In southwestern Kansas, Garden City Community College is educating and assimilating students from all over the world, reports The Chronicle of Higher Education.
The sprawling Tyson Foods meat-packing plant a few miles outside of town is among the largest in the world, according to Steve Quackenbush, the college’s information-services director, and for decades it’s been a magnet for immigrants — first from Mexico, then from Vietnam after the fall of the regime in the south, now from Myanmar and Somalia. More than half of the city’s 30,000 residents are minority-group members, and the college — founded in 1919 as a traditional junior college — offers an array of services for people who grew up speaking a language other than English and may arrive in Garden City having no idea of how to drive a car or shop in a Walmart.
Linda Miller, the college’s English as a Second Language coordinator, said some of the college’s adult students had never been in a school before, much less attended college. Nonetheless, she told me, immigrants from Myanmar sometimes arrive in Garden City knowing the name of a college faculty member who helped a relative or friend.
Some students have earned degrees overseas, while others are migrant workers seeking to learn to read.