Studying in TRI-C as an International Student
The Cuyahoga Community College, popularly known as Tri-C, is 58 years old. It is the oldest, largest, and best community college in Ohio. The college currently has four main campuses: West, East, Metro, and Westshore, and other offsite locations offering over a thousand programs. Due to Tri-C’s top-notch education and reputation over the years, it has attracted a lot of international students who come from various countries for the I associate degrees. In this article, we spoke with some international students on their Tri-C journey and the Int’l Student Services coordinator and Designated School officials at the Eastern and Metro Campus.
The metro campus currently has a Multi-cultural club. This is a club where international students meet each other, hang out and make memories together, making their stay enjoyable. Lori Brindisi, the Int’l Student Services coordinator and Designated School official for Metro campus, is also the club Advisor. The Voice magazine spoke with Lori about her experience working with international students over the years. Lori has worked with international students at Tri-C for over eight years but has worked with international students and study abroad students for more than twenty years. And she informed us that we currently have over 120 F-1 visa holders at the metro campus, the largest in Tri-C. Lori is passionate about what she does with international students. She enjoys establishing connections with the students initially and assisting them in settling down, making connections on campus, and helping the students get to know Cleveland. She says, “the most gratifying part of what I do is watching their lives unfold, seeing where their journey takes them and when they keep in contact with me much later to share their successes and accomplishments.”
We also spoke with Pamela Peters, who currently is the Int’l Student Services coordinator and Designated School official for the Eastern campus and helps the international student’s transmission seamlessly. Pamela is a licensed counselor in Ohio and has a background as a career advisor, counselor, and enrollment center representative. She has been with Tri-C for almost 18 years and has worked with F1-visa holders for over three years. Pamela deals with over 60 F-1 visa students per semester and many more who are applying for the F-1 Visa and enjoy working with them. She says, “The international students teach me so much about courage, strength, talent and their home countries too, which is interesting and fascinating. The most challenging aspect is that I had to take on additional job duties serving Veteran students due to staffing reductions, which doubled my workload. Making sure that I get all of the work done correctly and on time has been challenging. I used to have more time to help plan events for international students, but now I cannot devote the time and energy to doing that important work.” Pamela is looking forward to organizing more international students events soon.
The voice Magazine also spoke with a few international students on their experience. We talked to Izabela Zoga from Albania and is also the President of the multi-cultural club based at the metro campus. Izabela has been in Tri-C for three years and is currently pursuing an associate in Graphic Design. She organizes events for international students. When asked how Tri-c has contributed to her positively, she says, “Tri-C helped me how to be a great leader.” Her culture shock says, “The way Americans go about making a friend is different than what I am used to in my country, Albania.” One of Izabela’s memorable experiences is from the club hangout; she said “I remember the first event that we did. It was the International event when we all shared traditional food from our country, and I gave a speech about my country.”
The Voice magazine also spoke with Valentina Sanchez Rodriguez, an international student from Mexico. Valentina is currently pursuing an associate in Film and Media Arts and enjoys being in Tri-C because there are good professors, and she is learning many life skills. When asked what her first culture shock was, she says, “People not saying “enjoy your meal” when eating.”
As the pandemic disappears and travel restrictions are lifted, we expect to see even more international students in Tri-c coming to get the best education available. The voice magazine will continue its relationship with the international student community and write on their events and progress.