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Conversation partner program offers students insight other cultures

Conversation partner program offers students insight other cultures

December 12, 2017

College is one of the best places to mingle, breaking social boundaries such as gender, class, culture, and language. International students face challenges in social boundaries and exciting adventures as they come to Pierce as part of their education.

As global leaders in this diverse generation, Pierce College offers a conversational partner program for students to bridge cultural gaps. At the beginning of each quarter, local or domestic students are recruited by the International Education Office to fill out volunteer applications and meet a new friend.

One enthusiastic international student is Hannah Nguyen; she comes from Ho Chi Minh City in the southern part of Vietnam. She came to the United States a year ago and is planning to stay five more years to complete her degrees studies in the states. She is using the opportunity to work for the Pioneer to share her life experiences. Through her drawings and stories, she shows how a student from a different culture adjusts, befriending strangers.

“It’s easy to judge a culture from far away,
but once you are in it,
once you have a friend,
then it’s whole different story,”

- Csendi Hopp


Another conversational partner and Pierce student Jessica Edmonds met Sabrina Li, an international student from China. Now they are best friends, and Edmonds said she sees her experience as an enriching personal growth and a great life experience, and shared how much she learned from Sabrina.

By getting involved in learning, studying and understanding differences of different cultures, backgrounds and histories will teach us to appreciate one another.

Csendi Hopp, program assistant at the International Education Office, said, “It’s easy to judge a culture from far away,” about people’s prejudice towards unfamiliarity, the unknown, the exotic, the oriental.

“But once you are in it, once you have a friend then it’s whole different story,” Hopp said.

Myung Park, executive director of International Education for both campuses, said, “The reason we are bringing international students to Pierce College is to serve local students so they can meet with different cultures.”

She said the office’s goals are for local students to realize International Education is accessible and can be a resource for those who wants to learn specific cultures and languages. Through conversational program, Park said she hopes local students could be exposed to native cultures and speakers, furthering their knowledge by studying abroad.

International Education is now accepting new volunteer applications for Winter 2018. For information regarding conversational partner program or studying abroad, visit the office at CAS509 or email Hopp at

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