by Carley Litten
The international study program at CMU provides a study program for students to learn English and a place where international students can get together through many activities.
Marcus Eliasson, an international student from Sweden who plays hockey, wanted to find a school where he can play hockey and learn at the same time.
“I hired a consultant agency back home that helps student athletes coming to the U.S. to combine school and sports at the same time,” Eliasson said.
Another student in the program is Hawra Albajhan, from Saudi Arabia, who enjoys the environment of CMU.
“My teachers are so good. They help me so much,” Albajhan said. “It is a small city with not many people here, so the teachers can focus on us.”
Albajhan also used an agency to find CMU’s intensive English program.
Annie Gingerich, the associate director of the program, helps the students through the process of coming to the U.S., as well as helping them become integrated within the community.
“This last semester alone we have had 40 new students enroll,” Gingerich said.
Gingerich has worked and researched to expand the international program since she started in 2010. She has had agents refer students to the school as a part of the expansion process.
“Two initiatives launched in 2014, and one of those was the opening of our campus intensive English program,” Gingerich said. “It is run by a bridge education group in Denver and they are able to offer intensive English courses that will allow students to meet CMU academic requirements.”
The students are in a classroom 24 hours a week, and it is an eight week course in which the students move up in level. The second initiative is the recruitment of international students.
“One of the things I was trying to figure out how to do was, how do we attract international students here?” Gingerich said. “Last fall was the first time we received students who were referred by an agent.”
Once being able to actively seek students, this allowed for more applicants. Once those two initiatives launched, applications and enrollment started to steadily increase.
As for the activities offered by the international program, Gingerich coordinates events for all of the students to attend such as coffee hours, foreign film nights, hikes to the Grand Mesa, barbecues and night cross-country skiing.
“All of this is because of the Grand Junction Rotary Club, apart from the Rotarian who donated money for this building to happen, did a fund raiser in February last year for the BANFF Film Festival and part of the proceeds from that event went to my office for programming and retention efforts,” Gingerich said.
The international study program offers opportunities for students to experience life at CMU, and for students already here, to experience some diversity within the classroom.