The academic year is coming to an end at Allen Community College and so are the careers here of some international students. Even though Iola is a small town, there are many international students that come here to have a college experience. For some Allen and Iola is even their first college experience ever, as well as their first impression of the United States.
Maybe it is because it is a good way to get use to the transition to a different country, different culture, sometimes even different language, but one can be sure that the reason they come here is to make the best of the experience. Allen’s great academic program has allowed some of them to come and try to make their dreams come true. The college has always been trying to take international students one step closer to their goals, being the first home away from home for a many.
Daniel Serna, is a computer science major from Cali, Colombia who is now transferring to Wichita State University. When asked about his experience at Allen, Serna said,“It has been a very gratifying experience and it has been a great beginning for my education as a college student. I came to the United States because I have always been driven by the American culture, and coming here didn’t disappoint me. I was first impressed by how nice people have treated me coming from another country. It has helped me become an independent person and it has been a vital factor in my growth as a person. I will always be grateful for having the opportunity of coming to Allen Community College.”
Serna didn’t begin his U.S. adventure at Allen since his first college was Independence Community College in Kansas, but he did spend his last year of community college here.
Kwame Boateng from Kumasi, Ghana has had to adapt to a radically different culture and environment in the United States. Twi is the main language from his home country and though he learned English in Ghana, it was very challenging for him to adapt to English in the United States and overcome that language barrier.
“The pronunciation of words was very tough for me when I first came here to New York before coming to Kansas,” Boateng said. “Since I speak English all day, every day, Allen has helped me a lot to improve my English and to learn better the American culture. It’s been a nice experience; the teachers have been very helpful, and it is a place where it has been very easy for me to approach everybody and everybody has been very polite and social.
“Mrs. Nikki Peters (academic advisor) has been of great help for me and helped me a lot to settle in when I came here and is still a very good guide and someone I can be very confident on when it comes to the academic matters,” he added.
Allen has been the first and only college for Boateng. He is transferring next year to Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts.
Juan Carlos Vacca is a student from Ecuador that came to Allen to play soccer. Soccer was his gateway to come to a college in the United States and so he developed his skills and improved his game so he could stay and finish his college career in the U.S. Vacca’s efforts here earned him a scholarship to play soccer for Ave Maria University in Florida.
“Coming to Allen has been one of the most useful experiences I will have in my life,” he said. “It helped me work hard and find myself a way to reach my goals and dreams. Moving forward to a different state, I will always remember how my hard work paid off and helped me get to a bigger stage in my life. I am very grateful for this opportunity, and I always will be.”