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STLCC-Florissant Valley Welcomes International SEED Students

September 10, 2009

SEED group

STLCC-Florissant Valley is currently hosting 18 international students in the SEED program. All the students are studying quality control and hope to use their education to improve conditions in their home countries. During their stay, SEED students live with host families who help them adjust and get acquainted with the U.S. culture. The students arrived in August.
SEED (Scholarships for Education and Economic Development) is an international scholarship program administered by Georgetown University’s Center for Intercultural Education and Development (CIED) in Washington, D.C., and sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The SEED program is designed to support economic and social development in Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean, through which over 5,000 youth have been trained in the United States and are now working to affect change in their home communities.

l to r: Luis Elias Ortiz, Remenson Tenor, Roud Jasmin,
Joel Hernandez, Joane Bijou and James Carrawell

Roud Jasmin, Remenson Tenor, Joane Bijou and are originally from Haiti.

"The cultural exchange attracted me to the SEED program because I began learning many years ago about American culture," said Jasmin. "I also wanted to experience other countries, make new friends, and speak a new language."

"I will begin to work with children when I go back to my home country," said Tenor. "I want to change my city and my life and share my knowledge with all the young people in my city."

"When I go back, I’ll try to find a job in order to help myself and my family," said Bijou.

The SEED program provides a means of reaching and uplifting talented but socioeconomically disadvantaged people from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, as well as increasing the number of current and future leaders of these nations with a positive learning experience in the United States. The program strives for all participants to be responsible, educated, multicultural, professional and committed.

Luis Elias Ortiz and Joel Hernandez are from the Dominican Republic and Mexico respectively.

Hernandez said that the opportunity to get a job was his main motivation for joining the program.

"I’m so happy for the program. The program provides an opportunity for young people and gives us a different outlook on how we look at the world," Hernandez said.

"It’s the best opportunity for people to achieve their goals," said Luis Ortiz. "The SEED students are leaders in their community. The program is a good opportunity for us to help our families when we return home."

Although most had very limited knowledge of the English language upon their arrival to the U.S., the students are adjusting well to their new environment and feel that the program is a success. In addition to their programs of study, they are simultaneously learning English with the help of their host families and instructors.

"I have enjoyed meeting and working with the CASS and now SEED students. I tell them to first and foremost to take care of business and learn our culture, as we will learn their culture," said James Carrawell, program coordinator. "Most of all I want them to have a positive experience and have some fun."

The SEED students will complete their Certificate of Proficiency in quality control at STLCC-Florissant Valley before returning to their home countries.