International Students Bring Perspective to SOLES
On the surface, Jama Yacub’s story is not uncommon: Since graduating from college he has held positions as a security guard, a substitute teacher, and has been self employed as an information technology consultant. He is now preparing to begin his term of student teaching, which will lead him toward a single subject credential in math.
The distinction in his story comes from his country of origin: Somalia. Different motivators led Jama to SOLES, and to pursuing graduate study at the University of San Diego. What does he appreciate most about studying here? Peace. Peace is valued quite highly by the guy from Somalia.
“I have been studying in several postsecondary schools and the USD atmosphere is the best of all,” he said. “When I come to campus, I feel like I feel when I am in my mother’s home. If I am having a bad day in town, all my tensions go away after arriving at USD, because I sense the peaceful environment.”
Jama has had practicum experiences teaching math to students at High Tech High School and Montgomery Middle School. He noted the benefit he had at Montgomery working with the many African immigrant students. “I speak their language, in more than just the obvious way,” he said, noting that he speaks 3 African languages. “I was able to help break through some of the barriers they were experiencing which caused them to misbehave. They are good kids now. They just want to understand and learn.”
SOLES currently has more than thirty students who were born outside of the United States. Their value in the classroom is not under-recognized or under-utilized. “The different perspective offered by our international students adds so much to our classroom discussion, which enhances the learning outcome for everyone,” remarked Dr. Erika Nash, assistant professor in the School Counseling program. “I am consistently encouraging our international students to participate more in class discussion so that we have that comparative experience with the material."
The international students are invited to share their experiences and take pride in their culture as well as learn about various cultures among their classmates and faculty. Numerous activities are planned annually through the SOLES Global Center, the Dean’s Office, and the USD Office of International Students and Scholars. “The mere fact that these students have travelled to a different country to continue their education makes them globally-minded, inquisitive learners,” noted Dean Paula Cordeiro. “That’s exactly the kind of student we want at SOLES.”