IIE Networker - Spring 2008 - (Page 39)

Knowledge Network Latin America © SGAME | DREAMSTIME.COM Attracting Students from Latin America & the Caribbean By Nichole Johnson Working as a Regional Educational Advising Coordinator (REAC) for the EducationUSA Network, I have traveled throughout Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, learning about the local educational community, meeting with advisers and high school counselors, students and parents, university administrators and education ministry officials. Over the years, the concerns I have responded to have changed according to current events – from questions about the probability of obtaining the student visa after 9/11 to anxiety about Americans’ attitudes towards Latinos as exposed to the media during the immigrant rights demonstrations since 2006. Nevertheless, our strong economic and historical relationship with the region and the high regard for the U.S. system of higher education has been sustained. Even with the increased presence and aggressive recruiting strategies of other higher education destination countries, students and administrators continue to follow their compass north when choosing the right academic program to meet their needs. Combined with the continued high esteem for the U.S., there are several push factors which lead students to the decision to study outside the comfort of their home. Students recognize that with a degree from the U.S., there are more opportunities for a better life – not only for themselves as individuals, but also for their family and their community. Moreover, for many Latin American students, primarily in the Caribbean, there is very limited access to higher education within their own country. Many local educational institutions do not have the capacity to meet the growing demand for higher education. Additionally, many institutions do not offer the degree program that students are seeking, primarily in science and technology, and there are few universities that offer Ph.D. programs. The statistics in student mobility show that students from Latin America and the Caribbean are drawn to the U.S. based on geographic proximity. Consequently, many U.S. colleges and universities feel that they cannot compete with institutions in the border states. As one might expect, the top four states in which Latin American migrants reside (California, Florida, New York and Texas) are also consistently among the top ten states hosting international students from this region. However, students also choose schools based on location of migration networks from their country, which are widespread throughout the U.S. EducationUSA adviser from the Dominican Republic promotes U.S. higher education during International Education Week. of jobs your graduates are finding and your local alumni network activities. Recruiting in Latin America Recruiting in Latin America and the Caribbean can be a fun and rewarding experience as you build a network of colleagues in the field and in the region and take advantage of the variety of tools and appropriate mechanisms that fit your recruitment needs. • Contact EducationUSA! Although it happens less and less, it never ceases to amaze me that not all admissions officers have established communication with the EducationUSA advisers. If EducationUSA does not know you’ll be visiting, then neither will most of the prospective students in that country. And long after your visit, the advisers will be there to guide the students throughout the application process. The advisers may even be able to help you organize your visit by putting you in contact with high school counselors, university administrators and the ministry of education. To contact the EducationUSA adviser, visit www.educationusa.state.gov/centers. • Communicate with your alumni. Second to working with EducationUSA, touching base with your alumni is anoth39 What Inhibits Students from Studying in the U.S.? U.S. colleges and universities should be prepared to address international students’ concerns about studying in the U.S. Besides the anxiety about the high cost of education abroad, there are other factors that dissuade Latin American and Caribbean students from pursuing their degrees in the U.S. Some students have obligations to work and support their family. Others fear that pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in another country will hinder them from building future business contacts as they will be separated from their network of friends and future colleagues. Students also recognize that there are many prestigious institutions and excellent academic programs at home. One strategic practice to address all of these issues is to discuss the types http://www.educationusa.state.gov/centers http://www.educationusa.state.gov/centers

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IIE Networker - Spring 2008

IIE Networker - Spring 2008
Message from Allan E. Goodman
Up Front: The International Education Diary
Best Practices in International Education: 2008 Andrew Heiskell Awards
IIENetworker University Presidents Interview Series A Conversation with President M. W. Scogggins, Colorado School of Mines
Measuring Return on Investment in International Student Recruitment
Making Partnerships Work
Campus View
Latin America
International Students
The Browser: Index of Advertisers

IIE Networker - Spring 2008