Monday, December 17, 2012

International Education Advisers Spend Week in Pittsburgh Learning About Sending Students to United States and Local Institutions

A group of 21 international education advisers from the U.S. State Department's worldwide network of 450 EducationUSA advising centers recently spent a week in Pittsburgh to learn about sending students to the United States, hosted by GlobalPittsburgh.

The advisers were participating in a week-long training institute titled Essentials of Advising (Level 1), which was conducted Dec. 9-15 on the campuses of institutions participating in the Study Pittsburgh initiative of the GlobalPittsburgh Education Partnership (GPEP).

Advisers came from Austria, Bangladesh, Brazil, China (2), India (2), Indonesia (2), Iraq, Japan, Jordan, Mauritius, Pakistan, Paraguay, Romania, Russia, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

Trainees learned about the American system of higher education, including the admissions process for undergraduate and graduate students, tuition and financial aid, and campus life. They also visited several campuses, met with faculty and administrators, and engaged in a university fair to learn more about local institutions.

“This was a great opportunity for local universities and for the Pittsburgh region, and we already have been told that more students from these advising centers will be considering Pittsburgh in their education plans,” said Thomas Buell, Jr., Director of the Study Pittsburgh initiative and Director of Marketing for GlobalPittsburgh.

The advisers will be promoting educational opportunities in the United States to international students around the world, and any positive connections they make in Pittsburgh will have a long-lasting positive impact on the number of students who choose to come to study in this region, he said.

"We know from studies that international students create an economic boost, and if each one of these advisers sends just one student to Pittsburgh over the next year, that would have a greater than $500,000 impact on the region through tuition, fees and living expenses," Buell said, citing reports from the Institute of International Education.

Several of the advisers indicated that they will be adding Pittsburgh colleges and universities to their list of recommended education destinations in the United States.

"I have already been speaking about Pittsburgh to student advisees and I sincerely hope that this transpires into admissions," said Zafeena Suresh, EducationUSA adviser in New Delhi, India, after she returned home. "I look forward to a long and fruitful association with GlobalPittsburgh."

Marta Garcia, EducationUSA adviser in Caracas, Venezuela, called the program the "perfect combination for a very informative and assertive training experience. Pittsburgh is a formidable discovery both culturally and academically! [We] will be keeping in close touch."

Reving Mizory, EducationUSA adviser in Erbil, capital city of the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq, said the training institute will expand his ability to serve students in his advising center.

"It was a very significant trip for me because it was my first visit to the U.S.," Mizory said. "I got to see the university campuses and what it is to be an international student at a U.S. university. It will help me a lot when I go back home and talk about this experience to our prospective students. It is different when you talk about it and you hear it from someone, and when you experience it yourself. I talked to the American students and I talked to the international students here. It was a very rich experience. It will help me a lot."

Formed in 2010, the GlobalPittsburgh Education Partnership is a growing consortium of colleges, universities and English as a Second Language (ESL) programs in the Greater Pittsburgh Region that have joined together to explore ways to increase international student enrollment in the region, to create partnerships and exchange programs with their counterparts abroad, and to engage students in the community once they arrive.

Current members of the GPEP include:
• Art Institute of Pittsburgh
• Carlow University
• Carnegie Mellon University
• Chatham University *
• Community College of Allegheny County *
• Duquesne University *
• LaRoche College
• Penn State – Beaver
• Penn State – Greater Allegheny *
• Penn State – New Kensington
• Point Park University *
• Robert Morris University *
• The University of Pittsburgh
• The University of Pittsburgh English Language Institute
• The University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School of Business
• The University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing
• Washington & Jefferson College
• West Virginia University
• West Liberty University

(Asterisk indicates campus that hosted training sessions or events)

In economic terms, international students make a significant positive impact in the region, contributing an estimated $2.6 million to the regional economy for every 100 international students enrolled at regional colleges and universities, or $250 million in tuition and living expenses to the Pittsburgh-area economy, according to the IIE. More than 9,800 international students are enrolled in the Greater Pittsburgh region, the IIE reported.

GlobalPittsburgh, formerly the Pittsburgh Council for International Visitors, is a non-profit organization that engages international delegations, groups and individuals by creating itineraries and facilitating introductions through the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) and other international programming agencies in many fields, including energy and environment, life sciences and medicine, education, business and technology, clean/green design, advanced manufacturing, arts and culture, government and finance, social services and law, and other areas.

For information about GlobalPittsburgh's Study Pittsburgh initiative, go to www.studypittsburgh.org

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