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Columbia MD, 21044
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You Are Welcome Here

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Howard Community College (HCC) is proud to be part of the “#YouAreWelcomeHere” campaign – a nationwide effort to welcome international students and affirm that U.S. institutions are diverse, friendly, safe and committed to student development.

Hundreds of international students enroll at HCC each year to study English and pursue higher education. HCC students with F-1 visas – the document that allows international students to study full-time at an accredited college – represent nearly 40 countries, including Australia, Bangladesh, Colombia, China, Honduras, Iran, Nigeria, South Korea and Vietnam, said Lori Hartley, HCC’s associate director of admissions.

Throughout the year, HCC will host special #YouAreWelcomeHere events to demonstrate the college’s commitment to international students.

“We care about intercultural learning, and we care about exposure to other people and other ways of thinking,” Hartley said. “We want international students to know they can come to our campus, be safe and feel welcome.”

“Our primary focus is to welcome students and make sure that they have all the information they need and feel comfortable starting or continuing on their English language learning path,” added Kathie M. Martin, coordinator of HCC’s English Institute and special programs.

Along with credit and noncredit classes, HCC provides a range of services and activities to support international students, including:

  • Admissions assistance – HCC has a dedicated international enrollment advisor, who ensures future students have all the admissions documentation they need and a smooth transition once classes begin.
  • Customized advising – International students receive additional help when selecting courses, setting up work studies and transferring to four-year colleges. The “F1 Connect” program is also an online resource for upcoming cultural events and services like tutoring.
  • Multi-level English instruction – Founded in 2001, The English Institute offers six levels of English language instruction, covering everything from grammar and pronunciation to reading and writing. This full-time, intensive programming prepares students to transfer to an undergraduate or graduate program for professional growth or personal enrichment.
  • Mentors – Through HCC’s Friends Across Borders (FAB) outreach program, incoming F1 visa students are paired with current F1 visa students. “We try to match it by major so they can have classes in common or have something at least to talk about,” Hartley said. “It’s been a really nice way for new students to feel connected.” At The English Institute, an advanced-level student serves as an ambassador and helps fellow English Institute students connect with each other.
  • Weekly conversation hours – The English Institute students, staff and volunteers meet online regularly to practice English conversation skills.
  • Social activities – International students participate in social activities throughout the year, including day trips, end-of-semester celebrations and special meals.

For more information about the #YouAreWelcomeHere campaign, visit

Topics: Campus Life
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