Earlier this year, the Community College Initiative (CCI) Program welcomed 93 participants from 10 countries to the United States to participate in the program’s 14th year. The 2020-21 cohort represent countries including Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire, Dominican Republic, Ghana, India, Indonesia, South Africa, and Turkey.
Unique to this year, from October through December participants engaged in a 10-week virtual pre-program to prepare them for their exchange experience. After safely arriving in the United States in January, they participated in a virtual Gateway to Success Program, a pre-academic and orientation program designed to immerse participants in college preparedness skills. After settling into their new U.S. campus and community, participants dove into their virtual and in-person spring classes.
This year, six community colleges in six states are hosting the CCI Program. Host colleges include College of DuPage in Illinois, Houston Community College in Texas, Kirkwood Community College in Iowa, Northampton Community College in Pennsylvania, Northern Virginia Community College’s Alexandria and Annandale Campuses in Virginia, and Valencia College in Florida.
During their exchange, CCI participants will complete academic coursework in select fields of study including agriculture, business management and administration, early childhood education, engineering, information technology, media, public safety, and tourism and hospitality management. As part of their educational experience, they will build technical skills in applied fields, enhance their leadership capabilities, and strengthen their English language proficiency.
While completing academic coursework at their host colleges, participants will also immerse themselves within their host communities either virtually or in-person. They will participate in volunteer activities, professional and career development activities, cultural exchange events, and leadership and action planning workshops. These additional opportunities aim to increase CCI participants’ understanding of their field of study and encourage meaningful engagement with U.S. culture.
Though this year’s program will look a little different, the 2020-21 CCI participants are ready to make the most of their CCI Program. They have already started their academic classes, volunteered during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, and are learning about U.S. culture every day. We are excited to see what they do next!