Shoreline Rises into Top 20 U.S. Colleges Enrolling International Students

Shoreline Community College has joined the top 20 Associate’s colleges hosting international students in the United States.

In its Open Doors Report, released as part of global International Education Week celebrations, the Institute of International Education ranked Shoreline Community College number 19 in the U.S. on the list of Associate’s Colleges with the most international students.

Shoreline’s rise in the rankings comes amid overall drops in new enrollments by international students throughout the state and the nation. In this context, it has been increasingly difficult to attract new students. However, Shoreline has seen significantly lower declines in international enrollments compared to other similar institutions.

Shoreline’s International Education Department works hard to make sure international students have all the support they need to succeed in the U.S. education system. One recent graduate, Riadiania Marcelita from Indonesia, said, “the international student advisors worked with me from day one to plan my academic journey.” Riadiana is currently working at Adobe Systems in California.

International students also point to the excellence of our teaching faculty as another reason for the success. Kacem Saber Becis from Algeria noted, “the faculty are truly preparing me to be successful at a university.”

It is this support, and the student successes that it leads to, that attracts international students to Shoreline.

With just short of 1,000 international students from over 50 countries, Shoreline is one of five colleges in Washington State in the top 20 leading institutions, making ours one of the most competitive states in the country. In the past ten years, Shoreline has increased its international student population by around 30%, and moved from being ranked in the 30s to its current spot at 19.

The Open Doors Report has been published annually by the Institute of International Education since the 1948-49 academic year. Since 1972, they have partnered with the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to produce the report. Open Doors contains data on international students in the U.S. as well as American students who study abroad in other countries.

What is International Education Week?

Every year for one week in November, schools, colleges and universities, and even embassies throughout the U.S. and around the world celebrate International Education Week (IEW). The official website explains that IEW ” is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide,” and is and effort ” to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences.

This year, Shoreline Community College is celebrating IEW with a wide variety of events.

International Coffee and Tea Tasting

Monday, November 18 | 8:30 – 10:30 a.m.
PUB Lobby
Drop by the PUB on Monday morning to kick off IEW by tasting coffee and tea from different countries and cultures around the world! You’ll also have the chance to learn about the many different traditions and customs related to coffee and tea.

Study Abroad Fair & Passport Day

Monday, November 18 | 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
PUB Lobby
Want to study abroad? Learn about all the fascinating places you can go with Shoreline’s study abroad programs and the scholarships that are available. We’ll also have a representative from the Seattle Passport Agency who can tell you all about how to get a passport!

Trivia Night

Tuesday, November 19 | 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.
7262 Great Room (in the on-campus residence hall)

Test your knowledge of the world! Compete against small teams and individuals to see who can answer the most questions in our globe-spanning trivia night. Winners will receive prizes, and everyone will get free pizza!

Global Perspectives

“Old Masters, New Skills”
Perspectives on Teaching in Modern China
Wednesday, November 20 | 11:30 a.m. – 12:20 p.m.
PUB 9208

Listen to the tales of an American laoshi (that’s “teacher” in Mandarin) spanning what it’s like to teach in China as a foreigner and interesting places to visit along the way! Shoreline ESL faculty member Tom Genest will be sharing his experiences and taking questions about his time in China.

South Africa Study Abroad Panel
Wednesday, November 20 | 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
PUB 9208

Join Dr. Ernest Johnson, Dr. Elena Esquibel, and a group of students who recently returned from a study abroad trip to Cape Town, South Africa. Students will make a presentation about their experiences and answer questions from the audience.

Language Tables

Thursday, November 21 | 12:30 – 2:00 p.m.
PUB Lobby

Learn words and useful phrases from native speakers of languages hailing from countries around the globe! Each language will have a table with games and snacks.

Badminton Tournament

Friday, November 22 | 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
3000 Main Gym

Show off your skills in a doubles badminton tournament! Badminton is popular in countries around the world, from Britain to China to Indonesia. Join us in celebrating this sport whose popularity can’t be contained by borders. All current Shoreline students are welcome to sign up – if you don’t have a partner, we can help you find one. Finalists will win prizes!

$2,000 Scholarship Helps Shoreline Student Study Abroad in Japan

Jennifer Brown sitting on Shoreline Community College Campus
Jennifer Brown received a Gilman Scholarship for Fall 2019
Gilman Scholarship logo

Right now, Jennifer Brown is living and learning in Tokyo, Japan, thanks in part to a $2,000 scholarship from the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, a U.S. Department of State program. She’ll stay there all of fall quarter as part of a study abroad program, learning Japanese language and culture, creative writing, and digital photography.

Her interest in Japan, like that of many other people, began with the anime series she watched as a child, and continued into a fascination with video games. Now, she stays engaged with the culture in many ways, including attending lectures and serving as an assistant manager at SakuraCon, an anime convention held annually in Seattle.

Traditional Japanese paper lanterns light up a small lane full of shops in Tokyo.
Photo by Satoshi Hiroyama

Jennifer, a first-generation Mexican-American, grew up in San Diego. She was drawn to Seattle because of its cultural and economic connections to Japan. By earning a dual degree in Fine Arts and Japanese, she someday hopes to work for a company like Nintendo, whose U.S. headquarters are located near Seattle. She is also considering working in Japan, an option that she’ll learn about during her 10 weeks living in Tokyo.

After she arrived in Seattle, she began taking Japanese language classes at Shoreline with Mayumi Steinmetz. “I’ve gotten to really hone my language skills with her. She’s seen me since I couldn’t even muster one or two words to now, making conversation. If I could take my whole four years of Japanese with her, I would.”

Shibuya crossing at night, one of the busiest intersections in Tokyo, lined by tall buildings with large billboard advertisements and bright neon lights.

The Gilman Scholarship is named for late congressman Benjamin A. Gilman of New York, who supported the program’s establishment and served as Chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee. According to the program’s website, “A Gilman Scholarship enables American students to gain proficiency in diverse languages and cultures, skills that are critically important to their academic and career development.”

To learn about scholarships and study abroad opportunities at Shoreline, contact studyabroad@shoreline.edu or stop by the International Education department in room 9302.

What It’s Like to Find a Job as an International Student on OPT

Hi, my name is Nick (Krittawat Pattaramekanon). I earned my Associate of Arts degree at Shoreline Community College. During my time at Shoreline, I was working as International Marketing Assistant and Photographer. It was a very good experience to meet new people from many places and cultures. I started my first quarter in Shoreline in Fall 2015 studying ESL and Music.

Nick stands at the far left with the staff at a Thai restaurant

I applied for Optional Practical Training (also known as OPT, which is a program that allows international students to work in the U.S. after they complete their studies at a U.S. college or university) around June of 2018 and it took around 4 months before the card actually arrived. So if you plan to get one, apply early! The academic and immigration advisors at Shoreline can help you going through the process and documents for applying. Also finding a job is not usually easy. It takes time and mostly you need to go to interview at the company. Other than my current job, I also applied for Photographer jobs in studios, and as a car enthusiast, I applied for a position as a “Car Photographer.” Other than regular job-finding sites, it’s also a good idea to check your local Facebook or social media groups.

Point of Sale system

Before graduating in Spring 2018, I found a job as Installer for a Thai company based in Lynnwood, Washington called SmilePOS. We do Point of Sale (POS) systems for (mostly Thai) restaurants. The job was posted in Thai Community of Washington State’s Facebook Group. I started working in November of 2018. This job requires travel a lot. What I am doing is traveling to the customer’s restaurants, discuss with them where/how they want the POS to be, Install the system, giving them training, take photos for the interior/food and the rest is free time to go out and explore!

So far I have been to almost 30 states, multiple cities and countless miles across the country. This is the best part of the job. More than half of these states are the ones I have not been to before. One of the most memorable trip was one to Moab, Utah. I had spent a night in Denver, CO because my flight was canceled. The next day, I got on a plane and the weather was so bad that we needed to land at Grand Junction, CO. One of the customer’s friends was there so they picked us up and took us to Moab in the middle of the night. That trip I get to explore Arches National Park in Utah and it is very beautiful. The states I went to the most are California, Florida, Oregon and Illinois. I was amazed how many Thai restaurants are there in this country, especially in Washington State.

Arches National Park in Utah

During the time that I am not travelling, I stay at the company designing gift cards, doing graphic design, editing photos, making video ads and some promotional materials. It is a good improvement for the company to have quality photos for use on our website and also the customers’ ones. On some occasions, the company has participated in volunteer and promotional work. Every year there are Thai Festivals at Buddhist Temples where restaurants bring out food for sale and there are cultural performances to watch. I usually attend and volunteer to take photos there.

I would like to thank Shoreline Community College, which gave me so many opportunities and has very helpful advisors. For current and future students, OPT is a good chance for you to experience the working culture in America to prepare you to work or continue your higher education. Apply for a work permit, find a job early, and good luck!

Words and photos by Krittawat Pattaramekanon

Editor’s note: By starting at a community college and earning an associate’s degree, students get an extra opportunity to work on OPT that they wouldn’t have if they completed an entire bachelor’s degree program at a 4-year university! Contact us at international@shoreline.edu to learn more!

5 Reasons Living on Campus in a Residence Hall Is a Great Idea

With a move-in date this September, Shoreline Community College’s brand new residence hall could be the best place for Shoreline students who want to engage with their campus, their classmates, and have a traditional U.S. college experience!

Here are 5 reasons why living on campus when you come to study at Shoreline is a great idea.

You’ll be part of a community

When you live in a residence hall on campus, staff work to help create a sense of community among the students living there by planning and hosting events and activities like movie nights and video game tournaments in cozy common areas like the one above. You’ll meet lots of new people and make friends that you’ll have for life. The people I met in my residence hall are still some of my best friends today!

Staff will be there to support you

Our residence hall will have a full-time Director who will live in the hall. Additionally, there will be four student Resident Assistants living in the hall to help you with anything you need. If you’re feeling homesick, you’re adjusting to your new life as a college student in the U.S., or you just want to meet new people, you’ll always be able to talk to the Resident Assistants!

There will also be 24-hour security in case of emergencies.

Students who live on campus do better academically

Researchers have found that students who live on campus tend to get higher scores in their classes than other students. They also show more development, gain greater interpersonal self-esteem, and generally report having a better experience with their undergraduate education!

Lots of amenities for residents

Because our residence hall is brand new, all the rooms are beautifully finished. Plus, they already have tables, beds, chairs, and all the other furniture you’ll need, so you won’t have to worry about buying any!

Students who live there will also have kitchens with modern appliances that will make even people who don’t know how to cook want to learn! There will also be a shuttle that runs from the residence hall to nearby supermarkets, so if you don’t want to drive or walk, you can just hop on the shuttle to get your shopping done. Residents will also have access to free, secure Wi-Fi. Water, electricity, and gas are also provided at no extra cost.

You’ll be right on campus!

If you enjoy having a slow, peaceful morning, or if you don’t like waking up early, living on campus is the best! It will take you 10 minutes or less to walk to your classroom, and you won’t have to worry about driving or taking the bus every day. And between classes, it will be very easy for you to go home if you want to do some cooking, have your own space to relax, or take a nap! Shoreline’s campus is also, as you can see above, a beautiful, green, and relaxing environment. It’s the perfect place to live!

Of course, these are just some of the great things about living on campus. Rooms are filling up quickly, so be sure to apply to live in our residence hall as soon as you can! You can apply at our residence hall’s website.

How a Shoreline Student Got Thousands of Dollars to Study Abroad

Growing up in Yakima and working on his uncle’s fruit farm, Logan Gamache did not think that he would one day travel to Cape Town, South Africa. Logan said, “I definitely would not have the opportunity to go without Shoreline.”

Logan Gamache photo by Rylan Good

This summer, Logan, along with other students and faculty from Shoreline, will do just that. They will study issues of social justice, equity, and communications, as well as learning about local history and culture. He is able to do this thanks to a $2,500 scholarship he received to help pay for the program.

Logan attended an information session on the program with Dr. Ernest Johnson, who is leading the South Africa program along with Dr. Elena Esquibel. At the session, Dr. Johnson shared a list of scholarships for studying abroad. Logan found out that, because he receives a Pell Grant, he was eligible to apply for the U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, which awards scholarships of up to $5,000 to help students pay for study abroad programs.

Cape Town, with Table Mountain in the background

After writing a couple of essays and a few months of waiting, Logan was notified that he would be receiving a $2,500 scholarship. He was the only student from a two-year college in Washington State to receive funding from the Gilman Scholarship for this application cycle.

So far, Logan has only traveled to Canada and Mexico. The farthest he’s ever flown is from Florida to Washington, which takes less than six hours. To get to Cape Town, he’ll be taking two back-to-back flights of more than ten hours each. He’s excited to explore a place so far away and so different from home.

Aside from the academic portion of the program, which Logan believes will be useful in the travel and tech industries he hopes to work in, he is looking forward to climbing the iconic Table Mountain and seeing breathtaking views of Cape Town.

As a player on Shoreline’s men’s soccer team, he will unfortunately have to miss a significant part of next year’s season, but this study abroad program funded almost entirely by scholarships is “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” according to Logan, and couldn’t be passed up.

Since 2012, sixteen Shoreline students have received the Gilman Scholarship. In recent years, even though this is a very prestigious scholarship, about 50% of Shoreline students who have applied have received funding. If you or someone you know wants to learn more about studying abroad and scholarships, contact Cory Anthony in the International Education department at canthony@shoreline.edu or stop by his office in PUB 9302.

How a Student from China Became a Volunteer at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle (and Why She Loves It!)

Yueheng Feng volunteers at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle

I’m Yueheng Feng, an international student from China studying at Shoreline Community College. Five months ago, when I just arrived in Seattle, I was excited and eager to try to adapt to this new environment as quickly as possible. I wanted to get involved not just on campus with different activities but also in the community to expand my social circles. Luckily, I learned about volunteering at the Pacific Science Center from our China Specialist, Ms. Linda Du. She told me about what it is like to volunteer there and encouraged me to apply for it. Of course I would try it because I have always loved exploring in the science centers and I enjoy the chance to help others.

Pacific Science Center in Seattle, WA Photo by Ron Clausen [CC BY-SA 4.0]

Very soon after submitting my application, I received an email for the volunteer interview. It was a group interview, which was not as intimidating as I thought. It was just an opportunity for us to meet the Volunteer Coordinators and get to know each other because we might volunteer together in the future. Some of the questions asked at the interview were difficult for me to understand in the beginning, but I tried my best to be brave in a group setting, shared my opinions and expressed myself in English. When I didn’t understand a question, I listened to others and then tried to figure out what the question was asking for. If I still couldn’t understand the question, I just asked the staff and they would ask me again in an easier way. I passed the interview and completed the New Volunteer Orientation in November! By now, I have volunteered as a Guest Ambassador for more than 20 hours. Because of a temporary change with this particular volunteer program, I just re-applied and became a Tinker Tank volunteer recently.

     Before I started volunteering at Pacific Science Center, some friends told me that it would not be easy to be a volunteer there. Even many university students and local high school students want to volunteer there, and I just started learning ESL at that time. I think being confident in myself is very important. I know this is out of my comfort zone and I still need to keep improving myself, but I know I can do this better and better!   

     The Pacific Science Center is located in Seattle Center next to the Space Needle. It takes me about one hour to get there by bus. Volunteers can get bus passes for commuting there. Whenever I’m not too busy with school, I sign up for volunteering shifts. Being a volunteer there is very interesting and fun. I like to engage with guests by asking them questions to start the interaction. There are also many free cookies, candies and chocolates for volunteers. I can also grab a hot beverage for free as another volunteer benefit. Of course the meaningful experience of being a volunteer is way beyond this. People at the Pacific Science Center are very friendly. Other staff and volunteers would help me when I don’t know the answers.

     The Pacific Science Center is a great place. If you want to be a volunteer, you should go there and try! I would regret if I didn’t sign up to be a volunteer there!

To learn more about different volunteer opportunities and apply online, just go to: www.pacificsciencecenter.org/volunteers/