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In Pandemic, Hundreds of Students Still Come from Abroad

International students enjoy the carnival

September 29, 2021 - 12:02 AM

International Student Welcome Carnival Despite the difficulty in overseas travel, more than 300 international students have come from abroad to attend Mt. SAC in-person this Fall. As expected, COVID-19, and the restrictions and guidelines surrounding international travel, have dipped the numbers this school year, but perhaps not nearly as much as one might expect.




The International Student Center held a Welcome Carnival for these on-campus students from such distant locales as Myanmar and the Ivory Coast. The Carnival was a meet and greet for International Students to get to know each other in hopes they help support one another with the cultural, language and educational challenges they will face traveling so far from home to attend college.

International students poseThe most popular destination from which Mt. SAC draws students is China, and the most popular major for international students is Business, according to Christopher Dickson, the new Director of the International Student Program. All over campus, in a wide array of majors, students from a diverse number of countries, such as Indonesia, Taiwan, India, and Brazil are studying hard to take advantage of the cache that an American education holds within the global job market.

Chris Dickson“Having a degree from an American institution holds weight and is very marketable,” Dickson said. “A community college like Mt. SAC is seen worldwide as a great way to segue to an American four-year university. Plus, it costs significantly less, so they are saving money transferring to them instead.”  

International student plays fishing game


The Carnival invites campus clubs to host games for the students in order to get them to join and be more involved in college social life. The idea is to develop a sense of community and belonging in students who otherwise may feel a bit alienated on such a large campus in a foreign country. 


Student plays carnival game


But building a sense of community goes both ways for the International Student Program, said Dickson, “Our signature event each year is the International Fair during the International Education Week in November.”

2019 International Fair


At the upcoming fair, international students will host informational booths about their countries for purposes of cultural exchange and appreciation. This educates other students about their culture, while at the same time building awareness of the large international presence on the campus, Dickson said.  

Learn more about the International Student Program at their website