International Education Program at College of San Mateo - Student Experience
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International Education Program
Student Experience

Saruta (Sandy) Bualop
Saruta (Sandy) BualopThailand

My name is Saruta Bualop and I am an international student from Thailand. I enjoy studying at CSM very much. When I first applied for admission, I met the nicest woman at the international office, Maggie Skaff, who helped me to become familiar with the college. I have made a lot of new friends who come from many countries around the world and I have been taught by very good professors who have shown me how to increase my knowledge. I believe that College of San Mateo has helped me to reach my goal because I have not only gained knowledge through books and classes, but I have also made lasting friendships at CSM.

Keyxa Henriquez
Keyxa HenriquezVenezuela

My name is Keyxa Henriquez and I am an international student from Venezuela. College of San Mateo has everything a student needs to succeed in classes. CSM offers students the opportunity to improve and continue their education and has a great staff to help in setting goals. I am only one semester away from receiving my AA degree in accounting and also completing all of my transfer units. With the help I received from CSM staff and my own hard work, I was able to make the Dean's List last semester. I also enjoy the swimming practices with the master team and meetings with the international students. Our fantastic staff organizes meetings frequently so we get to meet all the other international students on campus. It is definitely a lot of fun!

Zhan Llusha
Zhan LlushaAlbania

College of San Mateo is like a family to me. I was introduced to CSM by my sister as a place to start my education in the U.S. The college's international student services have really helped me feel comfortable and adapt to my new life in the U.S. and to understand the American educational system. The counselors have been very helpful in building my student learning plan and providing information about transferring to a four-year university as a business major.

Elena Seynova
Elena SeynovaRussia

Selecting the right college was a major consideration for Elena Seynova, an international student from Russia. She arrived in the U.S. without friends or family and was not proficient in English. She faced challenges adapting to a new culture and educational system. After visiting several colleges and meeting with admissions staff, Elena chose to attend CSM. She discovered that CSM met her needs on multiple levels: “I liked CSM right away because the faculty and staff made me feel welcomed. And they took time to explain how the International Student Program worked, which made me feel that they really cared. ”

Once enrolled in the program, Elena was guided through the educational process with the assistance of her counselor, Martin Bednarek. Martin worked with her to develop a Student Educational Plan to ensure that she progressed toward her goal of transferring to a university.  Elena also gives kudos to Maggie Skaff, program services coordinator in the International Student Program, who was very helpful in answering questions, providing advice and offering referrals to college resources. “Rather than feeling like an outsider, I was treated as part of the community,” says Elena.

Once in the classroom, Elena realized the contrast in teaching styles between Russia and the U.S. “I prepared myself for immediate disapproval. To my surprise, the teachers were very welcoming and patient. Moreover, they encouraged me to ask questions about the material. I was astonished with such a friendly way of teaching. This gave me strength to believe in myself, to actually feel like I was capable of overcoming something that I always considered beyond my reach. People at CSM really changed my point of view which positively changed me. I became a confident student, a can-do kind of student.”

In addition to the International Students Program, Elena found other resources on campus that helped her strengthen her academic abilities. She spent time in Speech Lab and Writing Lab, both of which helped improve her English skills; the college library provided support with research papers; and the Math Resource Center was a place where Elena could hone her math skills.

“CSM gave me the strength to believe in myself. The college also provided me with the information I needed to transfer so that I could continue my education. Transfer Services made my search for a university easier and less time consuming.” In fall 2012, Elena transferred to San Francisco University and is studying international business. In looking back on her decision to attend CSM, Elena says, “I am very proud to be an alumnus of CSM.”

Cecile Sorensen
Cecile SorensenDenmark

I came to California in 2007 as an au pair. When I finished my work, I decided to stay in the U.S. and get a college degree, after all, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I decided to apply to College of San Mateo because it was close to where I lived. I loved the small classes and the attention I received from my professors. I met Maggie Skaff, who helped me get everything set up for my visa. The great thing about CSM's International Student Program is that Maggie makes me feel like I'm the most important student on campus and she has done so much to help me succeed. My first semester was rather lonely, so Maggie assisted me in getting a job at the campus bookstore. I also got involved in student life and now I'm part of both honor societies on campus. College of San Mateo has provided me with many great skills and has prepared me for my future.

Giovanni Wong
Giovanni WongCanada

As an international student from Canada, choosing a community college was not easy. However, I am very happy with my choice of College of San Mateo. I was very impressed with the resources that CSM provided me to fully achieve my goals and dreams. Not only does CSM provide great academic support, but also gives students the opportunity to develop leadership skills to become the future leaders of tomorrow. CSM has a very diverse student body, which makes this college great and unique, providing interaction with people from all over the world.

Chong (Alfred) Zeng
Chong (Alfred) ZengChina

I left my home, my family and my country, China, in order to become an international student. I came alone in fall 2010, however, I was not lonely because I joined the International Student Program which became more like a family to me. I'm so pleased to be a part of the international student group while studying and growing at College of San Mateo. Additionally, I joined an honor society, Alpha Gamma Sigma, which has helped me to make many great friends and improve my teamwork skills. Right now, I'm preparing to transfer to the University of California system. Hopefully, my efforts pay off and my dreams come true.