ECU participates in international educational trade mission
(Apr. 8, 2011)
East Carolina University was one of 56 colleges and universities participating this week in an educational trade mission to Indonesia and Vietnam, led by Francisco Sánchez, under secretary of Commerce for International Trade.
Jim Gehlhar, associate vice chancellor for international affairs, represented ECU on the trip, April 2-8. It was the Obama Administration’s first education services trade mission to Jakarta, Indonesia, and Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Vietnam.
The trip explored opportunities for international student recruitment and partnerships with higher education institutions in Indonesia and Vietnam. More than 20,000 students from these two countries attend U.S. colleges and universities.
“Education is one of our most valuable exports,” Sánchez said. “The schools participating in this mission represent the best of what America has to offer international students.”
Education and training rank among the top 10 U.S. services exports. Tuition and living expenses from international students and their families brought in nearly $19 billion to the U.S. economy during the 2009-10 academic year, according to information from the International Trade Administration.
Closer to home, Gehlhar said estimates show that each international student in North Carolina contribute a net of $23,000 each year to the state’s economy. Guilford College in Greensboro was the other North Carolina school invited to participate.
“ECU has often gone abroad to recruit international student but this will be the first time on a government-sponsored mission,” Gehlhar said.
“ECU and the region benefit not only from the out-of-state tuition dollars that each student from abroad brings but also from the diversity it brings to our classrooms, helping prepare our students to function competently in the global economy,” he said.
The trade mission trip was slated to include education section briefings and a student fair at each of the three stops with additional matchmaking and networking sessions with local schools and faculty members.
Indonesia and Vietnam are two key export markets for U.S. companies. Expanding educational opportunities for their students provides direct benefits to U.S. companies doing business with these markets in the future.
Gehlhar noted that with this educational mission, ECU plans to establish relationships in Indonesia and Vietnam that will bring international students to ECU’s campus and that will create cooperative activities between ECU and universities in those countries.