“When I came to the U.S. as a college student in the late ’80s, I faced many obstacles as an immigrant, but I held on to my belief that ‘the sky's the limit’ in this country. Today, I am proud to serve as the fifth president of Edmonds College, where we are dedicated to student success and to the mission of the college: Teaching, Learning, Community. Given opportunity, I believe that we can all reach our greatest potential,” says Dr. Amit B. Singh, president of Edmonds College in Washington state.
Dr. Singh holds four graduate degrees — a doctorate in economics from Ranchi University, India; a master’s in finance from Georgia State University; a master’s of business administration from Salisbury University, Maryland; and a master’s and bachelor’s in economics from Patna University, India.
With his global education background and a career in higher education, Dr. Singh is uniquely positioned to speak about the state of international education today. We asked him for his perspective on the need for and future of international education along with how Edmond College is meeting those needs for its international students.
Why is a global education so relevant today?
It is crucial that students and institutions continually work to recognize that globalization and its effects are here to stay. We must educate students to successfully navigate working with people and teams from all over the world.
It’s important to understand that a global education does not necessarily mean becoming an expert in another language or earning a Ph.D. in international relations. It is about much more than that and includes continual awareness and exploration of how globalization impacts each of us, our students, and our institutions. Institutions that answer, participate in, and welcome global challenges and changes will not only survive — they will prosper. At Edmonds College, we proudly use the OECD’s Global Competency Framework and Domains to guide our work.
What do you see as the biggest trends in international education?
We’re seeing an increasing demand for professional/technical degrees from some countries, and certificate and short-term programs are gaining in popularity. Students are also looking beyond degrees and diplomas. They are interested in the experience of studying abroad and also the professional, personal, and cultural enrichment gained through campus and community engagement and social networking.
In the current global environment, we’re also seeing an increasing demand for programs that can be completed 100% online. Students are wanting to begin their education in the U.S. as soon as possible so virtual education options are becoming vital for international students.
How is Edmonds CC internationalizing its campus?
Practicing internationalization on campus is a continual reciprocative effort between students, staff, the local community, and the world. At Edmonds College, we are invested in providing:
- 12 active study abroad programs, including long-term student exchanges based on forging unique institutional partnerships with the University of Navarre in Spain, the University of the Free State in South Africa, and the University of Nagasaki in Japan (for-credit, or non-credit)
- Equity-minded study away (in-country) programs
- Short-term, tailored on-campus programs for prospective students (2-10 weeks) from abroad in order for students to get an idea of what it may be like to study at Edmonds College and in Washington state (STEM-based, ESL-based, etc)
- Awarding two to three, annual Global Engagement Grants of up to $2,500 to faculty and staff for internationalizing curriculum and/or professional development. Previous grants have supported (and are not limited to) designing faculty-led study abroad programs, student trips to globally minded events, and attending conferences leading to changes in curricular content.
- Awarding rolling, $300 Global Engagement Mini-Grants to faculty and staff. Previous grants have supported efforts such as (but not limited to) translating on-campus victim advocate services to languages other than English for improved equity to access.
- International Culture Talks, whereby students from other countries present in-depth information about their country of origin, experience navigating in the USA as a student and newcomer to the U.S., and messages about persistence and resilience as a student in today’s world.
- Conversation Partner Program, an authentic and active cross-ethnic student interaction where students practice English and other languages of interest in their free time (for-credit, or non-credit).
Why Edmonds College?
According to the IIE-Open Doors Report, Edmonds College has been in the top 40 community colleges in the U.S. and in the top three community colleges in Washington state for more than 20 years. This is not by chance. Edmonds College offers great support and services to international students, as well as strong academic preparation for university admissions. Edmonds College has a 100% transfer rate to four-year universities. International students that apply to a four-year university receive at least one acceptance letter.
The Pacific Northwest location of the college is unique, and the campus is within walking distance to restaurants, grocery stores, coffee shops, gyms, bookstores, and more. It’s only 15 minutes to a nearby beach and 30 minutes to downtown Seattle. This fall, we look forward to the opening of our new, $54 million STEM and nursing building and our second campus residence hall, Triton Court, conveniently located across from the college’s main entrance.
Edmonds College has more than 30 student clubs such as the Accounting Club, Engineering Club, and country-specific clubs like Vietnamese Student Association, Indo Club, and more. The Center for Student Engagement Leadership (CSEL) provides on-campus jobs through campus activity planning, student government, and service learning (volunteering). Our Edmonds sport teams are championship winners and include baseball, basketball, soccer, softball, and volleyball. Students can also access the sports field, basketball court, and gym for recreational use.
Edmonds College recognizes the financial commitment that international students make when deciding to study in the U.S. The Edmonds College Foundation offers scholarships to new and currently enrolled international students and awards over $60,000 in scholarships each year to international students.
What should an international student consider when selecting a school in the U.S.?
Students should create a list of priorities, such as institution ranking, location, campus life and experience, cost, service learning, and volunteer opportunities. With more than 5,000 universities and colleges in the U.S., there is a school for everyone. Student and campus demographics are other important factors to consider. Are there many international students from your country? How diverse is the student population; how about faculty and staff? These are key questions to ask.