Next semester, Coastal Carolina University (CCU) will launch a programme to assist international students in overcoming language barriers and navigating the differences in American higher education.
There are two paths available in the Global Achievement Pathway programme.
“A student with more limited English-speaking skills will come in at our first level, and during that programme, they will take primarily English programmes that are developmental and taught by English-as-a-second-language professionals so that they can enhance those skills, and then they will be able to take a university 110 course that exposes them to the overall campus community,” says the professor” Associate Provost for Global Initiatives, Darla Domke-Damonte said.
The other path includes an English component, but it also improves students’ research abilities and other valuable skills.
“Level two will focus on improving those research and communication skills while also integrating them into other University studies classes,” Domke-Damonte explained.
Students like Nic Planchard, a senior at CCU, said he would have benefited from this programme when he came to the United States for college from Luxembourg.
Planchard says his lifelong dream was to play tennis at the division one level, but because his English was insufficient, he had to begin his college career at a division two school in Tennessee.
“I had to go to a school that accepted my low grades, which was only one out of ten,” he explained. “I think it would have been better if I could have come to Coastal right away.”
Planchard transferred to Coastal before his senior year, which was also his final year of college athletic eligibility. That year, his team won the conference championship, and he’s been swamped since then.
“I did two undergraduates and two graduate programmes,” he explained. “I have biology, exercise, and sports science degrees, as well as an MBA and a sports management master’s degree.”
Planchard, who will graduate next month, described the language barrier as a challenge for international students.
“It’s why you hang out with international students because you’re afraid to talk English with Americans at first, but the good thing about Americans is that they can be very friendly right away with you.”
CCU’s international recruitment and admissions director is Leisha Desiro. She explained that while the programme is heavily focused on assisting international students in improving their English, it is only one curriculum component.
“University systems are so different around the world,” Desiro said. “Students are coming in, while they may have limited or even great English abilities, getting used to the culture of the United States higher institution is also fundamental; learning what university professors expect in the United States, how to communicate with them, how to write papers, those types of expectations are also a big part of the programme.”
Currently, Coastal Carolina University has over 200 international students from 56 different countries.
According to NAFSA, more than one million international students at American colleges and universities contributed more than $40 billion to the American economy.
According to a 2020 Institute of International Education Open Doors report, the state’s more than 6,000 international students contributed nearly $2 million to the state’s economy.