David Mathews: SMC graduates mirror global societyPublished 9:35pm Thursday, May 10, 2012
Southwestern Michigan College hosted its 45th commencement ceremony last Saturday. The college awarded degrees and certificates to 447 graduates – many of whom live within southwest Michigan and, because of our proximity, northern Indiana.
Among those students walking in Saturday’s ceremony were seven individuals who traveled from their homeland of Canada and Africa to attend Southwestern Michigan College. These international graduates attended Southwestern Michigan College along more than 20 other foreign students who were enrolled this past winter.
In total, the college’s international student population during the 2011-2012 school year represented 13 foreign countries, including Canada, China, Ghana, Kenya, Latvia, Malawi, Mozambique, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Tanzania, Venezuela, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Clearly, this international representation at Southwestern Michigan College reflects our ever-growing global society, where American students as well as foreign students forge a cultural relationship that transcends differences between countries, providing a diversity that is shared and enjoyed by everyone.
The enrollment of foreign students at Southwestern Michigan College is nothing new. Throughout the past 46 years, hundreds of international students have chosen Southwestern Michigan College as their higher education institution.
Over the past 4.5 decades, international students from 43 foreign countries have graduated from Southwestern Michigan College. These students arrived at Southwestern Michigan College from the Bahamas, Zimbabwe, Kazakhstan, Singapore, Belize, France, Italy, Japan, and Poland – just to name a few.
They choose Southwestern Michigan College for many of the same reasons that our American students decide to come here – the affordable cost, the easy transfer of our credits to four-year universities, the smaller class sizes, high student success rate and the accessibility and dedication of the faculty and staff.
It’s a win-win encounter for American students as well as international students – the exposure and sharing of different cultural backgrounds and ideas to further enhance everyone’s college experience.