Seeking International Students

by Erin Hallissy


Students perform Indian dances at the annual International Multicultural Fair.

Saint Mary’s is renewing efforts to recruit students from other countries, hiring Lin Larson as senior assistant director of admissions and coordinator of international student recruitment. Larson spent much of March representing the College at educational fairs in Southeast Asia, including ones in Manila, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Bangkok.

Competition for international students has increased in recent years, especially as Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia have stepped up efforts to attract them, says Maureen Little, coordinator for SMC’s Center for International Programs which helps students with orientation, workshops and other services.

More than a decade ago, the College, which then offered an English as a Second Language program, had about 150 international students. In the spring 2007 semester, 62 international students from countries including Australia, Canada and the Philippines were studying in Moraga.

About one-third of those students are athletes, including members of the basketball, baseball, golf and rowing teams. Most members of the men’s and women’s tennis teams are international students; the men’s coach, Michael Wayman, was an international student himself.

“Coaches are wonderful ambassadors,” Little says.

Larson has helped establish academic scholarships for international students, who are not eligible for most types of financial aid.

As the College brings foreign students to campus, more SMC students are studying abroad. More than 150 students studied abroad in the 2006–2007 academic year, compared to 53 in 2000–2001. They studied at a wide array of colleges in cities including Rome; Madrid; Oxford; Cape Town, South Africa; Melbourne, Australia, and Cuernavaca, Mexico. In fall 2007, the College is adding programs, in London and in Aix-en-Provence, France.

Maria Grazia De Angelis, a modern languages faculty member, also led a trip to Sorrento, Italy, in summer 2006 for students to study comic theater and the Amalfi Coast, and will lead another trip this summer.