UMass Amherst and Area Colleges Host Overseas Educational AdvisersFrom October 30 to November 5, 2007, a group of 5 EducationUSA advisers (Georgia, Germany, Mexico, Philippines, and Thailand) visited several colleges and universities in western Massachusetts. The advisers were participating in the U.S.-based training program for Overseas Educational Advisers (USBT) which is supported financially by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State under the authority of the Fulbright-Hays Act of 1961, as amended. The program is administered by the College Board.
The College Board works with local higher education institutions to arrange campus visits for advisers at four sites around the United States. These visits form the second component of a three-week professional training program which includes a stay in Washington, D.C., to meet with officials of agencies involved in international education, and ends with attendance at an international education conference to meet U.S. college and university administrators.
EducationUSA advisers are posted at U.S. Embassy Public Affairs offices, Fulbright Commissions, local universities and bi-national centers to help foreign students learn about higher education in the United States. There are about 450 overseas advising centers in the EducationUSA network worldwide, affiliated with the U.S. Department of State. (Learn more at the website http://educationusa.state.gov.) Last year nearly 600,000 international students were enrolled in accredited U.S. higher education institutions, enhancing the diversity of our classrooms and communities while contributing to the local economy and balance of trade.
Richard Yam, coordinator of the program for University of Massachusetts Amherst, arranged the itinerary for the advisers who visited the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Smith College, Amherst College, Mount Holyoke College, Hampshire College, Greenfield Community College, and the Springfield area colleges including Springfield College, American International College, Western New England College, and Elms College. The campus visit program was more than simply a tour of area institutions. Advisers discussed the admissions process with campus officials, as well as orientation and other programs available to foreign students and scholars. They also met faculty, students and staff to gain a picture of current trends and practices on American campuses. The advisers will also serve as resources to the institutions they visit, by reporting on their home country educational systems, policies and academic training needs and responding to American questions and concerns about international student admissions and orientation.