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International educators visit Ohio University as part of tour led by OHIO graduate

Published: July 13, 2022 Author: Staff reports

Ohio University hosted 11 international education counselors in June, thanks in a large part to an OHIO graduate who organized the trip.

The educators, including one principal and nine career and guidance counselors from high schools in India, Mauritius and United Arab Emirates, are part of The Global Educator Program (TGEP), which provides secondary school counselors with the opportunity to learn about the U.S. university system and tour college campuses. 

Syed Jamal, who graduated from Ohio University in 2010 and led the recent visit, co-founded Collegey, the edtech company through which TGEP is offered. Jamal studied in the Communication and Development Studies program in OHIO’s Center for International studies, where he earned a master’s degree in international affairs and learned a lot from the Athens community.

“My intention was to showcase the OHIO community to our cohort members in hopes that they would take a small part of it back to their home countries,” he said.

TGEP works with high school counselors and school leaders from around the world and offers them global learning and professional development opportunities to empower the student counseling profession. The development opportunities include visits to colleges and universities in the U.S. and other countries to learn more about the institutions. 

“These experiences allow the counselors to be the eyes and ears for their students, who will likely be unable to visit college campuses in the U.S. before choosing a place to study,” said Vicki Seefeldt West, associate director for international admissions at OHIO.

During this summer’s tour, the TGEP group visited 34 colleges and universities across the U.S.

The members of The Global Educator Program are shown in an OHIO classroom
The members of The Global Educator Group toured Ohio University classrooms during their visit.

“It’s been very enjoyable visiting Ohio University,” said Dr. Sonia Soni from the Aditya Birla World Academy in Mumbai, India. Several students from her institution have enrolled at Ohio University in the past, Soni said. 

As the head career guidance counselor and a member of the psychology faculty, Soni said visiting OHIO and other U.S. universities will help her have more informed conversations with the students and parents who come to her to discuss college opportunities.

Soni was impressed with the experiential learning opportunities available at OHIO, and she was also pleased to see the University facilities and talk to members of the OHIO community.

During the visit, the counselors met with a wide range of OHIO personnel, including representatives from International Student and Scholar Services, Undergraduate Admissions, Housing and Residence Life, and the Center for Advising, Career and Experiential Learning. These meetings allowed them to learn about scholarships, experiential learning opportunities, international student programming, student employment and activities, career services and alumni connections, and even the programs and activities that help students adjust to college life and feel at home at Ohio University. 

The counselors also toured campus and visited Copeland Hall, Scripps Hall (including the new Bobcat Esports Arena and the GRID Lab), a residence hall and the Baker University Center.

The members of The Global Educator Program are shown in the GRID Lab
The members of The Global Educator Group also toured the GRID Lab during their time at OHIO.

The visit also allowed OHIO representatives to get to know the international advisors more, establish new connections and learn more about the questions that international students and their families are asking about colleges and universities in the U.S.

“Having that personal relationship makes a big difference for the advisors, the families and for Ohio University,” Seefeldt West said. “This visit was very beneficial, and having Syed lead the tour was a truly a special way for an alum to give back to their alma mater.”