First Impressions

by Emmanuel Mofor

Guest Writer

Back in May 2010, when I received a letter from the International Programs office of Whatcom Community College welcoming me officially to the college; what struck me most was the picture of the apartment where I was to stay.

I made an imaginary image of what the environment, especially the school campus and the facilities there might look like, then later dumped every thought and made up my mind to face whatever I meet. After all, are there not human beings with the same features like me who stay and study there?

I cannot pride myself on being the first international student coming under the U.S. Department of State cultural exchange program, the Community College Initiative Program (CCIP) as there were students from Egypt who participated in this program last year.

Upon arrival on June 16, I have had quite a good time adapting to the new lifestyle in Bellingham. I felt at home when the 2009 CCIP grantees and the 2010 grantees were invited for a dinner hosted by the Board of trustees of the college and met with the college president Kathi Hiyane-Brown. It was an honor for all of us present.

Beginning with the ESLA classes, I had the opportunity to have a first hand taste of an American classroom setting, though  my impressions now have changed as the instructors of the ESLA courses were aware of our diversity and had to be more relaxed though strict in terms of the way the classroom was managed.

With the fall courses, it is a different experience altogether as the classroom composition is mixed with both Americans and foreigners, and the instructors keep a normal pace though are very open for people who need assistance.

I see things differently as I go to school full time. I may not see things like my English 101 course-mate, Ryan, who works full time while studying. I realized that many students at Whatcom Community College have another side to their life as well.

After the first three weeks of classes, I find many things interesting such as the student clubs. I am a member of the IT club and it gives me the opportunity to meet with other students and discuss informally making life on campus enjoyable.

Classes are very effective as the instructors are enthusiastic and ever ready to assist students accomplish their goals. Obviously, the facilities are up to date when I compare with those in my country, Cameroon. On October 2, I went hiking with the International Friendship club.

This is part of the activities that the international office does to help students engage in other activities as they study. With all these activities and the internship I will do as part of my certificate program, I hope to achieve a lot and contribute my own part to the U.S. and Whatcom County in particular, which is my host community.

-Emmanuel Tendoh Mofor is a Cameroonian who is part of a U.S. Department of State grant program. Grantees attend Whatcom Community College under the Community College Initiative Program 2010. He is majoring in Computer Information Systems. Before coming to the U.S., he was an IT trainer, and he hopes to become a Computer Systems Administrator.

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