A capital success: INTO in full force at NAFSA 2019

A capital success: INTO in full force at NAFSA 2019

NAFSA Reception

On 28 May, INTO’s North American senior leadership team, together with more than 200 colleagues from university and recruitment partners around the world, congregated eight stories above Washington, DC’s iconic Pennsylvania Avenue to kick off the annual conference and exposition hosted by NAFSA, the Association of International Educators.

This year’s conference centered on themes of global leadership, learning, and change, and it pushed representatives to work in tandem to address the challenges of an international education environment contextualized by geopolitical tensions like the escalating trade war between the US and China.

That INTO’s sixth NAFSA welcome reception, the largest yet, gave attendees an opportunity to reunite and forge new connections with others in the international education field on the roof of the Newseum was, then, fitting. 

Whether they were education counselors from South Asia and the Middle East, reporters from major news sources like The PIE News and The Chronicle of Higher Education, or colleagues from current and prospective university partners, guests compared notes on global student mobility trends and celebrated their work to promote international education.

“Though we as an organization constantly connect different parties around the world with each other, university faculty, recruiters, and government representatives rarely occupy same room,” said Yasmin Sefer, INTO’s Vice President for Recruitment, North America.  “When it happens, and you are exposed to unfamiliar perspectives on the state of international education, you get a new sense of the opportunities for collaboration afforded in the space.”

In addition to learning about INTO’s 12 university partners in the US directly from the executive directors of the respective centres, the event offered guests the chance to find out about INTO’s global recruitment network and market research.

“[INTO is] one of the most progressive organizations I have worked with,” noted Brian Hockertz, CEO of OH!Study, the largest student recruitment center in Taiwan. “They have their thumb on the pulse of where things are going in our industry.”

Earlier in the day, conference-goers heard about pathway programs and providers in the US from Luke Sikorski, INTO’s Assistant Recruitment Director, Sponsor Projects, and representatives from the University of Colorado, Boulder and the University of Delaware.  Their panel focused on why institutions establish pathway programs, whether with a third-party provider or on their own. 

Despite popular perceptions, Luke highlighted the fact that INTO is not solely a pathway provider.  While INTO recruits into its partner universities at all levels, be it through undergraduate and graduate pathways or direct entry, it goes beyond strengthening the university’s recruitment arm to provide exceptional personal and academic support once students commence their studies. “Our model puts a huge focus on integration,” Luke said. “Students truly become part of the university’s student body, thus setting them up to succeed.”

After the session, the Kuwait Cultural Office in Los Angeles invited Luke to present on the pathway landscape to diplomats and academic advisors. 

John Sykes, INTO’s Co-founder, Deputy CEO, and Executive Vice President, North America, summed up INTO’s participation at NAFSA best: “INTO was delighted to host more than 200 friends, colleagues, and existing and future partners in DC.  This gathering of professionals, all deeply committed to the transformational impact international education has on people's lives, is more important than ever.  For us, it reinforces all that is great about what we do—bringing opportunities to students the world over and promoting shared values of openness, welcome, and the power of diversity to enrich our campuses, communities, and respective countries.”

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