The Community College Initiative (CCI) Program also referred to as CCI, CCIP or CCI Program is a foreign exchange program by the United States government. It is funded by the Department of State (US-DOS) to study at United States community colleges for two semesters. The program is administered by the Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) on behalf of the Community College Consortium (CCC). CCI Program is a non-degree study program like you don’t get a degree after the completion. However, you get so many certificates or recognition for your wonderful work in the U.S. The program offers the different field of studies such as Business Management and Administration, Early Childhood Education, Social Media Marketing, and Hospitality Management etc. The CCI Program help students come out of their shells and broke their preconceptions (false assumptions) about American culture. The program also develops their technical skills to grow professionally and be independent in their lives. I was part of the CCI Program in 2016-17 and I spent my exchange year in the United States through this opportunity.
What is a Community College?
I already explained this in more details in my previous blog post which was Being an International College Student in the United States. A Community college also refers to as a junior college, is the two-year school which provides two years affordable postsecondary education (associate degree) as a pathway to a four-year degree. Most people attend a two-year community college to earn an associate degree and then transfer the credits to University to earn a Bachelor’s degree.
CCI Program eligibility or Program Requirement
The CCI Program requirement may vary by country. It is different for every country. Like, my Indian friends were High School students, and they were accepted for the program. Indonesians friends had master’s degree. So, it is depending on the country you are applying from. Professional experience is also required in some countries. Pakistani students were only eligible with 14 years of education. Anything less than 14 years or more than 14 years education were not eligible by the program. So, you have to check with the program office in your country. For Pakistani students I break it down into three requirements:
- Fourteen Years of Education
- Two years of Experience
- English proficiency
After the application process, interview and selection for the program. You will be invited for the Visa interview. You will receive J-1 Via on your passport after the successful interview in the U.S Embassy.
What countries are eligible for CCI Program
This also depends on the grants and program policy. You have to check with the U.S Embassy in your country or go to the program website and check manually here. https://exchanges.state.gov/non-us/program/community-college-initiative-program
The CCI Program Structure
The program is divided into three sections:
- Academic Section: Students need to complete two semesters in the community college. This specifically focuses on building the skills of students. It may be filmmaking, photography, accounting or anything for which a student applied. A student can’t miss the classes unless they have something important or due to sickness.
- Volunteerism: This changes every year. However, students are required to volunteer your time for the community. Volunteer in the community gives a chance to the student to involve in the community and make some friends outside the college and program. This opportunity open minds of the students and they start thinking about making this world a better place to live. Students are required to complete approximately 125 hours. (again this depends on the program.
- Internship: Students are required to complete an internship in their fields. Journalism students are required to complete an internship with a local Newspaper agency. Accounting students are required to complete their internship program with CPA, Accounting department of the business or with VITA.
One Year as a Foreign Exchange Student in USA
Here are some beautiful or unforgettable moments in the United States. I started recording from Peshawar to all the way Scottsdale, Arizona. I mentioned hiking scenes, Las Vegas street performance, Cricket, American Football, birthday of a CCI cohort, festivals, my Skydiving experience, volunteer, classroom. I hope you will love my video. Please like and leave your comment in the box below. Thank you!Posted by Qasim Khilji on Sunday, March 18, 2018
Financial coverage by the CCI Program
The CCI Program covers everything to make student lives easier in the United States. It pays for trips, accommodation and gives a monthly stipend to the exchange students. The programs covers the following expenses:
- Air Tickets
- An extensive Health Insurance
- Payments for Cultural/Leadership opportunities (g. Global Leadership Retreat)
- Monthly stipend. (However, this stipend you have to use very carefully. This stipend is for food, clothing and Most of the students buy expensive Tech products like Apple iPhone, Mac, camera etc. Then they don’t know how to survive. So, they seek help from families back home. Budgeting and Managing the personal finances is the key to success here)
Few Words for CCI Program by the CCI Alumni
“Thanks CCI programs and thanks Department of State for providing us a golden opportunity and taught a lot of things which we will never forget and because of this program we made new relations and met with different nationalities and learned a lot of things.” Ali Razzaq from Pakistan – CCI Program 2016-17
“You (CCi program) taught me to be more openminded and that’s how I welcomed all cultures in to me. It made me to believe love as my religion and humanity as my nation.” Sindhu Gulivindala from India – CCI Program 2016-17
“There’s a lot you learn about yourself and other foreign countries which I did not know about. You learn more also on Leadership Development, Professional Development and how it is being a Student in a foreign Country.” Kgothatso Baatile Mohale from South Africa – CCI Program 2016-17
“The program taught me SO much on different levels. I developed much more open-mindedness as I got to interact and live everyday with people from different horizons (Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Brasil, South Africa, Dominican Republic, Papua (Indonesia), Spain, Ghana etc.), learned the value of social work and community development as I involved on community service activities and social events and I received an education the American way!” Axelle Amani from Côte d’Ivoire – CCI Program 2013-14
Here is the CCI Program Official Website: https://exchanges.state.gov/non-us/program/community-college-initiative-program
Interested in more scholarship opportunities. Read this List of Free Scholarships or Fully Funded Programs