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College News

French student brings global perspective to education

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Jul 15, 2020

The international student body at College of Lake County (CLC) is a major contributor to the breadth of student growth inside and outside the classroom. One of those students, Clemence Perraudeau, who fondly goes by Clem, is a native of a west coast city in France called Nantes. She’s one of the 95 international students from 36 countries who are enrolled at the college.

Clemence Perraudeau

She’s traveled with her family all over the country before coming to the United States four years ago as an au pair for a family in San Francisco. In August 2018, she moved to Chicago’s North Shore with a host family and now lives in an apartment with fellow international CLC students in Vernon Hills.

A top-notch student, Clem is passionate about the right to literacy by educating young children, so she started exploring options for an American education. When she mentioned her interest in becoming an early childhood educator, her host family recommended she attend classes at their local community college, CLC.

“The teacher training program here is very supportive,” Clem says. “Every instructor has supported me from the start, and I continue to be in touch with them, looking to them as mentors.”

Faculty helped Clem find schools where she could do her classroom observations and she even started an internship teaching preschool at The French School in Winnetka until it closed this spring due to COVID-19.

Clem has become instrumental in the Center for International Education, leading her fellow students as an official peer mentor. Based on first-hand experiences on campus, Clem helps new international students navigate their life at the college successfully through membership in the F1 Club, where she is president. Thanks to her hard work, she recently earned the 2019 Susan Smith International Student Scholarship.

Like all international students, Clem can be at ease knowing the college’s Center for International Education supports growing a global community on campus in Lake County.

“Clem embodies the general spirit of international education: purposefully exploring the world in a way that enriches one’s educational journey,” said Jacob Cushing, director of the Center for International Education. “More so than the individual growth that Clem and other international students experience during their time here is the importance of expanding our melting pot culture by ensuring learning comes with a global perspective.”

“It’s hard being away from family, alone in another country,” said Clem. “But Jacob and his team are always willing to help, reach out and take action. They create a safe place of support international students need to grow freely.”

After she completes her associate degree in early childhood education this fall, Clem will proudly return home to France and hopes to find a job teaching at an American school there. As she carries on her role as a global citizen, Clem embodies the CLC mission, valuing diversity and inclusion as she navigates the next chapter of her educational career.

“I grew a lot during my time at CLC,” says Clem. “I met so many people from different cultures and it’s helped me take a new perspective on my own life. We all come from different backgrounds and it’s important to be open-minded and stay objective in the aspects of your life.”

International students, and international education in general, seek to expand the academic experience for all involved by exposing all students to different parts of the world without leaving Lake County, while also enriching society and our local community. The enrollment of international students at CLC is one of the most vital components to ensuring graduates are ready to thrive and to be productive members of our global society.

Learn more about the Center for International Education and its dedication to facilitate global engagement online.

About College of Lake County:

The College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. The College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.