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Helping Students Access the World
08.28.13 |
Inviting international students to come to Annville for their undergraduate education benefits the LVC community in several ways, notes Keo Oura Kounalavong-Sabath, associate director of admission. “The students provide a great exchange of ideas between different cultures,” she adds. “Each international student is unique—but they each want to learn about American culture, and they want to become proficient in English to succeed professionally when they go back to their home country.

“And on the other hand, it’s important for LVC students to know that there’s a world outside of the Valley,” she adds. “It’s important for them to learn that there are folks who see things differently—how do you talk to them, how do you interact? So it’s about helping students enter into the global community, but also helping that global community function in American society.”

Ironically, to provide the best educational experience for international students, it’s important to strike a balance regarding how many are on campus at any one time, Kounalavong-Sabath says, noting that the College offers the advantage of not having an overly large international community. “I had a chance to speak with an LVC alumnus who is Japanese, who had studied at a West Coast university before transferring to LVC. I asked, ‘What made you transfer to LVC?’ He said, ‘I didn’t realize that my English was so bad until I came to LVC.’” The Japanese community at his first school was so large that he never had to fully develop his English-speaking skills. But at LVC, Kounalavong-Sabath says, the challenge of being more deeply immersed in American culture “allowed him to move very rapidly in his employment field because he could really work in the American business market,” she says.

“It takes an independent and resourceful international student to succeed at LVC,” she adds. “We’re looking for applicants who can thrive here and take advantage of everything we have to offer. We look for students who want to join the newspaper or play volleyball and be engaged in the community.”

What other benefits does LVC offer the international student? “Definitely the location,” Kounalavong-Sabath says. “It’s a quiet place, a safe town, so parents know that we offer a good place where their son or daughter can focus and learn. The second part is the impact experience. Not just the experience of an American culture, but also an experience of their major,” she says, pointing to the College’s extensive opportunities for student-faculty collaborative research, internships, and the other high-impact experiences available to all LVC students.

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