International students discusses comfort at LBCC

Story by Cynthia Alvarez

There is no official international student club at LBCC, but there is a exist international student community, made up of individuals from Netherlands, Africa, Japan, to name a few, who wish to extend an invitation to the entire LBCC community.

Lorraine Mmari, 25, business administration major said, “Of course we have a French club and stuff like that, but it’s more-so Americans who speak French or want to learn French, but how great if you learn from someone who is from a country that speaks French. It’s something else I think, if we could be open to learning about other people’s cultures.”

Mmari is from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania a country in East Africa. She is currently living with her aunt and cousins only a breezy bike ride away from campus.

It was through the international student community that Mmari met 25 year old computer science major, Jordy Vervuurt. Vervuurt is from Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands, where his parents and two older sisters still reside, but is able to visit almost every summer. He currently lives with his aunt and uncle in Long Beach, and has been a student at LBCC for 3 years now.

“It was really hard for me to integrate here,” said Vervuurt. “I’ve been here before when I was younger so I didn’t really experience much of a culture shock, but it was hard for me to communicate with other people because of language barrier and culture difference.”

“Sometimes it could be lonely if you don’t know anyone” said Mmari. “You could imagine being an American yourself and you feel like you’re alone, so imagine somebody from a different country coming into America.”

Mch like Vervuurt and Mmari, many international students have a hard time assimilating to life in America. Starting school in a totally different country, far away from your family and friends, with people that have a completely different cultural background than your own can be incredibly difficult, and can leave you feeling alone and out of place. The international student community provides a safe space for students that find themselves in said situation to come together.

The international student community has a lounge downstairs in LAC, building E, where they meet and mingle once a week, and welcomes the international student body on campus, but other students in general that are interested in learning about and bonding with individuals from other countries and cultures.