OCCC international students now have a college-sponsored social networking site to sign up for, said Sunny Garner, International Services coordinator.
International Student Connection is a website which can help students overcome the shock of coming to a new country, Garner said.
“If you’re coming from Asia or Africa and you don’t know anything about the school, then (the site is) a way for you to meet individuals and make connections before you arrive,” she said.
All students new to the country go through culture shock, Garner said.
This network, which is similar to social networking sites Facebook or MySpace, is a way for students to meet others who are going through the same process and offers features that cater to international students’ needs, she said.
Although the site is designed for international students, everyone is welcome to join for free, she said.
The network offers videos, photos, blogs and an opportunity for family members to stay connected to their students, Garner said.
“I wanted a place where students from OCCC could come on and have their own domain,” Garner said.
The network also incorporates sections that help the students feel connected with their home countries, she said.
Online Marketing Coordinator John Richardson said students can even get late-breaking information about what is happening in their home country.
“We have a news feed from Reuters that’s very specific to international news,” Richardson said.
The network also gives OCCC an opportunity to place international student-specific information onto a secure location, Garner said
“On the social network I am able to let students know this scholarship is coming up next week and here’s the application,” Garner said.
The network has 157 students, she said, but has an unlimited amount of space to fill.
Domestic students are encouraged to join as well if they are interested in international affairs and gaining an inside look into another culture, Garner said.
While pages are open to the public, a user must be admitted by an administrator in order to participate in the site’s activities, Richardson said
International students said they like the site better than having a Facebook page.
Students voiced their opinion on a recent poll located on the home page of the site and overwhelmingly chose the option to keep the OCCC network, Richardson said.
Members will not be charged because the college will pay for the service.
“There will be a nominal cost associated with it,” said Richardson.
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