Calumet College of Saint Joseph always welcomes international students. With this in mind, I decided to ask Ana de Francisco, a senior from Brazil, and Erwin Krackow, a junior from Colombia, a few questions. More specifically, I asked about the idea of creating “a home away from home,” their college experiences, possible improvements regarding cultural representation on campus, and the future of international students.
I asked de Francisco and Krackow about their college experiences: “What made you decide to come to Calumet College of Saint Joseph?”
“I decided to come to CCSJ because I was offered a dance scholarship,” said de Francisco.
Krackow said, “CCSJ gave me the opportunity to represent them in tennis, and prepare myself, academically. The price for tuition and accommodations was affordable with an extremely high effort from my parents.”
I then asked about their thoughts regarding any current accommodations. de Francisco stated that while she feels like they are lacking, the nearby housing is helpful. “We are lucky to have nice houses to rent.” She also mentioned the absence of work opportunities, but suggests that it could change. ‘The only place international students can work is at the college and they do not hire us. That is something they could do for us that they do not do.”
Krackow also feels that the college has not provided enough help, but he says that faculty members do offer assistance. “Unfortunately, the college support has been low, without forgetting the help from specific professors and employees.”
He also says that accommodating students could get better over time. “There is always room for improvement, and CCSJ is not the exception.”
I also asked them how certain holiday traditions could be represented on campus. Although de Francisco said that she was unsure, she did state: “I really would like to see people being nicer to each other.”
Krackow said that the students meet for a meal towards the end of the semester. “Maybe a gathering to share a meal and wish each other ‘Merry Christmas’.”
When asked about how different cultures could be represented, de Francisco said, “The Honors Program is doing that by taking students to different countries. An idea would be to have exchange programs for students during summer or Christmas break where they go to other countries and learn their cultures. Also, a student from here could visit Colombia for the holidays, like a family exchange program.”
In one of my last questions, I asked de Francisco and Krackow about how incorporating traditions from other cultures would improve the college as a whole. de Francisco said,”It will make our college experience more pleasant and attract more students.”
“New cultures represent diversity, which may attract local students and internationals too,” Krackow said. “The cultural exchange brings personal enrichment and learning about new traditions or language patterns.”
Lastly, I asked for their opinions regarding the future of the international students. “If it continues as it is, not many international students will come,” de Francisco said. Krackow said,”I think depending on each student and the country where she or he comes from, CCSJ may have more or fewer internationals. The majority of us come to play a specific sport; therefore, depending on our experience in our respective teams, we may suggest friends or relatives to attend CCSJ. The Athletic Department as a whole, including administrative staff, coaches, trainer, and facilities has a high impact on the student’s perception from the college. The support and guidance in the academic side also plays an important percentage at the time to consider CCSJ.”
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