Increases Recruitment in Asia
by Greta Petry (December
University at Albany is being talked about by high school
students and their parents in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, and
Japan, as the University has increased its recruitment efforts
in Asia in recent years.
Pomeroy, assistant director of Undergraduate Admissions for
international enrollment, returned October 26 from his most
recent recruitment trip to Asia, a trip in which UAlbany alumni
and parents of current undergraduates played a prominent role.
said the first question he often fields from potential international
students and their parents has to do with location.
hear New York and they think the University must be located
in a major metropolitan area. Many parents respond positively
to hearing that Albany is several hours away from New York
and Boston,” Pomeroy said. “New York State is very popular
in Hong Kong. I could definitely see the interest there.”
next question is often about climate. New York State is a
bit chillier than its closest competitor, California, which
draws the largest number of international students.
to the Institute of International Education’s (IIE’s) Open
Doors Report 2003, released in November, the state of California
has 80,487 international students. New York State ranks second,
with 63,773 international students. Overall, the leading country
of origin for foreign students in New York State is the Republic
of Korea, followed by China, India, Japan, and Canada. For
the University at Albany, however, most international students
and scholars arrive from China (about 28 percent); followed
by Korea (roughly 16 percent); India (about 14 percent); and
Japan (almost 10 percent). More than 150 students from India
are studying at UAlbany. Many other Asian countries, including
Bangladesh, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand,
and Vietnam, are represented in the student body.
Pomeroy’s recruitment trips to college fairs abroad, parents
and students alike ask about cost. When they hear that one
year’s expenses total $20,000 for an international student
at UAlbany, contrasted with about $45,000 for a year at a
private university, that saving resonates.
75 percent, or 850, of UAlbany’s 1,185 international students
hail from Asia, according to the Office of International Education.
More than 100 undergraduates are enrolled this fall from the
areas Pomeroy visited.
Pomeroy logs many miles a year on these recruiting trips and
others, the excitement and enthusiasm of UAlbany alumni and
parents assisting him enhances the credibility of the University’s
reputation for excellence. These alumni and parents translate
questions for him, and speak to their own experiences. While
successful alumni from China or Taiwan attest to the quality
education they received at UAlbany, a father may share his
son’s on-campus e-mail address with a prospective student,
and reassure another parent that Albany is a safer place to
go to school than a larger city.
recruited at an IIE fair that was held in the Hong Kong Exhibition
and Convention Centre for more than a thousand high school
students. This hall was the site of the July 1, 1997 handing
over of Hong Kong from the British to the Chinese. There are
about 15 undergraduates, and more than 300 international students
and scholars, studying at UAlbany from other parts and provinces
was assisted in Hong Kong by Paul Cheung, the proud father
of UAlbany senior Yingchi Tempsin Cheung. Tempsin, an economics
major with a minor in business, found UAlbany by searching
online and by checking the University’s ranking on the U.S.
News & World Report Web site, www.usnews.com.
has a younger brother, Samson, who is also studying in the
U.S. When her father, Paul, assists in recruiting, other parents
in Hong Kong ask him about the number of students at UAlbany;
whether there are many Asian students on campus (because the
parents he speaks with usually prefer their children to have
more contact with English-speaking students in order to improve
their English); how to get to UAlbany from Hong Kong; and
which airport is more convenient. He is also asked about the
weather in Albany “and whether it is too freezing for Hong
Kong students to adapt.”
Cheung added in an e-mail, “The most important thing about
Albany that I express to Hong Kong parents is that the studying
atmosphere there is very good and the location of the University
is good and self-contained, since it is not close to an extremely
busy city. Students will become more concentrated on their
Tokyo, Japan at another IIE fair, Mitsuyo Phillips helped
out. The mother of a son and a daughter at UAlbany, she has
traveled to the campus numerous times.
at the “Chinese University” in the New Territories, Hong Kong,
Pomeroy met with Ping Ping Fu, Ph.D., a business professor
who was taught at UAlbany by Professor Sue Faerman and earned
her doctorate here.
new students thousands of miles from home can be a bit complicated.
“You never know what to expect,” said Pomeroy, who once had
to borrow a suit and shoes from an alumnus for a recruiting
fair, since his luggage did not arrive with him. Luckily,
the suit fit. He had to walk carefully in the shoes, however,
which, at size 11, were three sizes larger than his own.
the spring of 2003, recruiting took Pomeroy to Bangkok and
Singapore. He returned by way of Taiwan. It was not until
two days after he returned home to the U.S. that he learned
he had been traveling through the very areas touched by the
SARS outbreak. Luckily again, he stayed healthy.
aspect of recruiting abroad that has become faster in recent
years is communication. In Spring 2003, Pomeroy met high school
student James Bang at King George V School in Hong Kong. Bang
enrolled at UAlbany. Just two days before Pomeroy was to leave
for Asia this fall, he learned via e-mail that Bang had a
friend back home in Hong Kong who was interested in UAlbany
and who wanted to meet with him.
the days before e-mail, setting up this meeting would have
taken about six weeks,” Pomeroy said. “We would have written
letters. Instead, we met within two days because of James’s
“Willie” Wang of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, considered Japan, the
United Kingdom, and Australia, in addition to the United States,
when he first thought about studying abroad.
a doctoral student in information science at UAlbany, assisted
in the development of the Admissions Web site.
I was 25 years old, I realized how important it was for me
to have an advanced degree in business or information technology,
and I decided to apply for schools in the U.S. because the
U.S. is the leader in IT as well as business fields,” he said.
Wang, now 29, did some research about colleges through the
Internet and libraries, and had some assistance from a consulting
institution that helps people apply to schools in foreign
found that the University at Albany has a relatively strong
major in management information systems provided by its MBA
program. I thought it would be good to join the program since
I could acquire knowledge in both business and MIS fields.
I got accepted by the MBA program and attended the school
in Fall 2000, a few months after my 26th birthday,” he said.
has lived away from home since he was 18 for college, military
service, and work. “However, it is another story living in
a country where people do not share the same language and
the same culture with me. It was hard for me to communicate
with people here in the beginning.”
took about three months to make friends, settle in, and increase
his proficiency in English to a point where he felt comfortable
was hard in the beginning. “I found that people here have
way different logic of thinking as well as different customs
from me, and my English was not good enough for me to deal
with these differences in terms of speaking and listening.”
time Wang made the adjustments and is now entering his fourth
year living in Albany. Still, at times he misses home. “I
decided to go home at least once a year after my grandmother
passed away last December. It made me realize how important
my family is to me, and I want to spend as much time with
them as I can. My parents were happy when I told them that
I am going home this winter. They told me that they would
have paid for the airline tickets if I had asked. I am very
grateful to be their son and hopefully will get my Ph.D. degree
successfully to make them proud.”
one lives far from home, as Wang does, there are certain foods
one misses. For an American abroad, it may be peanut butter
and jelly sandwiches even if one rarely eats this at home.
While there are many Chinese and Asian restaurants in the
area, Wang said, “the tastes of the food are just different
from what I had back home. Sometimes I miss some kinds of
noodles and some dishes made of sticky rice that I could have
easily in Taiwan, and I need to spend time to learn how to
make them by myself.”