Do you know what a community college is?


An information session was held at Rosa Parks Library and Information Studio. The aim of the session was to educate people about community colleges available in the United States.

Leeza Fernand, Associate Director of International Students and Sponsored Programs at Northern Virginia Community College and Jason Green, Deputy Director of Public Affairs of U.S Consulate were present to impart knowledge to the community of White City and surrounding areas.

“We place students all over the U.S for a one-year program which has four components. The first one is academic- the ideal goal is for students to come for two full semesters and get an academic certificate in any of the eight fields of study.

“There’s an internship/professional development component, a volunteering component and the last component is the cultural exchange.” explained Fernand.

Students in South Africa can, however, choose between five different fields of study which are IT, Media, Early Childhood Education, Engineering, and Business.

The academic year runs from July through May of the following year. Applications open between October/November for the following academic year.

“Community Colleges in the United States are structured similarly to TVET colleges in South Africa. They are there to provide full access to education within a community.

“Community Colleges are affordable and there are no entry requirements such as exams. Some community colleges may require that you are 18 and others may require that you have a high school diploma (matric certificate),” said Fernand.

Alumni of the Community College Initiative Program, Lerato Mahloko and Khathutshelo Hasha shared their experiences. Hasha studied Hospitality and Tourism back in 2011 at Seattle and Mahloko studied Business Management at Northern Virginia.

“My experience there was life-changing because of the diversity dimension. You get to interact with people from all over the world and create networks.

“When you go back to your apartment you are staying again with people from different countries, so the element of developing as a global citizen kicks in. From when you are in class to when you are at home. I was placed with guys from Costa Rica, Turkey, Indonesia, Kenya, and Brazil,” said Hasha.

Mohloko, who just got back from the program a couple weeks back, said she learned that one can do so much if they manage their time well.

“One of the things that I noticed about Community Colleges is that people really work hard. You might think that having two jobs while studying and volunteering is too much but it’s possible when you manage your time,” said Mohloko.

“I’d recommend studying in the U.S because it’s always good and powerful to go outside of what you have always known, so you can get more knowledge.”

When asked about his view on the education system in South Africa,   Green stated that it was one of the gems of this country.

“We all know that Wits, UJ, StellenboschPretoria as well as colleges have experts in a variety of fields and are well-renowned in many ways. I’m very impressed with the university system here.”

Scholarships are available on a competitive basis.

For more information about Community Colleges visit Rosa Parks Library and Innovation Studio at Ipelegeng Community Care Centre.

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Noluthando Radebe

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