Did you know Parkland College has the most international students of any community college in the state of Illinois? In educational terms, “international student” refers to those students who study in the United States on visas. Currently, more than 300 visa students study at Parkland College!
However, Parkland is far more international than that. Loads of Parkland students not studying with visas come from all over the world. Many were born here in Champaign-Urbana to immigrant families or moved here with their families at a young age. Surprising to many, Champaign-Urbana is one of the most international cities in the region. Between the large numbers drawn by the University of Illinois, familial ties, and the cities’ refugee-friendly reputation, thousands of families have found their way to C-U.
So where do Parkland College international students come from? They, too, come from all over: Saudi Arabia, the West Bank, Cameroon, Qatar, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Armenia, Angola, DR Congo, China, France, Brazil, South Korea, India, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Liberia, Kenya, Albania, Australia, Venezuela, Japan, Israel, Canada, Mali, South Africa, Portugal, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Russia, The Philippines, Colombia, Ukraine, Pakistan, Mexico, Algeria, and Indonesia.
International students come to Parkland for a number of reasons, but one of the major ones is the English as a Second Language or ESL program that the college offers. While most universities require a certain score on an English exam for admission, an international student can come to Parkland without English proficiency and take ESL. The ESL program prepares students for academic and career English, rather than basic English conversation skills they might learn in an English class in their home country. Students from the ESL program have gone on to earn degrees from Parkland and then transfer to universities all around the country, to study a variety of fields.
Today, English is considered to be one of the global languages of business. Foreign students who learn English AND study a specific subject at Parkland College are in a position to stand out in an increasingly global economy. On the other side, American students can learn a great deal and gain new perspective from their international peers.
Find out more about Parkland College’s opportunities for its international students by visiting our International Center. Students from countries outside the U.S. can find out about applying to Parkland here. Join an inspiring community of global citizens, learning together!
[Chris Jackson is an international admissions advisor for Parkland Admissions and Records.]