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attracting more international students to Illinois

Friday 12 June, 2009

Study Illinois, the US Commercial Service of the Dept. of Commerce, International Trade Assn. of greater Chicago, & Illinois Dept. of Commerce & Economic Opportunity Office of Trade & Investment sponsored the 6th annual Attracting International Students to Illinois event. In the past 6 years, they’ve hosted 50 speakers from EducationUSA advising centers from all over the world. Illinois hosts 29,000 foreign students ranking #5 in terms of attracting international students to the state. These students bring more than $700 million annually to the state’s economy. The US Dept. of State sponsors EducationUSA, an organization which hosts 450 affiliated advising centers throughout the world to advise foreign students on studying in the US. They are in the US to attend the Association of International Educators conference. Representatives provided summaries of education in the following countries:

I don’t have space to summarize all of the presentations. Check the Study Illinois website to see if they put the presentations up there or contact the representatives from each country via the websites above to see if they can send them to you.

Q&A:

  • there is definitely interest in online courses, especially in business
  • exchange student data can be found in the open doors report
  • not all countries have access to the SAT, but some do
  • money & English-speaking ability are problems for some students
  • American schools can exhibit @ foreign college fairs in Pakistan for free
  • there are fees to have local documents attested
  • the value of a US education to foreign students is that 90% recognize it as the best in the world & offers a wide variety of disciplines
  • there are still visa issues, especially when applying to community colleges

My take: I’m all for encouraging international education, as much for inbound, but even more for outbound. The rest of the world can learn about us on TV & in the movies. Americans need to get out, learn new languages, & explore the rest of the world. I’m an alumni student recruiter for Michigan, my alma mater, & when working college fairs, I see that high school students today are much more aware of the rest of the world than in my day. They’re learning languages, spending junior years abroad, & connecting with students from other countries all the time. The reason: the internet. It’s allowing kids to connect in ways we’d never imagined & they’re leveraging it. But these virtual connections aren’t enough. Foreign students coming here & Americans venturing elsewhere is the best way for students all over the world to learn how life is lived differently & how to adapt to that.

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