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| Trustees Meet with International Students As Deree Steps Up Foreign Recruitment
March 21, 2010 - Barbara Cooke and Lea Garret
With Deree focusing on recruiting more international students, board of trustees members making their annual visit to the College met with international students already studying at Deree.
Study Abroad and International students spent an afternoon in February mingling with trustees Peter Thun, Ann Caldwell, Dr. Charles Cook, Dorothy Mitchell, Dr. Concetta Stewart and Chancellor John S. Bailey, giving them their perspective on life and study at the College.
The trustees listened as students from around the world talked about why they had chosen Deree.
“We are happy to provide an environment in which our students meet with both faculty and students of 54 nationalities, representing all continents,” said Helga Kristensen, manager of international student recruitment. “Friendships and networking opportunities are established to last far beyond college years. We offer our students a true American experience.”
Ashley McIlroy, an undergrad from the U.S., said the trustees showed a friendly interest in the students. One of the trustees advised her to enjoy her time at Deree and in Athens.
The meeting was the trustees’ first ever with international students. Alexander Osarogue, a student from Nigeria, said he would like to see it repeated. “It was really relaxed and informal. It was very enjoyable,” he said.
Though the board and faculty members filed in to the meeting swathed in suits and ties, they quickly set the tone for an afternoon of mingling and laughter. “It was a nice opportunity to meet the people who are making all of this possible for us. It’s really been a terrific experience so far,” said Melanie Graf, a student in the American Study Abroad exchange program.
After a welcome from President David Horner, the students stepped into the limelight, each describing how their search for universities had led them to Deree. “The whole world was gathered in one room,” said one French student. “All the continents were represented. It was pretty impressive.”
In a world where organizations need to diversify to survive, it would be easy to assume that Deree is simply evolving alongside its competitors. But the students learned that the College’s roots run deep in diversity.
Responding to students’ questions about the College’s modest beginnings in Smyrna – modern-day Izmir, Turkey – the members of the board recounted in detail the history of the College, originally an all-girls’ school funded and run by missionaries from American Presbyterian churches. Given the College’s international origins, its current outreach to international students is in keeping with its tradition.
The College has energized its Study Abroad Department and Office of International Recruitment, revamped its Web site, and taken on more employees to aid international students in their transition to life in Greece. College housing has become available to students on exchange, and steps have been taken to smooth out the process of gaining residency visas for non-Greek enrollees. Deree is also offering student exchange programs with The American International University of London.
“The Board of Trustees have had the vision in the past years to increase the number of international students at Deree,” Megan Norton, an American student at the meeting said. “We are the product of their vision.”