International Student Profiles

Chuxin Chen Elise

Chuxin Chen (Elise)

Guangdong Province, China

SPSCC Graduate
Student at Washington State University

Living in a province near Hong Kong, Elise grew up speaking both Mandarin and Cantonese. She began learning English when she arrived in the United States in 2015. The American culture surprised her in many ways, like how friendly strangers can be and how often they eat foods like burgers, pizza, and pasta. In her free time, she loves listening to music, watching superhero movies, and learning how to cook.

As a first-generation college student, Elise values the college’s support services available to her. With the help of the Advising Center and regular Transfer Fairs, she discovered her chosen field and future 4-year university. She credits the Writing Center for helping her improve her English communication skills

After graduating from SPSCC, Elise is now attending Washington State University, studying Hospitality Business Management.

Helen Rizzardi

Helen Rizzardi

Piracaia, Sao Paulo, Brazil

A native of the state of São Paulo, Brazil, Helen is the kind of person that likes to stay active — especially outdoors. It’s no surprise she quickly overcame the culture shock of moving to the United States, jumping in and embracing new experiences at SPSCC, where she was able to stay busy between work and studying. In her free time, she loves to hike, and she loves American donuts, which she says are far more sugary than donuts in Brazil.

For Helen, SPSCC always has the answers she needs — she only has to ask. Whenever she feels lost, Advising Services helps her plan her future, and she gets support from the writing and math tutoring services. She loves making friends, and finds student events and cultural festivals organized by International Student Services to be the perfect place to meet new people.

Vanessa Enendu

Vanessa Enendu

Nigeria, West Africa

Vanessa grew up in Nigeria with four brothers and sisters. She came to the United States as a high school exchange student in 2014 and started attending SPSCC in 2016. To help adjust to her new setting, she joined as many clubs as she could and visited the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Center (DEIC) to meet new people. She loves hiking and listening to educational podcasts.

Vanessa believes that SPSCC goes above and beyond to help international students like her. When she had difficulty paying rent for her homestay program, friendly faces at the DEIC helped her apply for a job on campus, where the staff recognized her enthusiasm for serving the community and quickly put her to work. She plans to enter the Nursing program once she’s completed her general education.

Souleyman Dembele

Souleyman Dembele

Burkina Faso, West Africa

Souleyman loves to code. He fell in love with tech at a young age, building his own computer from spare parts when he was 11. He was interested in studying in the United States — and the West Coast in particular — because it is known worldwide as a tech capital. He used online translation services to help him apply to colleges and began in New York, where he first learned English, before moving to Olympia to focus on his studies.

He says that SPSCC has an especially helpful International Student Services office, which provides him with support and scholarship opportunities beyond what he’d been offered at previous schools. He also appreciates the opportunities to gain leadership experience — from his first job with the Student Senate, and later as a math tutor for Learning Support Services, he feels equipped to participate and succeed at any university he chooses.