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International students speak of long commutes, difficult entrance exams back home

Staff Reports Posted 13 October 2015 at 12:00 am

GCC hosts panel of international exchange students

Provided photo – Students at the Oct. 6 panel discussion at GCC in Albion include, front row, from left: Kichan Ahn(South Korea), Gyuho Jung (South Korea), Labonte Valiendia (Haiti), Baohua Wang (China, Lee Jong Hyeon, (South Korea), Ma Xin (China), Bruce Thomas (Jamaica) Yazhou Zhang (China), and director Linda Redfield Shakoor of the World Life Institute. Orleans-Niagara BOCES Adult ESL teachers from World Life Institute Education Center, in back, are Monica Beck and Harris Lieberman.

Jim Simon, dean of the Albion campus center, presents gifts to the students.

ALBION – Genesee Community College’s Albion Campus Center on Oct. 6 hosted a panel discussion of international exchange students led by Linda Redfield Shakoor, director of the World Life Institute.

The event is part of GCC’s Global Education Committee efforts to increase college students and the community on the rich diversity of education across the globe. The eight participating students were from China, South Korea, Haiti and Mexico. Linda led the panel with questions, and then GCC students and faculty were also able to ask questions.

These students are graduate-level students from their respective countries working in the United States and striving to increase their English language skills. Their academic and work-related efforts are focused on agriculture. Each of them is working at Intergrow in Albion and attending night classes administered at the World Life Institute Education Center in Waterport, and taught English by Orleans-Niagara BOCES teachers such as Monica Beck and Harris Lieberman.

The panel topics discussed ranged from the 12-hour school days the students from China and South Korea experienced preparing for their college entrance exams (the rough equivalent of the SAT). In the case of the Chinese students, they shared the striking fact that approximately 9 million Chinese students take the exam and only half of them score high enough to go to college.

The students also shared how difficult it can be to obtain higher education – either because of devastating earthquakes like what occurred in Haiti a few years ago, or because of the significant distances (sometimes up to 2-hours one way) students in Mexico have to travel to go to school.

The panel discussion was taped and will be part of the featured Global Education Day events scheduled for GCC in Batavia on Thursday, Oct, 22, 12:30 to 2 p.m. in the college forum.