International services officials plan video campaign to attract abroad students

Media Credit: Madeleine Cook | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Isaac Fuhrman, the associate director of the International Students Community, thinks that videos are a good way to highlight the different international communities at GW.

The University is reaching out to international students through the small screen.

GW’s international enrollment office is starting a new video project that will feature promotional videos for overseas events for prospective and accepted students. Student leaders said the project will entice international students to come to GW by showing them more about the existing global community – something several international students said they knew little about before arriving on campus.

University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said the international enrollment office and the International Students Community have reached out to internationally focused student groups to create the “personalized” videos, which will also be posted on the admissions website.

“The videos are conceived and created by the students as a way to make the videos more personal and serve as an introductory welcome to GW at these events,” Csellar said.

The videos will be about three minutes long and will be shown for the next two or three years, according to an email to the international students community that was obtained by The Hatchet.

GW aims to increase its international student population to 15 percent and 30 percent within undergraduate and graduate student bodies, respectively, by 2022. In March, officials said they were exploring ways to increase services, like career networking and visa processes, for international students.

“With students from more than 130 countries studying at GW, we hope that by getting a lot of students involved, international students who are considering studying at GW will be able to see and experience our vibrant campus community,” Csellar said.

Isaac Fuhrman, the associate director of the International Students Community, said the idea to make promotional videos with international student groups as a way to encourage international students choose GW has been in the works for a few years. The videos will be primarily target accepted students and will be shown at events for accepted students.

Each of the videos will focus on a different region from already international student-heavy areas like China and India and from growing regions like Africa, Fuhrman said.

“I think it is a great way to portray the different communities that we have at GW, especially to international students that are not really sure what they are going to find when they come to the U.S.,” Fuhrman said.

The group hasn’t decided what exactly the videos will include, but they will feature international communities within the University, Fuhrman said.

Student groups were asked to consider what they would have liked to know or see when deciding which university abroad to attend, he added.

Shahzeb Mirza, the co-president of the Pakistani Students’ Association and a student from Pakistan, said the videos can assure international students that they have a home at GW by providing the perspective of current international students.

“People coming directly from Pakistan, who have little international exposure, kind of go through a culture shock when they first come to the United States,” Mirza said.

Mirza said when he decided to come to GW three years ago he would have liked to watch a video about international student groups and events to help quell some of his fears of culture shock.

“I think having a video reassures you of the things GW has to offer. You know you can find a community within GW where you can settle and talk to people and celebrate your local and cultural events,” Mirza said. “Having a video reaffirms that.”

Lilly Liu, a member of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association who is in charge of coordinating one of the videos, said the video will feature students in various scenarios on campus – from studying to eating dinner together.

“In general, we try to convey the idea that people here study hard and play hard,” Liu said.

International students, especially those who face language barriers, should get a boost in confidence from the videos that show them what campus life is like, she said.

“I would really want someone with experience here to tell me how campus life is going to be so when I am really here, it wouldn’t have to be a totally unfamiliar place,” Liu said. “It takes a lot of courage to do so and it is not unusual for some of us to feel lonely.”

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