IPO sees record recruitment

Erika Kraus (right) meets with Bahamian Prime Minitser Philip Davis (center), Photo Courtesy of Erika Kraus

By Christopher Gillett

The International Programs Office at Youngstown State University has recruited a record number of international students this fall semester.

There are roughly 1,000 international students attending YSU coming from six different continents. The two largest countries represented at the university are Nepal and India, respectively.

The IPO has stationed YSU representatives to Nepal and Vietnam, while also sending many of its staff across the globe to recruit students.

Erika Kraus, assistant director of International Admissions and Recruitment, has traveled to the Bahamas several times on recruiting missions. Kraus said it is an honor to recruit students for the university.

“It really is an honor to represent YSU and meet with prospective students and families. My favorite part is getting to meet new students, build relationships with them, learn what they want to study, see what they’re excited about and hopefully find a good fit for them,” Kraus said.

During a trip Kraus took in the summer, she had the opportunity to meet with Bahamian Prime Minister Philip Davis and recruitment staff from other universities. Kraus said it was an unforgettable honor.

“I actually had the opportunity to talk to him, shake his hand … It was truly an honor to meet with them and share about YSU with the head of the government of the country. That was truly an unforgettable experience,” Kraus said.

YSU partners with the Charlotte Knowles-Thompson Education Agency in its Bahamian recruitment when planning and attending events in the country. 

Joe D’Amato, associate director of International Student Services, has traveled to Vietnam and China to recruit students. D’Amato said it taught valuable lessons about student’s experiences.

“Having that opportunity to meet students in their home countries is a really valuable experience, and I also think it gives perspective about the student experience and how much it takes to study abroad,” D’Amato said. “It’s very important to put yourself in students’ shoes, to be patient and understanding. Empathy is such an important quality for anybody working in international programs.”

D’Amato also said he enjoys watching the progress of international students studying at YSU.

“I’ve had just great experiences seeing students, maybe on their first day on campus, and then you see them four or six years later once they complete their programs. If they study a masters program you just see their success,” D’Amato said.

Nicholas DuBos, coordinator of International Student Services, has traveled to Argentina to represent the university and plans events for international students at YSU and throughout the local area. DuBos said the IPO does these events to enrich students’ time abroad.

“It’s so important when students come here that we welcome them. We want this to be one of the most amazing experiences of their life and so we want them to love the university, love the region, and so we challenge them on making a difference and getting involved,” DuBos said.

The IPO runs events such as International Coffee Hour, a twice-monthly event open to all. The IPO also organizes trips for students to local events like the Canfield Fair.

For those interested in learning more about International Coffee Hour and other IPO events, reach out to DuBos at [email protected].