On September 24, 2021, Skyline College’s International Student Program (ISP) went for a walking tour of Chinatown, the North Beach neighborhood, and Telegraph Hill/Coit Tower in San Francisco. The eighteen students who attended the event had the opportunity to meet, talk, and get to know each other in person. Something especially important since Skyline College is primarily online due to the ongoing pandemic.
Fortunately, despite the utterly temperamental weather of San Francisco, it was a beautiful day. The tour stopped at a variety of locations including, the beautiful Dragon Gate at the southern entrance of Chinatown and the Saints Peter and Paul Church, a Catholic institution located in North Beach, a traditionally Italian neighborhood.
Thais Aoyama, an international student from Brazil and one of the ISP’s student ambassadors, said her favorite part was the fortune cookie factory, “We were able to try fresh ones. It was really warm.” On the other hand, Win Mar Oo, an international student from Myanmar, preferred climbing to the top of Coit Tower, “I can feel nature, [and] see the ocean and the city view from there.”
Throughout the tour Clair Yeo-Sugajski, Interim Program Services Coordinator, talked about the city and its history. She shared how San Francisco’s financial district was built on ships originally used in the gold rush and how the corner of Post and Montgomery Street, where the tour met, used to be underwater (today it is at the heart of San Francisco’s downtown).
Furthermore, everyone noted the tour was decidedly social. Michelle Amaral, Interim Retention Specialist, said people were shy starting out. However, gradually everyone began happily talking to one another. Win said, “meeting new friends in person, taking pictures together…it was so much fun.”
It wasn’t always easy; they had to take frequent rests while walking up onerous stairs to get to the top of Telegraph Hill, where Coit Tower is located. However, even after that, according to Thais, “everyone was talking, having fun, laughing.”
Overall, students got to meet new people, see new places, and walk up a new set of stairs. The ISP is thoroughly grateful to all the students who came and helped make it a truly wonderful event!
If you are interested in learning more about future ISP programs and events, contact the ISP office at firstname.lastname@example.org
Article by Evelyn Rossi