Int’l dorm students embrace Americana

Taline Helwajian

Daily Sundial

Among the CSUN parking lots, a building stands in which international students call home away from home.

Education First students – an international language program offered throughout the world to students who want to learn English and many other languages while studying abroad – reside in the building 12.

Alvaro Aviles, a business major at Di Tella University in Argentina, said he was excited about the opportunity to study in a different country.

He is studying English in the U.S. for two months and has already taken the opportunity to venture out into the city to see the sights. Aviles said he enjoyed the scenery in Long Beach and has driven through Hollywood and down Sunset Boulevard.

“I like (America) very well,” Aviles said.

After graduation from DiTella University, he said he hopes to visit the U.S. again.

“Maybe for a few years,” he said.

Aviles said having classes in the same building that he resides in is convenient.

The university provides some furniture, such as a dining table and couch, to students living in four-person dorms.

Students from different countries are housed together to better learn about each others’ cultures, Aviles said.

Nancy Chyo Jeong Kim, a graduate of Seoul University in South Korea, also lives in building 12.

Kim studied jewelry design in South Korea. She has been in the U.S. since September and said she plans to be in the U.S. for nine months. Kim said it is just not enough time to grasp the English language.

Kim said fast food is the reason she gained about 20 pounds since arriving to the U.S.

“Too much sugar in foods,” she said. “I gained weight.”

Kim’s grandparents live in California and her parents are in South Korea.

“I’m missing my country,” she said.

She said she has enjoyed the sights of California, traveling from San Francisco to San Diego, and has had just as much fun going shopping with her friends at the Northridge Fashion Center.

While international dorms for EF students are on the same site as CSUN student’s dorms, the program is not part of the campus.

The Open University Program, however, is a part of CSUN academics.

The program, sponsored by the Tseng College of Extended Learning, gives students from around the world the chance to study at CSUN.

Students enrolled in the program can take classes with the rest of CSUN’s students.

Toshihiro Yoshimura is a Japanese student who said he found his niche in Los Angeles. He said he originally wanted to attend a New York university, but came to CSUN when he realized that he could not afford high cost of living in Manhattan.

He said he feels the campus is too big, especially for a student without a car.

“People don’t think about that inconvenience,” he said.

Students have the option of choosing their roommates in the dorms, said Christina Shapland, a resident adviser for the international dorm.

Any problems that occur in the dorms are always directed to the resident advisers said Taranika Echols, resident adviser of the international dorm.

“You become all things for the students,” Echols said. “But we’ve got the reputation of being the quiet building.”

Although Yoshimura’s visit will be for 10 months only, he said he will have a lifetime of memories. He attended the Broadway show “Mamma Mia” in Las Vegas, and said he loved it so much he saw it twice.

Yoshimura also spends time as a teacher’s assistant for a Japanese language class on campus. He said he now understands how difficult it is for students to learn the language he knows well.

Taline Helwajian can be reached at