By ARLAETH RAMIREZ
More than 340 international students from 44 different countries are attending Pima Community College this semester.
The highest numbers come from China, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, South Korea, Japan and India.
As vice president for international development, Ricardo Castro-Salazar helps make those students feel at home.
“Not only do we want to bring international students but we also want to offer an international experience to all of our students,” Salazar said. “The educational experience is enriched through these students.”
Salazar brings a global perspective to his work. He has lived on four continents and has taught in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
Past work at Pima included overseeing an 84-member task force that developed an Internationalization/Vision 2020 strategic plan for students.
“We are part of the global diversity and we want to include that in their learning,” he said. “Arizona in general is very diverse.”
Salazar said international students have opened his mind to different perspectives.
“I know that when they go back to their country they will take a part of the U.S. with them,” he said. “Not only have they learned from us, but we have learned a lot from them.”
The number of international students has increased over the past seven semesters.
“Little by little, we are seeing growth,” Salazar said. “I want to be able to bring the world to our students, but also send them out to the world.”