International students converge on capitol

Photo bySarah Hussein/Pioneer

The 20th annual International Student Awareness Day was hosted at the State Capitol Monday, March 28.

Including OCCC’s English as a Second Language program’s students, 522 international students attended from 79 countries all over the world.

Yolande Kombou, a student from Cameroon, has visited Cameroon’s capitol Yaoundé many times and was curious to see if Oklahoma’s was anything like it.

“We don’t have a democracy, so it’s not really the same. But I enjoyed my time at this capitol building immensely,” Kombou said.

The event featured free booths, entertainment, and local and international cuisine. Participants had the opportunity to meet with other international students and network with state officials such as Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, Honorary Consuls, and university and business representatives.

“We study American Civilization and it just so happened we were studying it when this opportunity arose,” ESL Professor Abra Figueroa said. “I’ve brought my students to this event each year.”

International students currently enrolled in Oklahoma’s colleges, universities, and high school juniors and seniors were invited to attend the event held by the Oklahoma Governor’s International Team.

International students have a $170 million impact on Oklahoma annually and an almost $20 billion impact nationally each year.

“The positive impression this event generates among these students from abroad can create opportunities for heightened support for Oklahoma’s growing international engagement in the years ahead,” said State Rep. Cory T. Williams (D-Stillwater) in an e-mail.

“I’m so sad to be leaving,” said Emilio Fox, a student from Nicaragua. “I loved the music.

“I didn’t even get food, I ate the music. I clapped so hard my hands are still hurting, I cannot wait to go back.”

Figueroa said the point of the field trip wasn’t so much of a civics lesson, but more of a cultural experience.

For more information, contact Figueroa at 405-682-1611, ext. 7326, or by e-mail at



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