By Julianna Buscemi
As many residents of Suffolk County know, starting a college career at Suffolk County Community College is a wise and honorable decision. It is a perfect opportunity to get a foot in the door in a potential career choice, and be on your way to a four year university with a better understanding of who you are as a student. Those Suffolk County residents make up close to the 26,500 enrolled students, but what many do not know is, in addition to the many recognizable faces of your hometown, Suffolk also has over 100 international students from all around the world.
From as far as China to India, these students travel from their home country with their F-1 Student Visa, a visa allowing foreigners to pursue a full time education in the United States, and are given the opportunity to earn an degree within two or three years, depending on if they need English language training. Suffolk, the largest community college in the state of New York, admits international students in the fall and spring semester, and offers them an annual tuition including the cost of housing and living expenses, making the total annual cost $29,440 dollars per year. International students are not permitted to work off campus, however they are permitted to work an on campus job, giving them the opportunity to not only earn a living to pay for tuition, but also help them get acquainted with students of this country, better learn the English language, and become custom to our culture. Upon completion of their degree, students are required to return to their home country within 60 days of their visa completion, unless they make the decision to enroll in a higher program, or transfer to another school, as many of our own country’s community college students do.
Suffolk is a great place for international students to begin their college career in America because the program here provides education just as beneficial to the students as a four year university, for a shorter, less financially demanding experience, where they can then decide to take their education in the direction they see fit.
Many of us enrolled at this community college will take the guidance and head-start approach to education we have gotten, and go off to do big things in the career world of our dreams. For many international students, their dreams are coming true just by being given the opportunity to have an education in a country where we give equal opportunity to anyone willing to learn. These students will take back to their country the lessons they have learned, both life, and educational, and create a new and exciting life for themselves that they may have never been given the chance to do, had they not got their start at Suffolk.