International students feel at home at SCC

Published: 11/19/2019

Aboubakry Sy

Aboubakry Sy remembers his first day at St. Charles Community College well. The international student from Senegal admits his English skills were not great at the time, and he didn’t know much about college life in general.

“I was with my friend, and I didn’t know much about SCC,” he explained, “but the staff really surprised me with their sweetness, kindness and help. I will never forget that day. That day, I said ‘I was home.’”

In a matter of hours, the dedicated employees in International Student Services helped Sy complete assessment tests and register for classes. He was on this way to a degree in computer sciences.

“I wanted to focus on cyber security,” he said. “I chose St. Charles Community College because of the quality and environment.”

He will graduate in December, where he plans to continue his education at Fontbonne University.

“My body might physically transfer, but my heart will always be at SCC,” he stated.

Sy is one of more than 120 international students who call SCC home.

“Our international students contribute so much to the college and the community,” said Virginia Guneyli, director of international student services. “They bring different perspectives to the classroom. They expose our students to different cultures.”

International students also have a significant economic impact on a region. In the greater metropolitan St. Louis region, it is estimated that foreign student enrollment can provide as much as $232.2 million in economic benefits to the community.

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In the last year, SCC has increased international student enrollment nearly 20 percent. Students like Panamanian Bruno Carbone explained that his decision to come to SCC was a fairly easy one.

“I wanted a more economic pathway to get my bachelor’s degree,” he said. “I am staying with a relative who lives near the college, so I’m saving thousands of dollars each year by attending SCC.”

Like Sy, his time at SCC is coming to an end, but he knows he’ll have memories that will stick with him for a lifetime.

“I loved all the activities organized by the Global Student Network,” he reflected. The student club provides the opportunity for international students to share their experiences and culture with each other. “I was honored to be president of the club for two years. I also have fond memories of International Education Week, where I presented information about my home country.”

St. Charles Community College will once again celebrate International Education Week on campus. Several fun and engaging events will take place Nov. 19-21, including an international festival and market.

Participants will be able to browse a variety of booths including food vendors from various ethnic restaurants offering free samples. Global craft vendors will also be selling unique gift items, and SCC International students will share facts and insights about their countries. Multicultural music and entertainment, including Japanese drummers, Latin dancing, a global choir and the SCC Chamber Choir, will add to the festivities from the stage.

Learn more about the International Festival and Market.

Check out more stories about international students at SCC: 

  • Gloria Bosire - “I would recommend my friends to attend SCC because the teachers are very friendly and want to help everyone attain their dreams. I found them very inspiring.”
  • Zyra De Los Reyes - “The education I acquired from SCC has made my academic foundation strong. It’s a great choice because they provide quality education. All of the faculty care – they make sure you get where you need to be.”
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