Higher education advisers representing 21 countries visited Loyola Marymount University in February as part of a two-week training program to examine and enhance the experience of international students at U.S. institutions.
The program, sponsored by EducationUSA, a network of advising centers around the world supported by the U.S. State Department, provides education consultants with advanced knowledge and a deeper understanding of the international student experience in the United States. This training enables the counselors to be more effective in their home countries.
“My students always challenge me by asking if I’ve been to the U.S.,” said Shen Yi, an academic adviser in Beijing. “Now I’ve had a firsthand look at American campus life, and I’m able to give them better advice.”
The visitors’ packed agenda included tours of campuses and seminars on what international students can expect in America, including “The International Student Experience,” “U.S. Cultural Values and Norms,” and “Academic, Social, Emotional, and Cultural Support for International Students.”
Other sessions delved into the nuts and bolts of getting into college, such as the admissions process and financial aid, as well as student life. Representatives of LMU’s Office of International Students and Scholars and other Student Affairs departments explained how they improve the quality of campus life, socially and academically, for their students.
“The LMU strategic plan calls for an increased commitment to global citizenship, and opportunities like this are excellent ways for us to move that effort forward.” said Maureen Weatherall, LMU’s vice provost for enrollment management. International students comprise 5 percent of the university’s student body.
“This is really a wonderful opportunity to introduce advisers to our gorgeous campus, meet faculty, staff and students and support the great work that’s done here,” said Csilla Samay, director of International Outreach at LMU.
Weatherall said the event allowed a significant exchange of information and ideas, and created new opportunities for collaboration across international borders. “The relationships we have formed and the knowledge we have gathered will contribute greatly to our goals of attracting highly qualified students from around the world,” she said.
The 21 countries represented at the conference are: Albania, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, China, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, India, Latvia, Oman, Nicaragua, Tanzania, Turkey, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Zambia.