Yes, there are international students at community colleges too, just as you would expect on a university campus. Back in the first few seasons of Community we often saw Pavel, Abed’s Polish friend, pop up momentarily. In the episode ‘Custody Law and Eastern European Democracy’, Britta becomes romantically involved with Abed and Troy’s new cool friend Lukka who originates from the Balkans (though as it turns out, he has a bit of a grim past). We’ve also seen the gang encounter a trio of foosball-loving German students. However we’re not entirely convinced by Leonard’s Hispanic routes despite having the surname ‘Rodriguez’.
Each episode of Community is titled after a theoretical class which reflects the happenings of that episode. Some of our favourites: ‘Romantic Expressionism’; ‘Contemporary American Poulty’; ‘Paradigms of Human Memory’....the list goes on. Now these titles are very specific, but you’ll find that despite being smaller than a university, you have a range of subjects to choose to study at community college level. This is a really excellent opportunity to experiment and see what you’re strong at before dedicating to a field at undergraduate level at university.
You’ll encounter people of all ages, races & backgrounds
Just take a look at our central study group which alone spans various races, backgrounds, socio-economic statuses: a Caucasian former lawyer; an African-American housewife; a Polish-Arab twentysomething – it’s certainly a mixed bunch who despite their differences, stick together through thick and thin (even if they have some squabbles along the way).
You’ll find that community colleges attract individuals from many different walks of life. School schedules are flexible to allow students to juggle studying with other commitments such as family or part-time/full-time jobs – one of the many positives of community college. Many older associate’s students will have returned to education after a number of years while other, younger students will be planning to transfer to a university upon completing their studies.
Because many students live off-campus at home and have other commitments and different schedules, you won’t necessarily have the same amount of student activities you would expect at a university (where most students live on campus in larger numbers). However that doesn't mean that a community college isn't a friendly environment. In Community, we've seen the whole school embroiled in multiple paintball wars; build (and tear down) complex pillow and blanket forts; participate in Pop ‘N Lock-a-thons; attend Sadie Hawkins dances; lead Model UNs; and attempt to hold school president elections. You can still expect some communal activities to help students integrate and get to know each other (particularly international students).
Who isn’t bowled over by the Dean and his unconditional love for his students (particularly Jeff)? Constantly trying to make Greendale a better place, the Dean is joined by a regular revolving door of professors, from Professor Garrity (Theatre and Drama) to Dr. Marshall Kane (Biology). You can expect similar attention and care at a community college from the staff, all of whom are experts in their specific fields. Even though community colleges are smaller, you’ll find that the staff take as much pride in their institution as they would at a university.
At the end of the day, when you strip away all the pop culture references and concept episodes, Community is about the study group; a group of friends who wouldn’t have met outside of the community college environment but have become a family despite their differences. Similarly, you’ll make friends you wouldn't have met anywhere else had it not been for community college. These will be the first friends you make in America and hopefully you’ll stay in touch no matter what you choose to do after. So cherish them and learn together.
Paul Ellett is the editor for Hotcourses Abroad. His role is to plan, produce and share editorial, videos, infographics, eBooks and any other content to inform prospective and current international students about their study abroad experience.
When he's not thinking about student visas in Sweden and application deadlines, Paul is an avid fan of comedy podcasts and Nicolas Cage films.