Foreign students from all over the world discover MCC when recruited by an Arizona university program, to achieve a college education.The American English and Culture Program (AECP) at ASU recruits students from other countries to enter their program. Upon arrival in Arizona, some students learn about MCC and decide to attend the community college at a lower cost, with the option of returning to ASU to further their education when they complete their course work.
Keiko Nishigawa came here from Japan wanting to become a jewelry maker in the Native American style. After reaching a dead end in Los Angeles, she came to Mesa to study under an established jeweler as his apprentice, while attending school full time to meet the requirements of a student visa.
“My teacher came here, so it’s close.and cheaper,” said Nishigawa when asked why she chose MCC instead of a university.
In other countries the economy has had a big effect on how many students came to learn. When the economy was good, parents could afford to send their kids to the U.S. to learn English and get a degree. This year, a majority of MCC’s foreign students are from South Korea. According to the U.S. Department of State, their economy is up.
Emi Kawasaki, coordinator of Student Services International Education, said that attendance at an American college has to do with “what is valued in a particular culture.” Some cultures value an American education over their own, and speaking fluent English gives them a big advantage in the industry when they go into business.
Kawasaki also said that many of the students at MCC go on to a university.
MCC currently has 226 students attending from foreign countries, 48 of which are from South Korea.
Most foreign students came to Arizona with family or friends, but less than 1 percent of Maricopa Community College students are foreign, according to MCC International Education statistics.