Going to college is hard for most people. Students from countries other than America attending schools here have an even more complicated time in their college careers.
Adjusting to life in America and learning English as a second language, along with the normal workload with which all students are burdened, act as obstacles for international students to overcome.
“It was definitely hard adjusting to school in America, not to mention the culture,” Colombia native and Cabrini student Marco Crespo said. “Sometimes it can be overwhelming with all the things I am expected to do.”
Crespo was born in Columbia and attended school there until coming to America for high school. While not an international student in the eyes of American universities, Crespo’s experience is somewhat similar to that of students coming from abroad.
“I’m lucky that I have some family living in Florida and in Pennsylvania,” Crespo said. “They made the adjustment period much easier for me. It must be even harder for students with no family here.”
Bianca Huertas Perez, an international Cabrini student from Guatemala, can attest to these obstacles to overcome.
“The school system is completely different. You are required to take more classes and that is quite hard to adjust to,” Perez said. “And the language has been quite a difficulty as well.”
However, for students not originally from the United States, Cabrini is doing it’s best to provide an excellent learning environment. President Donald Taylor has made international programs an important area of focus through Cabrini’s 2020 Roadmap.
“People from all over the world recognize ‘Cabrini’ from high schools and health care systems. We seek to grow our international awareness and student population, better serving those who travel so far to pursue their education at Cabrini,” the Roadmap reads.
By 2020, Cabrini hopes to accomplish several things in regard to it’s international affairs. For one, an increased enrollment of qualified international students is at the top of the list. Among other plans, Cabrini will establish an accredited English Language Learner support service, expand training for faculty serving international students and establish infrastructure to support international student needs.
Dr. Paul Wright, Cabrini’s Assistant Provost of International Affairs, feels that Cabrini is on the right track.
“As Cabrini continues to internationalize,” Wright said, “we are developing support structures for international students ranging from English language assistance and academic advising specific to their needs to out-of-classroom supports such as cultural trips in our region, communal activities for internationals, as well as opportunities for our international students to interact with all Cabrini students in a welcoming environment where diversity is not only recognized, but actively prized.”
Perez feels that Cabrini’s commitment to help international students excel exceeds her standards.
“People [here] make it really easy,” Perez said. “They are really patient with you and they try to help you. They allow you to take your time.”
Cabrini is also helping international students on the financial end, according to Charlie Spencer, the director of international and military recruitment.
“If eligible, Cabrini offers an academic grant or scholarship [to international students],” Spencer said. “All international students can submit a Cabrini University financial aid application in addition to the academic scholarship.”
Cabrini hopes to create “a unique Cabrinian global student experience,” according to the 2020 roadmap.
“Cabrini is an outstanding choice for international students in part because of our unique mission and heritage,” Wright said. “As Mother Cabrini is the Church’s patron saint of immigrants, it makes total sense that we pay special attention to internationalizing our student body and campus culture, particularly in an increasingly global marketplace.”