100 Years, 100 Stories
Metropolitan Community College (MCC) is a great place to get an education and Kansas City is an exciting place to live and study. So students from all over the world move to Kansas City and take classes in our community.
Each semester, approximately 200 international students from more than 50 countries are enrolled at MCC. In 1996 the college started tracking how many international students attended MCC and the countries those students represented. In the last 19 years, nearly 4,000 international students from 129 different countries earned an MCC education.
International students say they choose MCC for the smaller class sizes and affordable cost. Many of the students are referred to MCC from family or friends that previously attended. As you can imagine, the students travel with many languages, cultures and customs. Some students ask for English training, some continue their education after MCC for medical, business, engineering or computer degrees. With the visa (a requirement for all international students) there is an optional, practical training component that the student can apply for in between degree levels. This allows students to work in the U.S. and get experience in their field before returning to work in their home country.
Most students have some English language skills and those who need extra help usually bring someone with them to assist in
translating. Students who need additional English assistance will attend MCC-Penn Valley’s Applied Language Institute for English as a Second Language courses in reading, writing, vocabulary, and speaking and sometimes, tutoring. For international students seeking extra one-on-one attention, MCC offers the Student Success Center. MCC assists students with adjusting to life outside their home country by offering counselors who specialize in international students who are homesick or struggling to adjust to life in the U.S.
“I think these students are so very brave. They get on a plane, leave all they know thousands of miles away to go to an unknown land with hopes and dreams of an American Education,” said Bobbie Gustin, International Coordinator. Gustin has been MCC’s International Coordinator for 11 years. During her tenure, she has learned how to navigate potentially difficult situations for students and guide them toward a successful academic experience. As the International Coordinator, Gustin is sometimes the only person of contact in the U.S. for the students. She often helps student by giving directions on using the U.S. health care system, banking systems, and sometimes explaining our grocery store components. “All I can do is give them the best possible advice and help them create a successful experience at MCC.”
Gustin always goes above and beyond to help international students. Her guidance touches those students and their families so much that one family member flew from Africa to visit Gustin and say thank you. “A man walked into my office. He explained he was [the student’s] father. He had a memorial art piece made for me as a thank you. This piece is proudly displayed in my office. I am the one who wants to thank the students for allowing me to be part of their lives.”
For more information on international student programs and services, please visit MCCKC.edu/international. To reach to Bobbie Gustin, call at 816-604-4683 or email Bobbie.Gustin@mcckc.edu.