Club Helps international Students Settle into
American Life, Chiropractic College
NOVEMBER 16, 2001 - Imagine moving
from a metropolitan area in Pennsylvania or New
Jersey to a small, Southern town like
Spartanburg, SC. A bit of a culture shock,
Now imagine the courage it must take to leave
your home country and immerse yourself in a
foreign culture for more than three years of
chiropractic college in the small, Southern town
of Spartanburg, SC.
Every year numerous students make that journey,
often halfway across the world, and start their
chiropractic education here. College staff and
faculty are working to make the transition to
American life, Spartanburg and Sherman College
easier for international students (nearly 10
percent of the college's enrollment) with a new
International Student Club.
"We started the club because we want to help
international students adjust to life in the
United States," says the club's president, Chris
Toellner. A ninth-quarter student from Canada,
Toellner says the club especially wants to help
first-quarter students and those for whom
English is not their native language.
"If you're from overseas, settling into a new
country can be overwhelming," he says. "Even if
you speak the same language, it can still be
difficult. Customs are different. Words and
phrases have different meanings. You have to
watch and see how people learn and react."
International students can also feel isolated if
home is very far away, making it impractical to
rely on family for day-to-day emotional support,
or to travel home for holidays.
The club addresses issues including visas, green
cards, Immigration and Naturalization Service
regulations and citizenship. Members make
informative presentations so others can learn
about their countries. Toellner and Nick
Bianchi, the club's vice president, recently
educated other club members about the culture
and customs of Canada. "These presentations give
us the opportunity to learn about other
countries without actually going there,"
Toellner says. Even students from the U.S. are
participating in the club to learn more about
their international classmates and their
International Student Club members hope to
connect with international clubs at other area
colleges and organize trips to visit those
colleges. Members are also planning outings to
area landmarks and attractions. "Many
international students might not have
transportation or know where to go or what kind
of activities are available," Toellner says. "If
you're going to be here for three and a half
years, there are a lot of nice places to go and
plenty of things to do."
The International Student Club also helps the
Admission Office staff in their efforts to
answer questions and ease concerns of
prospective students from other countries.
"International Student Club members are helping
us create a mentoring experience for prospective
international students," says Director of
Admissions and International Student Advisor
Lisa Hildebrand. "Many prospective international
students contact us through e-mail, and our
current international students will get in touch
with them that way. I think our prospective
students will find it helpful to have direct
contact with current students who can empathize
with them and help ease some of their concerns."
Hildebrand says she dedicates a large portion of
her time to advising international students.
"They have a lot of questions and usually need
more reassurance than someone who is moving here
from somewhere like New Jersey," she says.
Hildebrand and Dean of Chiropractic Health
Services Garry Krakos, D.C., serve the
International Student Club as advisors. Krakos
founded and directed the Office of International
Programs during his tenure as director of
clinics at Palmer College, and he was
instrumental in founding the first chiropractic
college in South America. He also developed the
Clinic Abroad program, an international clinical
program providing chiropractic care around the
- If you are interested in mentoring a student,
please e-mail Director of Ambassador Relations
Kellie Candino at firstname.lastname@example.org or call
800-849-8771, ext. 1363.
Archived News Releases
Back to Campus