While community colleges are primarily for local residents to use to enhance their education, more and more international students are enrolling.
“I knew Missouri State had a lot of international students but OTC was a better economic choice for me,” said Daniel Lee, a South Korean who grew up in Lamar.
Lee and about 40 other international students will attend OTC classes in the fall. Loren Lundstrom, director of international programs, said a large number of countries are represented at OTC, including students from Peru and Canada to Russia and Singapore.
“We are gaining students from countries we never had before including the Ukraine, Sweden and Finland,” Lundstrom said.
International students must meet a number of requirements in order to be issued a visa to study, including showing having graduated from a school equivalent to a U.S. high school. Academic records are checked. Tuition is higher for international students.
But unlike in the past when only children of rich families could come to the U.S. for their education, Lundstrom said middle class families are sending their children to get an education.
“Higher education is available to the middle class all over the world,” he said. “Most of our students come here because of family relations. Someone from their family is already here. There is a boyfriend following his girlfriend.”
For Daniel, his family came to the U.S. a few years ago because his uncle operated a business and his father brought the family from Seoul to run the family business.
Daniel, who is studying occupational therapy at OTC, isn’t sure what field of medicine he wants to student after he earns his degree. He has enjoyed his time at OTC and talks to other international students about it.
“People come up to me and ask me about their education and where they need to go,” he said.
“I always recommend they go to OTC first and then go to a four-year college. OTC is the kind of school that you get our what you put in. With hard work, you’ll be happy with the results.”
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