International student numbers to rise

By Raena Wilson

Lumen Reporter

Shaojie Jiang, Viterbo’s new direc­tor of Global Studies, has a few goals he hopes to accomplish. He looks to increase international enrollment, expand and improve the study abroad program and international­ize the campus.

“By promoting understanding and culture, that is the best way to make peace in the world,” Jiang told Lu­men. To meet those goals and pro­mote peace, he hopes to double the international student population on Viterbo’s campus from 30 to 60.

Jiang received an M.S. degree in education administration in 1994 and an MBA in 1995, both from Concordia University in Mequon, Wis. In 2001, he earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership from Mar­quette University in Milwaukee. He has taught English at SUNY College of Technology, Concordia Univer­sity, and in Tianjin, China, where he earned his B.A. in English. He also has 19 years of experience in recruit­ing international students.

“I was hired because of my in­ternational recruiting experience,” Jiang said. “My predecessor didn’t recruit aggressively, resulting in a low international population. My three-year goal is to increase the in­ternational student population to 60 [students].”

To increase the international stu­dent population, Jiang hopes to use the exchange programs Viterbo has set up with schools in sister cities, such as in Luoyang, China, to ar­range a “2 plus 2” or “1 plus 3” agreement. This is when a foreign student attends a university in the home country for two years, or one year, and then attends Viterbo Uni­versity for the last two or three years to get an American degree.

Along with the exchange pro­grams, the Internet, publications and education fairs in foreign coun­tries and consulting firms can be used to recruit students, Jiang said.

According to “Open Door,” a pub­lication by the Institute of Interna­tional Education Jiang uses, the top countries the U.S. receives students from are in Asia.

“America is very advanced in par­ticular fields, especially education,” Jiang said. “Countries don’t have enough schools for students. Asian countries value education and most parents want kids to have a bach­elor’s degree. If they can afford to send their students abroad, they will do it. The United States rates first [for university education], Canada second, then the UK and other Euro­pean universities.”

Jiang would like to recruit stu­dents from every country in Asia.

“Ideally we should go to every country in the world but students need visas [to study in the U.S.] and the success rate of a visa being ac­cepted is not high in countries with bad relationships with the U.S. Or [people] can’t afford U.S. tuition,” Jiang said. He would also like to see U.S. students studying abroad in ev­ery country; however, “there could be poor infrastructure in airports and highways or have travel warn­ings.”

These factors all need to be taken into consideration when determin­ing which countries to recruit stu­dents from and where American students can study abroad, Jiang said.

Increasing the international stu­dent population is a benefit not only for the foreign exchange students, but also for American students, fac­ulty and staff, the community and the home country of the foreign ex­change students, Jiang said.

“The [American] students and fac­ulty and staff can benefit from the interaction with foreign students and learn from different cultures.” Jiang said. “It can prepare American students for jobs. We are a global vil­lage. The world is getting smaller.” American and foreign students will better prepared and have a better competitive edge in the job market, Jiang said.

“Politicians should realize it is good for the U.S. to promote good relationships [with foreign coun­tries],” Jiang said. “The ultimate goal is not to conquer a country. The ultimate goal is to make democracy and friendly relations with the U.S. By promoting understanding and culture, that is the best way to make peace in the world. I like my job be­cause I can change people — with­out having a war, by introducing democracy and American views to students to make the world a better place. This is the value of the edu­cation and politicians should realize this.”

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