CCI alumnus Syed's #CCISeeds

The Community College Initiative Program: 2016-2017 Year in Review

The 2016-2017 Community College Initiative (CCI) Program year was full of excitement! Between launching new social media properties, celebrating the 10th year of the CCI Program, participant excellence across 14 U.S. community college host campuses, and alumni success around the world, it has been a whirlwind to keep up with. We hope that this year in review offers a glimpse of all the ways CCI participants and alumni capitalized on the opportunities provided to them during their exchange year and beyond! 

The CCI Program: 2016-2017 Year in Review

The CCI Program Gets Social! – For the first time in program history, the CCI Program launched official program-wide social media properties on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. In addition, the CCI Program worked to enhance exclusive CCI alumni networking groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, and revamped the program’s website to include CCI alumni programming resources.

The CCI Program Celebrates Its 10 Year Anniversary and 100 Years of the National Park Service during its Midyear Program in Arizona – From January 7-13, 2017, all 210 CCI students from the 2016-17 program year met in Arizona for the weeklong Pathways to Success Program (PSP). During this year’s event, CCI students developed leadership, networking, and goal setting skills through a series of interactive workshops, and the CCI class of 2016-17 also celebrated 10 Years of the CCI Program and 100 Years of the U.S. National Park Service by revitalizing a historic orchard at Lonely Dell Ranch. Watch what they did here! This video was produced by CCI student Hubert “Sando” Famosando from Indonesia—thanks, Sando!

CCI Alumni Around the World Celebrate 10 Years of the CCI Program – To celebrate 10 years of the CCI Program, CCI alumni have been planting #CCISeeds around the world and posting on social media about their experience. The #CCISeeds campaign started as a way for CCI alumni to participate in the 10 Year Anniversary service event at Lonely Dell Ranch, but has since transformed into a year-long opportunity to celebrate the impact of 10 years of the CCI Program. The #CCISeeds campaign is an opportunity for CCI alumni to share how their exchange year enhanced their personal and professional development and to give back to their communities. So far, CCI alumni from 14 countries have participated in #CCISeeds, sowing seeds of good intentions for the future. See what some alumni have already done in Bangladesh, Brazil, Cote d’Ivoire, Indonesia, and India, Pakistan, and the Dominican Republic.


CCI PSP Service Event

All 210 2016-2017 CCI Program students after their day of service at Lonely Dell Ranch in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

2016-2017 Program Year Highlights

The 2016-2017 CCI participants truly capitalized on all aspects of the CCI Program—academics, volunteerism, internships, cultural exchange, leadership opportunities, and more. Below is just a glimpse of some of their efforts, activities, and successes.

  • Meeting with Local, State, and Federal United States Government Officials – CCI participants throughout the year met with U.S. local, state, and federal government officials. Many were invited to tour local government centers and hold question and answer sessions with mayors and state representatives. At Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, participants met Wisconsin State Senator Dave Hansen and Representative Eric Genrich. Senator Hansen and Representative Genrich spoke about their personal experience in politics and gave advice about how CCI participants could get involved in the elections in their home countries. In California at Santa Rosa Junior College, CCI participants met with the mayor of Santa Rosa, John Sawyer, who spent almost two hours with the students. Hearing about U.S. government procedures, ethics, and engagement inspires CCI participants to become more involved in student government, their home country’s politics, and international diplomacy.
  • Cultural Excursions and Experiential Learning — CCI students immersed themselves in their fields of study while studying in the United States, and throughout the semester went on a series of educational outings to enhance their understanding of U.S. culture. Some examples include CCI students at Valencia College who had a guided tour of Disney World in Florida to learn about American history, business enterprise, tourism and hospitality management, and engineering. Meanwhile, participants at Northern Virginia Community College’s CCI host campuses made trips to nearby Washington D.C. throughout the semester to tour the Capitol Building and Holocaust Museum. In the city of Chicago, CCI students studying at College of DuPage learned about the different eras of American architecture from an architectural boat tour expedition. The 2016-2017 CCI participants’ cultural excursions fostered a stronger understanding and appreciation of the legacy of American culture.
  • Showcasing the Spirit of Volunteerism — CCI students participated in a variety of volunteer activities throughout the course of their year studying in the United States. Some worked hands-on with people in the community, including those with special needs, the homeless, and the elderly. Other CCI participants volunteered with nonprofits like the American Red Cross, local volunteer fire stations, children’s centers, and soup kitchens, and many also helped put on fundraising events for organizations like the American Diabetes Association. CCI students further devoted their volunteer hours towards helping the environment by creating sustainable community gardens, cleaning up beaches, and revitalizing national parks. Through their volunteer efforts, CCI students addressed food insecurity, revitalized local community environments, worked on fundraisers and projects for children, wrote letters to U.S. service members and veterans, and embraced America’s racial and cultural diversity. Read about their volunteering activities here and here.
  • Making the Most of Internship Experiences – Across the United States, CCI participants capitalized on making the most of their internship experiences with local U.S. businesses and organizations. Through their internships, they built hands-on professional experience and explored their academic fields of study as they planned for their future careers.
    • Using Media Fields to Share Community Stories: Three participants in Arizona, Tharina Malan (South Africa), Neo Makgetla (South Africa), and Olivia Aboui (Cote d’Ivoire) used their talents and internships in television production and journalism to share the stories of people, issues, and organizations in their host communities. The women spoke about their desire to use their skills back home to create positive and impactful content for youth, and about their feelings regarding women’s role in media fields.
    • City Year Boston and Beyond: Tumelo Mosweu (South Africa) used his internship with City Year Boston to support and develop education-focused organizations in South Africa.
    • Enhancing Women’s Empowerment through Entrepreneurship: Naik Alam (Pakistan) completed over 200 hours of internship experience working as a Development Intern at Empowered Women International (EWI), a non-profit organization that helps create jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities for immigrant, refugee, low-income, and at-risk women in the Greater Washington DC Metro Area.
  • Academic Excellence – This program year, 95 participants earned a grade point average (GPA) of a 3.5 or higher, and 22 of those 95 participants achieved a 4.0 GPA. Participants studied in fields including agriculture, applied engineering, business management and administration, early childhood education, information technology, media, public safety, and tourism and hospitality management.
  • Exchanging Culture with Local Communities – To celebrate International Education Week (IEW) 2016, CCI participants across the United States engaged in several international festivals, fairs, and showcases. International Education Week is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education and is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. During these events, CCI participants dressed in their country’s traditional clothing and shared informative presentations about their national currencies, arts, flags, foods, languages, dances, and games, truly embracing the mission of exchanging our world.
  • Engaging in Leadership Roles – Over ten CCI participants were elected into leadership positions in student government associations, clubs, and organizations within their community colleges. Taking on active leadership roles is just one way that CCI participants help U.S. community colleges internationalize their campuses and engage community college students with global perspectives. At Fox Valley Technical College, two CCI participants from South Africa were elected to serve as Vice President and Secretary for the college’s Student Government Association.

Alumni Highlights – What CCI Alumni Are Doing Abroad

CCI alumni are incredibly active in their home communities and engage in environmental, entrepreneurial, and educational efforts to enhance their home countries. Below are the stories and highlights we shared this year about what CCI alumni have been up to.

We hope you will follow us on social media to learn more about the impact CCI participants and alumni are making on their U.S. host and home communities, and look forward to sharing the CCI alumni stories of impact abroad in your country. Please contact us at if you have a story to share!


CCI alumnus Syed's #CCISeeds

Syed Minhaj Hossain plants #CCISeeds in Bangladesh



Cote d’Ivoire

Dominican CCI alumni plant CCI Seeds

Dominican CCI alumni help plant 10,000 mahogany trees in San Juan.

Dominican Republic





Celebrate CCI Seeds

Ziadah celebrates #CCISeeds with her Backpacking Library project in Indonesia




South Africa

Muhammad plants a tree

Muhammad Shahzad Khan plants #CCISeeds with rescue squad in Pakistan


Posted in 10th Anniversary, Alumni.