The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

TR club promotes knowledge, diversity

The goal of the new International Students Club is to bring knowledge and information on different cultures to TR Campus. Cheryl Miller/The Collegian

By Kirsten Mahon/tr news editor

Two international students have taken a leap for student life at TR Campus by creating the International Students Club, which is open to students of all nationalities.

The goal of the new International Students Club is to bring knowledge and information on different cultures to TR Campus.
Cheryl Miller/The Collegian

The club offers an opportunity to introduce resources and support for both international and local students.

“There’s potential here for them to really impact international students’ experience,” said Eddie Brassart, TR student development associate.

When asked about the new development, Brassart talked about two international student tutors, Gentille Iradukunda and Kinga Forsyth, both of whom approached Brassart with the idea for the club.

“I think they can really take it on,” Brassart said.

The club is encouraging every student to join and promoting diversity in any way possible. The main goal is to disperse knowledge about a variety of cultures to students who are interested. The ISC also recognizes and addresses the struggle for new international students.

Iradukunda and Forsyth met in passing last semester on campus. When asked how they came up with the club, Forsyth referred to a moment during this semester’s orientation for new students.

“I thought, what are other ways we can improve our students’ experience?” Forsyth said.

It was Iradukunda who threw out the idea to start a new club.

“When I came to TCC, I realized there was no international support for me,” she said.

“We don’t have anything that is about diversity,” Forsyth said, agreeing with Iradukunda.

Forsyth is the club’s interim president. Originally from a tiny town near Warsaw, Poland, she is studying to become a dentist. After grade school in Poland, Forsyth decided she wanted to study abroad and moved to the United Kingdom.

After schooling in England, Forsyth then came to Dallas. She landed at TCC after studying the nation’s best options for a dental degree that incorporated a decent education, a good price and a welcoming atmosphere. Next fall, Forsyth said she plans to attend the University of Texas at Arlington.

Iradukunda, hailing from the Congo, is the interim vice president.  She also lived in Kenya for some time before moving to California during high school. From California, Iradukunda transferred to TCC, where the price was right and her family was available to support her. She plans to join her older brother and Forsyth next fall at UTA, where she will study to become a nurse.

One purpose of the club is to begin learning about the different life experiences that vary among students.

“It doesn’t have to be just about international students,” Forsyth said. “It can be about connecting our international students with American students.”

By sharing these experiences, the club hopes students will enjoy and benefit from understanding diversity and culture better than they did before. The club is also here to help students with their transition.

“Some [students] come here from another country, and they don’t have a family,” Iradukunda said.

The process of relocating a student’s life from one country to another is hard enough as it is, grasping new languages, cultures and public systems, the two said. Any way the transition can be made easier can make a significant difference.

“I think there is a gap there,” said Louann Schulze, director of counseling at TR. She believes that offering this opportunity for international students is a service that is needed and will be appreciated and used on campus.

Schulze thinks this club will help bridge the gap.

In Europe, Forsyth said, though little was offered for international students, the systems were similar to the ones she knew in Poland.

The process was much more complicated and stressful coming to America, however.

Piling this atop a new class schedule and a burgeoning metropolis populated with a jungle of pick-up trucks, both students agree they didn’t find much help for their international challenges.

“It’s more hands-on when you come here. Yes, you are stressed [and] you have no idea. You see those movies…” Forsyth said, laughing, referring to pop culture films that paint the young college life in a warm and fuzzy manner, overlooking reality. “But once you get into the routine, you see more opportunities and you become more confident.”

Though club members have already met informally, an official first meeting will not be held until the group has had a chance to market itself. An election later in the semester will determine the new club’s presidential and vice presidential positions.

Upcoming events include workshops and possible festivals where students can interact with each other. A club fair coming soon to TR Campus will have more information on meetings.

If students wish to join or simply want more information, they can visit the Student Involvement Center in TREF 1503 or the Student Life Center in TRTR 2004A.

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