Employees At Northeast Introduce International Students To American Culture


Brad and Cindy Schaller welcome international students to Northeast and their own home.

Sonya Sandoval, Culture Reporter

Just admit it. We humans can be selfish. And when it comes to our jobs, we focus on what has to be done and sometimes forget other employees around us. At Northeast Community College, Brad and Cindy Schaller do just the opposite.

The Schallers work for Chartwells food service at Northeast and go out of their way to notice their fellow workers, especially the international students. They have made it their priority to connect with those students.

Brad says a daily connection with the students is important to get to know them, and to meet their needs as they get situated in a new place. It also assists the students with their language needs. Cindy says, “That has been the most fun aspect of our jobs.”

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International student Kobi Benao and Brad Schaller working together at Hawk’s Landing

The Schallers host activities for the international students and go on trips with them. They also participate in International Student Fellowship, a national bible study organization that works in conjunction with the International Student Association. Also, Arrow Stage Line Vans in Norfolk donated a van for fifteen passengers to go to the Omaha Zoo on March 23, 2015. The Omaha Zoo also donated tickets for the students.

International Students at Northeast Community College

Cindy’s passion to help the international students started as a child. She grew up in Nicaragua and she understands how foreign America can look to those students far away from their own homes. Cindy says, “We really like getting to know them, learn about their food and their culture … we wanted to provide a home if we could. Just an opportunity to have a place where they can kick back.” The students cook at the Schallers, which Cindy says is a wonderful chance to sample foods from around the world. They took the students to Omaha for Black Friday, so they could experience the American culture.

Brad and Cindy Schaller welcome international students to Northeast and their own home.
Brad and Cindy Schaller

Cindy stressed it is important for other Northeast Community College students to reach out to the international students, because it is a rich experience, and one that only comes when you’re a college student. Brad says the international students have had a positive effect on the Norfolk community.

The community has the opportunity to mingle with the international students at the International Student Association and the Oyate Native Club’s ‘World Culture Mix and Mingle’ on Sunday, April 26, from 4-6 p.m., in the Northeast College Welcome Center. Entertainment will include a violinist from Mexico, high-energy Native American dances, and songs from the continent of Africa. There will be food samples and display tables set up and hosted by the students. Many of the students will be hosting in cultural attire that is representative of their home countries.

The event is free and open to the public.

Northeast currently has 43 international students from 20 different countries including Australia, Bahamas, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Denmark, Ethiopia, Serbia, Montenegro, Benin, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, The Gambia, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, South Korea, Vietnam, and Zambia. This does not include many students on campus who have resident status, but are from other countries.

Ted Myers and Melissa Lemke-Elznic are co-advisors of the Northeast International Student Association.


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