“If you ever have any questions or concerns, or if you just want to talk, come and see us,” said Thomas, who joined Wadych-Ketley to walk the students through the registration and degree completion process. “We will be here for you every step of the way.”
For incoming student Marie Therese Cazeau, those services have already paid off. A former Brookdale student who had to withdrawal years ago due to a family emergency in her native Haiti, Cazeau said she is returning to the college to pursue a career in interpreting.
“I love Brookdale. This college has helped me so much,” said Cazeau, who plans to study American Sign Language, English and possibly Spanish. “Synde Kaufman has been so helpful; I know I can go to her at any time. I have work to do on my vocabulary, my writing and those things, but everyone is very helpful here. I’m excited for the new semester.”
The students also spoke with representatives from Brookdale’s office of Career and Leadership Development, who gave an overview campus employment services and job opportunities, and Vice President of Student Success David Stout, who encouraged the students to take advantage of the college’s resources and make the most of their time at Brookdale.
“On average, Brookdale’s international students perform about 10 percent better, academically, than our native students,” Stout said. “You have a great team here in the International Education Center, and your success is their top priority. There are here for you. We also have an International Students Association and a wide range of campus organizations, which we encourage you to participate in. You have all the tools you need to go wherever you want to.”
Incoming students Saad Shafique and Mohammad Saeed took that advice to heart, saying they plan to be active members of the college community beginning this fall. Shafique, who went to high school with Saeed in Pakistan, said he hopes to join a campus music club, while Saeed hopes to continue his high school athletics career as a Brookdale Jersey Blue.
“It was a very helpful orientation. It’s good to have that kind of push, and to get some guidance on your route forward,” said Shafique, who plans to study mechanical engineering at Brookdale. “It was also interesting to meet people from so many different nationalities. It was a good start for us.”
The incoming international students were also given to opportunity to participate in two class trips prior to the start of the semester, including an excursion to Great Adventure on Sept. 2.
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.