In a 12/09 post (State Int’l Education Consortia: Strength in Unity) I discussed the establishment of state higher education consortia as a means of branding a particular state and its higher education system, and recruiting more international students. One that I didn’t mention is StudyMaine, which was created by the Maine International Trade Center (MITC) and went live on 22 September. Its attractive and user-friendly website features sections are devoted to: 2 Year Colleges/Specialty Programs, 4 Year Colleges & Universities, High Schools & Academies, Graduate Programs, English as a Second Language and Summer Programs.
Why Maine? From the famed lighthouses of the coast to the inland mountains and forest, and the cities and small towns, there is truly something in Maine for everyone. Music festivals, the arts, skiing and other outdoor activities make Maine a wonderful place to visit or to live, as the website points out.
According to the 2009 Open Doors State Fact Sheet for Maine (PDF), the state ranks 46th in the U.S. with 1,256 international students who contributed $31.2 million to the state economy. Nearly half are from Canada, China, India, South Korea and Saudi Arabia – in that order. 391, or one-third, attend the University of Maine-Orono.
In a report released in September 2010 by MITC entitled Vietnam: Attracting Foreign Students to Maine the authors note that The position of the United States as a potential study abroad destination for Vietnamese students is currently very strong compared to other possible destinations. (p. 14)
Here are some other state consortia websites, in addition to the ones I included in my original post. If you know of others, please let me know.
Here is a comment sent to me by a young Vietnamese professional who studied at the University of Maine-Orono, graduated in 2007 and is now working in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC):
I always wanted to be in New England because I believed that it provided great opportunities for me to learn and absorb U.S. culture. Fortunately, my scholarship sent me to Maine. I remember my first day when I arrived in Portland. I could not be more tired and lackadaisical after the first 24 hour flight of my life. However, the mystical landscape that filled with green and fresh air took all of my exhaustion away. I had never ever seen a real forest growing up in such a chaotic city like Saigon and, all of a sudden, I was surrounded by numerous old trees, charming valleys and placid rivers.
I started falling in love with Maine more and more every time I went for a jog, biked around the coast, stumbled in the snow, and slipped on the ice. But life goes on and I also have to go on. I left Maine in 2007 and started to work in many different big cities, but kept wishing to visit Maine again one day. After three years, I managed to go back and visit last September. I experienced the most amazing memories and flashbacks. I have changed quite a bit but Maine remains the same with its natural beauty. It is absolutely “the way life should be.” If you have a chance, come to Bar Harbor or Mount Desert Island and you will understand my appreciation for Maine. (Yến)