Leeward Community College celebrates first international student graduate

Yuriko Watanabe one of the first international students to attend the college

Leeward Community College
Becky George, (808) 455-0431
English Language Institute
Kristen Bonilla, (808) 956-5039
External Affairs & University Relations
Posted: Dec 21, 2006

PEARL CITY, Oʻahu — Japan-native Yuriko Watanabe wanted to attend a college in Hawaiʻi that had few other Japanese students because she knew it would force her to perfect her English-speaking skills. She chose well when she selected Leeward Community College; she was one of five international students that were the first to attend the campus in 2003. This month, she was honored as one of the first to obtain a degree from the college.

Watanabe completed Leeward CC‘s intensive English language program after one year and then entered the campus‘ credit degree-granting program. She graduated this month with an associate degree in liberal arts, and plans to continue her studies at UH Mānoa majoring in psychology.

"There was a time I got so frustrated I almost wanted to run away," Watanabe explained at a special recognition ceremony for the campus‘ international students. "But, I am very fortunate to have many friends here and I would not have been able to accomplish what I have without a lot of help."

"We‘re very proud of Yuriko and all of our international students. They‘ve shown a lot of courage and determination in their efforts to learn a new language, and their level of English acquisition is incredibly impressive," said Leeward CC Chancellor Peter Quigley. "We also want to thank them for adding richness to our campus as we learn from their backgrounds and are exposed to their cultures. Their accomplishments illustrate the excellence of our English language program and the college, and we wish them continued success."

Watanabe was one of five international students that enrolled in the campus‘ English Language Institute (ELI) when it began in 2003. The intensive program provides high-quality English instruction and orientation in American and Hawaiian culture to international students, professionals and other non-native speakers. Today, there are nearly 70 international students from 20 countries at the campus enrolled in non-credit courses through the ELI program and credit courses towards earning associate degrees.

For more information about Leeward CC‘s English Language Institute, call (808) 455-0510, email eli@hawaii.edu, or visit the campus‘ website at www.leeward.hawaii.edu and select the "International Students" link.

For more information, visit: http://www.leeward.hawaii.edu