Latinos represent largest ethnic group at EC


Noorulain Khuwar, 19, engineering major said her history of rock n’ roll class is really cool and fun. Photo credit: Giselle Morales

The distance from Pakistan to the U.S. is 7,690 miles.

While there are universities in Pakistan and in other countries, many people seek the opportunity to receive an education in the U.S.

Noorulain Khawar, 19, engineering major, said that one the main reasons that she came to the U.S was because her parents decided that she would have more options and she would be able to explore more.

She’s been away from her immediate family for over three months but came to El Camino for a better education.

She is just one international students who has come to EC for a better opportunity and to make her educational dreams come true.

According to the Office of Institutional Research, there are 704 international students enrolled at EC.


The International Student Program at EC helps to enroll international students from all over the world, which in turn is helping the college become an even more diverse school.

International students are just one piece of the diversity puzzle.

At El Camino College, the number of diverse students has seen a steady increase over the last few years.

According to the annual 2016-17 El Camino College Factbook, “Latinos represent the largest ethnic group on campus, a 7 percent increase in five years. Other ethnic groups have remained stable…”

Out of 33, 226 students, 51 percent are Latino, 15 percent are Asian and 15 percent are African-American.

“What diversity specifically brings to a college campus is the opportunity to engage with people who are different than oneself and as a result exposes those individuals to new information, different ideas, perspectives, cultural viewpoints and also facilitates a way to engage with people who are different than oneself,” USC professor and campus diversity expert, Darnell Cole said.

Campus diversity expert Darnell Cole said sometimes students choose institutions based on the cultural norms. Photo credit: Courtesy of USC


As an international student, Khuwar is enrolled in an ESL English class where she is surrounded by other students from all over the world.

“It’s really interesting because the kind of topics we do are also related to the different cultures and we get to learn a lot of things from them,” Khuwar said.

Aside from taking her ESL class, Khuwar said that her favorite class is the history of rock n’ roll that she’s taking.

Noorulain Khuwar, 19, said that in today’s world everyone is from everywhere and there is no specific culture or country. Photo credit: Giselle Morales

This is a course that wouldn’t typically be offered at a university in Pakistan.

In addition to taking classes at El Camino, there are diversity clubs on campus that students can participate in like International Club.

The former president of the International Club, Layseang Ting said that the main purpose of the club is to, “promote diversity as well as inclusiveness on campus…we want to have an environment where students from different backgrounds can come and learn about each other.”

Layseang Ting, 26, international studies major said he reactivated the club in 2016. Photo credit: Courtesy of Layseany Ting

The club had several indoor and outdoor activities that helped to celebrates and encourage diversity.

“…For indoor activities, we focused on having students represent their cultures and delivering their cultures…that they’re from to our other members,” Ting said.

Other diversity clubs at El Camino include the Black Student Union, ECC Salsa Club and A.H.E.A.D (Achieve Higher Education for All Dreamers).

EC also has several programs that support diverse students including KEAS (Knowledgeable, Engaged, and Aspiring Students Program) which supports students that have placed into pre-college level coursework at EC.

The KEAS program is offered to any student that is eligible, although they mainly target African-American, Latino and Pacific Islander students.

The Director of Staff and Student Diversity, Jaynie Ishikawa said, “I think understanding who our students are and how we can serve them best is one of the most important things about what we do on campus.”

Other community colleges in the area including Long Beach City College and LA Southwest Community also have diverse campuses. Long Beach has a 58 percent Hispanic population, 13 percent Caucasian population and 11 percent African-American population.


LA Southwest has a 53 percent Hispanic population and 37 percent African-American population.

Perhaps the largest diverse percentage comes from Cerritos Community College with a 70 percent Hispanic population.

Dr. Valyncia Raphael who is the Director of Diversity, Compliance and Title IX Coordinator said, “With a large Hispanic population, we’re in the top 15 in the country in terms of Hispanic serving institutions. [However] numbers can be misleading, what those numbers mean is that we’re still getting to know our students…those numbers only tell part of the story of who our students are.”

Whether it’s El Camino or other community colleges in the area, diversity is prevalent all over and it’s something that Khuwar thinks is an important topic.

“I think [diversity] is important because you get to learn about other people and their cultures,” Khuwar said. “I think it’s important that you respect their values and get to know them.”

Update: 11:51 Thursday, Dec. 6 Grammatical error was adjusted for clarity.

Update: 8:22 Thursday, Dec. 6 gallery was added.