The International Student Experience at Pomona College

University Life

The International Student Experience at Pomona College

It's normal to wonder what resources are available to international students, and it is smart to research them even before applying to the school. Many schools offer unique programs and resources for incoming international students. Pomona College is one such school, as it is dedicated to assuring successful integration of all of its students. This article will talk about the resources available to an international student at Pomona College and how international students can get involved on campus through these resources. If you're an international student attending Pomona or soon-to-attend (or just considering) Pomona, welcome and good luck!

So, what is available? 

Although there are several resources available for international students, the main resource is called the International Center of the Claremont Colleges (known as the I-Place)

Since the Claremont Colleges all share a main campus (Pomona is one of these colleges), there is much overlap between international students at the different schools. With more than 800 citizens of more than 85 countries, there is no need to feel isolated as an international student. And, the “I-Place” really works to function as a “home away from home,” specifically catering to students from abroad. 

In fact, part of their mission statement is to “provide specific services for international students and scholars at the Claremont Colleges, to facilitate their successful adjustment to the academic and social environment, and to provide accurate and relevant information and advice throughout their course of study.” Thus, for any international student wishing to pursue their studies at Pomona College or one of the Claremont Colleges, a visit to the I-Place can come in quite handy. They not only provide orientation and integration services, but they also host many events. For instance, they host the yearly International Festival, which draws in crowds from all over Claremont to celebrate diversity. The I-Place organizes performances from different musical and artistic groups, and international students are able to represent their countries by organizing booths that serve food local to the country represented. The event has been held for over 35 years now, and every year it seems to draw more and more attention.

In addition to the resources offered by the I-Place, Pomona College has several different organizations that cater to the successful integration of students. There exists the AAMP (Asian American Mentor Program), CLSA (Chicano/Latino Student Affairs), and the OBSA (Office of Black Student Affairs), each catering to students from different backgrounds (though they are open to all students, regardless of race or background). 

I have also added a series of links to the bottom of this article to help you find more information on many of these resources. 

Did You Transfer Recently? 

Or maybe you're just studying abroad at Pomona? For new or transfer students, there exists the sponsor program. I'd recommend taking advantage of the opportunity! No one knows a school better than its students. 

New students are placed in residence halls with two sponsors, which monitor and help guide incoming students through the process of integration at the school. The residence halls separate into “sponsor groups,” which allows students to have a support group of sorts during their first year at the school. 

If these resources are not enough, Pomona College also offers support through the dean of student’s office.

Don't Worry! You'll Be In Good Company

Coming to sunny southern California may seem intimidating, but in reality, it is not. Pomona College does an excellent job integrating international students and offers a variety of services conducive to successful integration. The resources I previously mentioned all provide ways in which students can get involved… Be sure to take advantage of them if you can (but feel free to reach out to them at your own time)! 

Lastly, I want to speak to that last point - feel free to take it at your own time and to find opportunities that best fit your needs. Pomona College has a residence hall called Oldenborg. This hall is split up into different language groups (such as Spanish, Chinese, German, French, etc). If you would like to live in an area where a specific language is prevalent, you can apply to live at this center at the end of the first year. Each language hall has a foreign resident that comes from the native country (i.e. China, France, Spain, etc.), which can offer international students even more reminders of home (if they wish to live here). Maybe this might be you during your second year! Coming to Pomona will give you plenty of opportunities to constantly share and take pride in your culture, nationality, and experiences. 

Or, maybe you just want to practice another language and meet others? Oldenborg has a dining hall, which opens for lunch during the week (Monday-Friday). The dining hall is set up so that each table represents a different country (and thus language). As a result, students wishing to speak in other languages (or who would like to meet others that share an interest in it) have five opportunities every week to have lunch in their language of choice. I highly recommend it as many different people (students, professors, faculty, Claremont citizens, etc.) frequent the dining hall. It isn't only a great opportunity to see the diversity of the Claremont community, but also generally experience its welcoming attitude. 

Helpful links:

Career Development Office (CDO) resources for international students:

http://www.pomona.edu/administration/career-development/students/other-resources/international-students.aspx

I-Place Website:

https://iplace.claremont.edu/