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Northwestern to Host Education USA Training Institute

State Department selected University for program assisting international students

  • Northwestern among eight Chicago-based institutions hosting EducationUSA
  • The training institutes are intensive professional development programs
  • Helping EducationUSA train more effective advisors for international students

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University is among eight Chicago-based institutions selected by the U.S. Department of State to host this year’s EducationUSA Training Institute, which will take place April 26 to May 1. EducationUSA Training Institutes are intensive professional development programs that provide EducationUSA advisers with the knowledge and skills they need to enhance their effectiveness at advising international students on U.S. higher education.

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs seeks to develop the relationships between people and communities in the United States and around the world that are necessary to solve global challenges. EducationUSA is a network of hundreds of advising centers worldwide that promotes U.S. higher education and helps international students navigate the admissions process. EducationUSA advisers support hundreds of thousands of international students each year and play a critical role in supporting U.S. institutions seeking to internationalize their campuses.

“Since 2006, Northwestern’s undergraduate international population has increased by 123 percent and represents more than 70 countries,” said Aaron Zdawczyk, Northwestern’s associate director of admission. “Beyond Engineering and Economics, top majors for international students include communication studies, journalism, math, political science and psychology. Northwestern’s international alumni network includes 17,000 alumni in 159 countries.”

Zdawczyk has been one of the coordinators of the event for the University. Several University staff members from the Office of Undergraduate Admission and the International Office will be participating in the training sessions. A group of the advisers will visit Northwestern Thursday, April 30.

This event is one of two collaborations with other Chicago-area institutions focused on international recruitment and enrollment. In July, Northwestern will host 20 counselors from international high schools as part of the Chicagoland Counselor Tour with six other area universities, Zdawczyk said.

“Northwestern’s undergraduate international population has witnessed unprecedented growth and diversity in the last 10 years. The number of students has more than doubled, and the countries represented on campus have changed significantly,” he said. “Thanks to strategic recruitment, student and alumni involvement abroad and University initiatives, such as need-based financial aid, the international population has been transformed to reflect the University’s commitment to being globally engaged and inclusive.”

Each year, a wide range of colleges and universities from across the United States submit proposals to host the EducationUSA Training Institute. Participating EducationUSA advisers from 20 countries will begin the program in Washington, D.C., before traveling to Chicago for a week of campus-based training.

Chicago-area institutions will join Northwestern to lead training sessions on the diversity of U.S. higher education, application processing, recruitment strategies, communication streams, community college pathways and financing cost of attendance. In addition, the advisers will embark on campus tours, speak with specific academic departments of interest and gain exposure to many of the cultural and historical attractions of Chicago.

According to “Open Doors 2014,” the annual report on international academic mobility published by the Institute of International Education (IIE), a total of 886,052 international students enrolled in U.S. institutions of higher education in the 2013-2014 academic year. This number represents an increase of 8 percent over the prior year, with Illinois remaining the fifth largest receiving U.S. state. International students also contribute more than $27 billion to the U.S. economy, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“International education is crucial to building relationships between people and communities in the United States and around the world. It is through these relationships that together we can solve global challenges like climate change, the spread of pandemic disease and combatting violent extremism,” said Evan M. Ryan, assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs.

The U.S. remains the preferred destination for international students who want to study abroad because of the quality and prestige associated with an American degree. Another contributing factor is greater access to comprehensive and accurate information about study in the U.S. through EducationUSA advising offices, coupled with an increased level of activity by U.S. colleges and universities to attract these students.

One of the key pillars of the University’s 2011 Strategic Plan, Northwestern Will, is global engagement, and the plan notes: “We will, through strategic partnerships, engage locally, nationally and internationally to heighten our global impact for the greater good.”

According to the 2014 statistical report released by the University’s International Office, Northwestern is home to more than 6,000 international students, faculty, researchers, visiting scholars and staff, whose presence enriches and enhances the academic community. Their perspectives from more than 105 countries influence how Northwestern community members think about the world, cultures and people.

The growth in size and diversity of the international population at Northwestern is related to the University’s strong academic reputation in multiple areas, the flexibility and variety of the curriculum, the proximity to Chicago and the strong sense of community on its residential campus.

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