Revealing the International Student Experience at Green River College – Artima Meechai
“International students are the majority of Green River’s full-time students, so there are many services to help us out.”
Green River College is a public community college that plays host to students from all around the world. As a Green River student, you can be a transfer student, obtain an Applied Sciences degree, complete pre-college classes and much more.
According to Bjorn Myhre, Director of International Recruitment at Green River College, GRC is all about student success and helping them achieve their educational goals. He says, “International students annually transfer to top-ranked universities like UCLA, University of Washington, University of Michigan, Indiana University and many more."
SchoolApply chatted with Artima Meechai, a student from Thailand, to ascertain her impression of studying at Green River College as an international student.
GREEN RIVER COLLEGE
Location: Auburn, Washington (USA)
Student Name: Artima Meechai
Favourite class: Accounting. The professor is very kind and talented. She holds great lectures and always offers us internship opportunities with local companies.
Favourite school event: Annual Halloween Dance Party. Around 600 students come to the dance party all dressed up in costumes and there is food, music, tarot card reading, photo booth, and even a costume contest!
Four words to describe Green River College: Fun, Relaxing, Caring, and Determined
International students annually transfer to top-ranked universities like UCLA, University of Washington, University of Michigan, Indiana University and many more.
- Bjorn Myhre, Director of International Recruitment at Green River College
Tell us a little about yourself. What were your school experiences like before Green River College?
I'm from Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, where I have lived almost my whole life. For one year, I was part of an exchange student program in 2015 in America, which has led me back to this country for college.
In Thailand, I studied in a private, Christian, bilingual school from elementary to middle school. I then attended a public high school named Triamudom Suksa. For 10th grade, I traveled to Rosebud High School in the state of Montana in the United States as part of an exchange student program. After that, the next time I lived abroad is when I moved here to Green River!
Why did you decide to pursue your education in the US and specifically at Green River College?
I chose Green River College because of their High School Completion Program since I had not completed my high school diploma in Thailand. Green River College is also known as the best community college in the field of Aviation, which is what I want to study. Also, the school is part of the University Transfer Pathway Agreement with many big universities throughout the United States.
What degree are you pursuing and why did you decide to study this?
I am currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Airport Management. I decided to study this because of my passion for traveling and the field of aviation. Since I was small, I always felt thrilled to be in airports and see people from around the world interacting with each other. I have also always been intrigued with the all the machinery and technology in airports and airplanes.
Did you have any issues adjusting to life in the United States or Green River?
On the first day of orientation, I saw the campus and immediately became relaxed. I had been so nervous the whole plane ride and then when I arrived, I thought to myself, “So much greenery, it’s so pretty… it’s perfect.” I fell in love with the atmosphere and environment of Green River College – it is very relaxing and calming. I had a fun orientation week and I made nearly 20 new friends which is pretty crazy for me!
I was very lucky that my best friend from orientation week was in my first class. We helped each other study throughout the quarter and achieved our goal of a 4.0 GPA together!
What has your experience been like as an international student at Green River College?
Green River College is #8 in the USA out of 1,200 community colleges for their international student enrollment, and the International Programs office has the largest staff of any two-year college. Hence there is a lot of support and services for the thousands of international students at Green River College.
Class sizes are small with about 20-30 students, which makes it easy for me to ask questions or contact the professor directly if I need help. Green River College also holds activities that support international students such as Campus Talk, where students attend twice a week to practice their English verbal skills. There are also Global Tea Parties, where individual countries have turned hosting a tea party to present their culture to others.
Are you taking part in any extracurricular activities?
I am currently this year’s President of the Na Siam Thai Club. I am also a member of many other clubs such as Phi Theta Kappa (academic honour club), Green Tails Aero Club (aviation club), F.I.S.H. club (Fellowship of International Students Here club), Esports Club (gaming club), Business Synergy Club, Japanese Club, GRC Volunteer Outreach Club, and Smile Club (club that is dedicated to making others in the community happy).
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Do your current studies support your interests and talents?
My classes here at Green River College all contribute to my major. I completed my High School diploma, but the credits also count toward my Bachelor’s degree. The college has many aviation classes that are very interesting. The faculty is comprised of retired pilots or air traffic controllers, so they have a lot of information and knowledge to offer the students. I had fun in my accounting classes also, as the professor was very good at teaching. I ended up taking 3 classes of accounting with her the entire year. The accounting classes helped build a foundation for the business aspect of Airport Management.
Are you holding a job while studying?
Yes, I’m a Peer Mentor for international students. Peer Mentors are experienced students who help new students through a required class called Foundation For Success (FFS). Peer Mentors are assigned to 5-8 new students, regardless of their age and nationality, and are required to support them during their first quarter. The purpose of the Foundation for Success class is to help students adjust to their new environment, get involved socially, receive support academically, and build an understanding of the US college system.
I am also working as a Thai Marketing Assistant in the International Marketing Department. My responsibility is to recruit more students from Thailand or students who are interested in the Aviation field. I also introduce the college to Thai communities as a good place to study abroad.
What are your plans after you graduate?
My plan after graduating is to transfer my credits from Green River College to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, where I will major in Aviation Business Administration. I will be able to transfer easily due to the University Transfer Pathway Agreement that the college has with other universities.
What would you say to international students who are considering studying at Green River College?
You should definitely come and join our community! Green River College is the best place to adjust to a new life in an American college. Everyone here has the same goals and they are very welcoming. Green River is equipped with smiles and resources to help you reach your dreams.
Green River College has helped me grow as a person. I learned how to be socially active, responsible, and how to be productive. My advisor helped guide me towards my goal of transferring to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. I have also met people from many different countries; this has widened my connections to all across the world!
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