Students in the CUEST Program toured the Oregon State Capitol Building on January 15, 2015.
Salem, Ore. is a long way from home for 15 students from Papua, Indonesia, but a brand-new program is helping them ease into life at Corban University.
The students are part of a unique partnership between the University and the Papuan government that will help students earn their degrees and return home with skills that will benefit all Indonesians. The Corban University Essential Skills Transition Program (CUEST) gives these new international students a great opportunity to ease into college life and acquire the skills necessary to be successful students.
They are guided by CUEST Program Coordinator Evan Brammer, who has more than a decade of international work experience, including three years teaching in Indonesia. The students arrived Jan. 9 and spent their first week at Corban in orientation. This included getting moved into their new homes in the residence halls, obtaining health insurance, starting bank accounts, getting cell phones (if desired) and learning a number of everyday American customs. During the week, the group also toured the Oregon State Capitol building to learn how government works in the United States.
In recent years more than 20 students from Papua have attended Corban. Discussions between Papuan Governor Lukas Enembe, Bapak Besem Gombo (head of human resources in Papua), Janine Allen (Corban’s dean of Global Initiatives) and Wally Wiley (the head of Sekolah Papua Harapan) led to a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) that launched Corban’s new CUEST Program.
“It’s a big transition for them to go from schools in Indonesia to life at an American Christian university,” Brammer said. “We want them to fulfill their goals, to have them develop that biblical worldview and to have success in their academic career.
“We want to provide the time and opportunity necessary for these students to focus on building up their academic and English skills before undertaking the pressures of a full university schedule,” Brammer added. “We view CUEST as a very valuable tool that will be able to assist these students in the short-term and, through later partnerships and cohorts, many more international students that need that extra boost to ensure success.”
The 15 Papuan students will follow a program designed to address given language and academic deficiencies. They will focus on English reading and writing, receive an introduction to biblical literature, and take a mathematics course meant to bridge their current understanding with higher level courses many will need to fulfill degrees in engineering and computer science. This summer, when most Corban students return home, these Papuan students will continue with four to five more courses in preparation for a full load this fall.
Additionally, each Papuan student has been paired with an American roommate to further immerse them into college life here. The roommates, their resident assistants (RAs) and area coordinators (ACs) attended a seminar with Brammer and Eugene Edwards, director of Community Life, to prepare them for some of the unique challenges that come with rooming with an international student.
Brammer said he is excited to get to know the new Papuan students better and to build on the foundation established by Corban and the Papuan government more than five years ago.
“Our plan is for growth and long-term relationships,” Brammer said. “Seeing Corban expand as an international university is exciting and will be beneficial for every student here and for expanding God’s kingdom” in years to come.
Reported by Sheldon Traver. http://www.corban.edu/news/2015/02/06/cuest-program-begins-15-papuan-students