Story by Emily Williams, Contributing writer
Don Robertson, vice president of Student Affairs recently traveled to China in an effort to recruit more international students for Murray State.
Robertson said by visiting partner universities and meeting with presidents, vice presidents, international agents and administration, they are able to strengthen partnerships and have the opportunity to meet groups of students to talk about Murray State and answer any questions they may have.
“Sometimes that can be a short-term group which might be a semester or a year, or it could be eight weeks or it could be someone who is coming to study English because they have to get their English skills to a level where they can be admitted into the regular university,” Robertson said.
Robertson said it is important for universities in the U.S. to send someone to recruit and build relationships, particularly for Asian countries, if you want to have a strong international program.
“We’ve had this as part of our mission I think almost from the beginning of this institution,” Robertson said. “Since 1922, I mean, it’s been part of who we are and it’s been a great success.”
Robertson said another trip is planned in the spring with President Bob Davies. He said the hope is to formally sign the agreement with the science university in Mongolia.
He said he thinks our involvement with international students is one of the strengths of Murray State and makes us unique.
According to Murray State’s Fall 2016 International Enrollment Report, there are a total of 647 international students on Murray State’s campus representing 54 different countries.
A majority of these international students come from countries such as Saudi Arabia, India, Brazil and China, but there are many countries that are represented by as little as one or two students on campus.
According to the International Enrollment Report, Mongolia is among these countries with only one representative as of Fall 2016.
Davaasuren Byambaa, junior from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, said she was born and raised in Mongolia and came to America when she was 17 years old through a 10-month student exchange program before deciding to stay and attend Murray State.
Byambaa said even though it was a big adjustment and very hard at times coming from the largest city in Mongolia to a small town, especially with a language barrier and no other Mongolian students, she loves Murray State and its hospitality toward international students.
Byambaa said her number one goal in coming to Murray State was to learn English and she hopes that more young people from her country will come to Murray State.
Byambaa said she believes it is beneficial for people to travel to a different country and experience different cultures because you are exposed to different opinions and have the opportunity to improve yourself.
“Since most of our population is young people, I want more people to come here and get a good education and help our country back,” Byambaa said.
Robertson said he is grateful for the responsibilities he has at Murray State.
“I think I have the best job on campus,” Robertson said. “This university gives me all kinds of opportunities to do things, so I’m so very grateful to Murray State for allowing me to be involved in this very important aspect of the university. I’m very appreciative of it.”