NECC Hosts International Student Mixer in Effort to Boost ‘Global Environment’ on Campus

Northern Essex Community College is hoping to boost its ‘global environment’ on campus in an effort to recruit and retain international students. To that end, the college hosted several of its students and faculty for the inaugural gathering of NECC’s International Community Meet and Greet mixer.

The majority of NECC’s 20 international students from countries including Kenya, Vietnam, Turkey and India mingled with faculty and staff last week over a lunch of tacos, lo mien and macaroni and cheese.

In an effort to help international students feel welcome on campus, NECC encourages them to use a pin to mark their home country on a map near the campus bookstore. The school also opened an international office to assist with students’ F1 visa compliance.

NECC health major Joan Ndungu of Kenya has spearheaded the creation of an International Club on campus. “I felt the international student needed a voice,” she said. “We can help each other and share our experiences.”

Noami Custodia-Lora, the vice president of NECC’s Lawrence campus and community relations, hopes the school’s efforts will have a domino effect.

“We want the college community to be aware of the International community here on campus,” she said. “And to empower them and make them feel like they are part of the community. When you are exposed to other cultures, it makes you better global citizens.”