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International Admissions takes South Asia recruiting trip

By , Reporter  |  Tuesday, February 11, 2014 1:02 AM

St. Thomas ranks fifth in the number of international students enrolled among Minnesota’s colleges and universities, a recent national study reported, partly due to recruiting efforts like a recent trip to South Asia.

Ethan Olson, assistant director of International Admissions, is visiting high schools and university fairs from Jan. 26 to Feb. 18 in Nepal, India, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates seeking to boost international enrollment. Currently, 66 percent of St. Thomas’ international student population is from Asia and the Middle East, according to international enrollment records.

“The recruitment process is essentially the same as it is for domestic students – we just have to travel farther to find them,” Director of International Admissions Christina Hilpipre-Frischman said.

Students peruse the International Fair last fall in the Anderson Student Center during International Education Week. Students from all over the world had a chance to tell others about their countries. (Alison Bengtson/TommieMedia)

Students peruse the International Fair last fall in the Anderson Student Center during International Education Week. Students from all over the world had a chance to tell others about their countries. (Alison Bengtson/TommieMedia)

According to Hilpipre-Frischman, a large number of students from South Asia and the Middle East are looking to the United States as an education destination.

“We have been actively recruiting overseas since 2006, focusing on Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Scandinavia,” Hilpipre-Frischman said. “We directly recruit students in their home countries by utilizing our international alumni network and collaborating with partners such as Educational USA and the US Commercial Service.”

When members of the department are not out of the country, Hilpipre-Frischman said they visit high schools with international students, work with English language schools such as ELS Language Centers and host recruitment events on campus.

Graduate student Zheng Yang Gao of China said he chose St. Thomas after attending a lecture given by Hilpipre-Frischman.

“I decided to come to St. Thomas after I did some research on the university,” Gao said. “I wanted to go somewhere with more diversity, and St. Thomas has that to offer.”

Junior Sarah Al Muniye of Kuwait was drawn to the hospitality offered by International Student Services.

“I chose St. Thomas because it’s one of the pioneer universities for justice and peace studies,” Al Muniye said.

Hilpipre-Frischman said overseas travel is just “one piece of the puzzle.”

“Most of our time in international admissions is spent in the office following up with the students we have met and guiding them through the admissions process,” Hilpipre-Frischman said.

Michelle Doeden can be reached at doed1842@stthomas.edu.

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