NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- A record number of 109 international students and their families arrived in July at the U.S. Naval War College (NWC) in Newport, Rhode Island, and participated in Naval Staff College (NSC) and Naval Command College (NCC) student orientation from July 29 to Aug. 6.
The orientation ensures newcomers and their families are better prepared to participate in the upcoming year of academic studies, which both helps to educate the future leaders of the represented militaries and incorporates a focus on the strengthening of global maritime partnerships - two imperative missions of the NWC.
"The orientation comes in handy for a lot of the students, whose cultures are very, very different," said Trinidad and Tobago coast guard Lt. Cmdr. Dion Brathwaite, a NSC student who came to NWC with his wife from their home in Trinidad at the recommendation of his commanding officer.
"It helps [students] feel a lot more comfortable and in that regard it has been very helpful. There are a lot of people here that I am looking forward to having long and meaningful relationships with. Having that global network and perspective is very important to me," said Brathwaite.
During orientation, new students are provided with the right tools to not only complete their job on an academic level, but to feel comfortable within the community and the country itself.
Speakers from NWC spend time addressing concerns and covering everything from housing, food and transportation, to the locations of local schools and hospitals. With external stressors taken care of, students are more able to focus on their studies.
Both the NSC and the NCC programs provide an opportunity for international students, nominated by their respective commands, to come to the NWC to pursue their studies. The NSC integrates officers of the intermediate-level with their U.S. counterparts, while the NCC does the same for senior officers.
Students in both programs follow the same curriculum as their American classmates, but with the addition of the Field Studies Program, which involves a large amount of travel and the application of knowledge gained in the classroom.
"We structure the venues on the road and where we go around the classroom content," said Randy Wietman, international military student officer of International Programs at NWC. "We talk about our legislature, Congress and politics, the National Rights Association; we take them to Washington D.C., the west coast, and everywhere in between. We're matching up classroom content with an opportunity to see it in action, and as they say, 'to get into the hearts and minds of Americans.'"
Students who graduate from these programs often go on to play important roles in their respective militaries, participate in regional alumni symposia and other gatherings of maritime leadership that involve coalition building and problem solving on an international and global scale.
On such a scale, the value of the NSC and NCC programs is clear.
"The students all go on to very senior positions in their respective militaries and as such, we have the opportunity to make an impact on the senior leadership throughout the maritime nations of the world," said Wietman.
"There have been many instances where a student has called their former classmate in another country during an international situation, and that phone call was able to de-escalate the problem," said Wietman. "There are no substitutes for the relationships that are built here."
The NSC and NCC classes of 2015 represent a total of 63 countries, including: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Cameroon, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mauritania, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, Tanzania, Trinidad-Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Vietnam and Yemen.
The students' courses take place over an 11-month period, beginning with their convocation on Aug. 18, 2014 and ending with their graduation on June 19, 2015.
For more news from Naval War College, visit www.navy.mil/local/nwc/.