An introduction to our regional offices
The international market is now a fiercely competitive arena for university student recruitment. Universities across Europe, Australia, North America and latterly the Middle East and Asia battle for the attention of international students as the value of gaining an overseas education increases. The international student body at the University of Wolverhampton is increasing year on year and the work of the international regional offices has made a significant contribution to the success of overseas recruitment and other international activities.
The University has five regional offices located in China, India, Nigeria, Malaysia and Poland and their roles are to give advice on administrative and academic matters, including information about the courses, bursaries and scholarships.
Where applicable, the offices can assist with the visa application process and make arrangements for prospective students to talk to University staff. They also provide information about what life is like at the University of Wolverhampton for the prospective student and their families. Established in 2002, the South-East Asia Regional Office (SEARO) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is the most established office. Headed by Bee Bee Gan this office acts as a contact and support point for all University activities in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and other countries in the region.
The South Asia Regional Office (SARO) in New Delhi, India was set up in 2005 to build the University of Wolverhampton brand name in India, Sri-Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh. Managed by Pragyat Singh, this office has increased eight-fold the numbers of students studying at the University from this subcontinent.
Pragyat explains: “SARO has managed to build a brand for the University symbolising British education which earlier only related to Oxford, Cambridge or the London School of Economics.”
On a regional level, SARO also played a major role in the success of the Wolverhampton-India Project, which aims to strengthen existing links and open up new opportunities in education, trade and culture.
Eze Osita is Head of the West and Central Africa Regional Office (WACARO) in Abuja, Nigeria, which was established in June 2007. However, it is not Eze’s first encounter with the University as his uncle studied here in the 1970s. The University of Wolverhampton is now one of the most popular universities in Nigeria and at the end of last year Eze was honoured with a Great African Merit Award in recognition of his contribution to education. Eze adds: “All students known to me are happy studying at the University and always do well in their profession here.”
The China Regional Office (CRO) opened in August 2007. Gao Dongbo (Jeffrey), Head of CRO, is the key liaison between the University and Chinese partners and prospective students. A key role for CRO is engaging with the parents of prospective students, who normally do not speak very good English. Parents are the key decision maker for their children and CRO is well trusted by them, so much so some students have decided to study at Wolverhampton rather than other universities from which they had already received offers.
The Central European Regional Office (CERO) was also established in August 2007 in Torun, Poland. The office, headed by Anna Czuba, acts as a contact and support point for all University activities in Central Europe including Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and the Baltic States. This year CERO has introduced Patronage Agreements, an agreement between Polish secondary schools and the University. CERO has already formed agreements with four secondary schools and more have expressed interest.
Anna believes the regional offices have a role to play in the success of the University in the UK and overseas. She says: “In my opinion regional offices are very important for the University. Not only do they provide a high standard service in the native language of the country they are present in, but they also raise the profile of the University.”
Through the relentless work of the regional offices and the pre-arrival and induction support provided by the International Office, the University continues to attract a high volume of international students.
Jo Gittens, Director, International, is proud of the success of the regional offices and the tremendous service they offer students and their families who want to find out more about the University of Wolverhampton. Jo also recognises the value of having strong links in the countries where the students live. She says: “In this competitive marketplace the regional offices play an even greater role in sustaining the recruitment of international students, as well as partnership development and nurturing and seeking opportunities for, and facilitating developments in, transnational education.
“Once here, our international students play an important role in the diversity and atmosphere of the University.”
For more information about the University of Wolverhampton’s International Office, visit www.wlv.ac.uk/international