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FM Around the World: Staying Connected with our Alumni

Posted: December 18, 2019 — One of my favorite sayings is “we are seeing the world one student at a time” and this is indeed true at Fulton-Montgomery Community College.

I am very proud of our history as an institution in that we recognized early on the value it brings to classrooms to have students from both near and far learning together.  I recently checked out the list of international students who have enrolled at FM over the years. Among the more than 1,900 individual names, more than 100 countries were represented. Indeed the globe was spanned from Albania to Zimbabwe! These individuals have greatly impacted our campus and community economically, culturally but also personally. It is this personal connection that makes the experiences of all of us who have had the privilege to welcome them to our campus community so special.

Staying connected with these alumni via social media has been a pleasure. Our FM alumni prove that the education we provide here in Johnstown NY can take the graduate anywhere. The power of social media has been very helpful in staying in touch with everyday life joys and struggles as well as professional achievements.   As I write this article, I have just congratulated an FM Japanese Alum who posted on Facebook that she delivered her third child. Earlier this month, I was visited by an Ecuadorian alumni who came to campus and wanted to share his good news that he is studying for his CPA exam and wanted to say thank you to his favorite Accounting professor. He was also a student athlete when he was enrolled and sends his best to the Raiders this season! Sadly, I connected with the widow of one of our Bulgarian alumni as she memorialize his passing on Facebook.  On Instagram, I saw a beautiful mural a Japanese alumna Fine Arts major recently completed for her neighborhood. On LinkedIn, I read about the professional accomplishments of our many alum working or continuing their studies, here or abroad. Earlier this fall, I reached out over What’s App and connected with Brazilian alumni who greeted me as I came to the country for the first time. I regularly remain in touch with many former students as do other faculty and staff here at FM. I know many community members from local churches, service organizations and businesses who have also stayed in touch with our alumni from abroad.  Indeed, their very presence on campus and in our communities has made the world seem a bit smaller for us all.

This month, the international community celebrated the 20th annual International Education Week which is a global and national endeavor highlighting educational programming for both students coming to the U.S. as well as American students studying abroad. Fulton-Montgomery Community College in the last academic year continued to be the top community college in our congressional district (and 8th overall behind RPI, U Albany, Skidmore, Union, College of St. Rose, Siena College and Albany College of Pharmacy) for our enrollments of international students contributing over $2.7 million dollars to the economy and supporting 14 jobs in the area according to a formula designed by NAFSA: Association of International Educators’ International Economic tool.

This article was written by Arlene Spencer, Director of International Student & ESL Programs at Fulton-Montgomery Community College.

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