Coming from the city with a seven star hotel and the soon-to-be world’s tallest building, Kristen Chung, Dubai, United Arab Emirates first year, found Albion to be a little different when she arrived for the start of the school year.
“I would like (students) to know what life is like in Dubai, how different it is (from the United States,” Chung said.
Chung is one of 26 first year international students at Albion this semester. There are a total of 28 new international students on campus, the largest number of international students ever to attend Albion during a semester, according to Debra Peterson, director of the Center for International Education (C.I.E.).
“It’s important to realize there’s a difference in the way academics are handled here at Albion compared to schools abroad,” Peterson said. “Everyone has different expectations when they first come to Albion.”
According to Peterson, there are a total of 22 Chinese students on campus, 16 of who are new to Albion this year.
“The Chinese educational system can’t handle all their students, (students) look other places to get an education,” Peterson said.
Increasing the number of international students on campus has been a goal of the college’s for years, according to Donna Randall, Albion College president.
“We can’t claim that we’re preparing (the students) to be world citizens without a diverse student body,” Randall said.
According to Randall, the large number of international students is due to strategic planning, luck and the work of Lewis Cardenas, associate director for international student recruitment.
“It’s tough; I have to convince (students) who never have stepped foot on campus to come to Albion,” Cardenas said. “I am most excited to see (international students) four years from now and hear about their Albion experience.”
Because of the renewed emphasis on increasing the number of international students, Albion has made several changes in their approach to helping international students on campus. Peterson gave a presentation at a faculty meeting explaining how to support international students in the classroom. The CIE has also started picking arriving international students up at the airport, whereas in the past arriving students would have to take a bus from Detroit to Jackson, where an Albion representative would pick them up.
“We want to recruit even more students next year, so we changed some seemingly small but meaningful things to make sure the (international) students are treated well and feel like they’re part of the community,” Randall said.