Catherine Nabukenya isn't the typical Norwalk Community College student. Most of the 6,500 students at the West Norwalk campus come from the surrounding area. But Nabukenya, in her third year studying to be a medical assistant, comes from Kampala, Uganda. "My sisters studied here," said Nabukenya. "I applied online and got accepted."
Although the cold and snow of New England winters shocked the native of Africa, the different style of education in the U.S. suits her. "I like it. It's more practical here," she said.
Another international student, Sandra Duque, is a physician but came to NCC to study English as a second language. She spent time between classes talking to fellow Colombian students Alejandra Mira and Maria Suarez. All three speak excellent English, but they want to become even more comfortable in the language before they return home.
According to International Student Services Coordinator Justyna Davis, 400 NCC enrollees are in the country on F1 student visas , but the international category is wider than that. "There are also those who come to study a specific program, and they would be on a J1 exchange visitors visa ," she said. Additionally, there are students who moved to the U.S. from other countries but are now considered permanent residents.
Nursing draws the biggest group of foreign students, with business a close second. "And anything related to computers," Davis added. Until recently, Poland was the top source of students, supplanted in the past two years by Brazil. Thailand, Peru, Germany and South Korea round out the top five.
As a result of this small but diverse group, NCC's motto could well be "Think Globally, Study Locally."
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.