In December 2017, Christina Chong Tsen Ye joined the Central Wyoming College admissions team to increase efforts to recruit more international students to CWC. Since she has started, applications for enrollment for international students have increased from six in June of 2017 to more than 65 in May of 2018, with more applicants coming in each week. The goal is to enroll at least 20 percent of these applicants this year.
“I am really excited about being in Wyoming,” Chong said. “It is a very historical place and it feels a bit like home. I like wildlife and nature, and look forward to bringing international students to explore and learn more about Riverton.”
Chong, who was born and raised in a rural island city called Kota Kinabalu, Sabah in Malaysia, speaks four different languages; English, Mandarin, Cantonese and Malay. As an international student herself, attending Grand Valley State University in Michigan, Chong brings experience, knowledge and understanding of the international student process to the CWC admissions team.
“For an international student to come to the US to attend college, they must start the process at least six months to one year prior to attending school,” Chong said. “It involves applying for their visa, obtaining appropriate documentation, applying for financial aid, and endless paperwork. It is a very complex process that takes patience and excellent communication between the recruiter and the student.”
Chong’s job not only includes recruiting students but also helping them through the admissions process, and is constantly communicating with students to help them with the process.
CWC’s goal for the international recruiter position and the program is to recruit students from a variety of regions in the world. Currently she is working with 19 students from 10 different countries who are actively working on getting their visas approved.
President Brad Tyndall said, this initiative is particularly important to the culture at CWC and overall college experience for students.
“We strive to provide an enriching college experience for our students with diverse and vibrant relationships for them,” Tyndall said. “Having international students on our campus provides an amazing experience for our local students. I remember my college days. Some of my richest learning came outside of the classroom from roommates I had from Taiwan, Thailand and Hong Kong.”
Chong said that one of the most difficult transitions for international students is to learn to be a part of the local community when they first arrive. It can be a difficult time as they grow accustomed to finding services and navigating a new culture. Part of CWC’s initiative is to help the international students be submerged in the Wyoming culture while introducing their culture to Wyoming.
“We have discussed approaching families and businesses in the community who would be interested in getting involved with the international students through the multi-cultural club or activities to welcome them to the community as a way to introduce them to Fremont County,” Chong said.
If community members are interested in being involved in these efforts they can contact Chong at 855-2221 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Any thoughts, ideas, or contributions are encouraged.