Gonzaga University has partnered with Shorelight Education in efforts to enhance their international education program and increase admission of international students. 

Shorelight Education is a recruitment service based in Boston that focuses on recruiting international students and giving them a positive experience studying in a new country. 

GU has been working diligently the past couple of years to increase the attendance of international students on campus by making things as smooth as possible, socially as well as fiscally. 

In an email to the GU community on Oct. 7, Provost and Senior Vice President Deena González said that this partnership is meant to create a “Global Gonzaga” that will allow GU to be diversified and bring in more multicultural perspectives.

Julie McCulloh, associate provost for enrollment management, was in charge of leading the decision making process for which program would be a better fit for the goals GU is trying to achieve as far as international student engagement. 

“Gonzaga seeks a student body that is diverse in perspective and experience, and able to engage globally," González said. "Having Shorelight Education’s assistance in recruiting internationally will allow us to bring more international students to Gonzaga, and open up opportunities for international careers and experiences.”

The global aspect of the GU experience is very important to students and administration because of the positive reputation GU has had for many years. 

This is in line with the GU Mission Statement due to the promise that it makes to contribute to the development of students in multiple ways. 

“Partnering with Shorelight Education is part of an overall picture to help Gonzaga enhance our international initiatives," McCulloh said. "Over the next few years, Gonzaga is working on an Academic Strategic Plan and a Campus Internationalization Plan, both of which will examine Gonzaga’s commitment to international work.”

This will help the Center for Global Engagement (CGE) give international students the smoothest transition possible, ideally making it easier for them to check off all of their boxes when they decide that GU is a good place for them to pursue their education. 

Richard Menard, senior international officer and the director at CGE, sees this as a positive contribution to GU’s undergraduate and graduate student bodies.

“In the years from about 2010 to 2012, the international program was doing really well, but the last couple of years it has been dissipating,” Menard said. 

Typically, GU hosts students from 115 countries including Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Australia and Ethiopia, but things have begun to change. 

The coronavirus, among other factors, is a substantial reason as to why it has been harder to recruit international students this year compared to the past. 

“A number of students didn’t come back because of the pandemic, but I feel that those who did come back chose to do so because they loved the support that the Gonzaga community offers,” Menard said. 

GU isn’t the only university that has been having a hard time keeping numbers up in this area. There has been a big struggle for many universities when it comes to recruiting international students these days and it's turned into a bit of a competition.  

Menard said that many governments have changed their scholarships for students who pursue education in the United States and there has been a lot of work on behalf of the staff to make the legal side of things easier. 

With the help of Shorelight Education, GU’s reputation as a culturally diverse campus will only begin to grow. 

“We’re really excited about this opportunity that will allow Gonzaga to be more of a global campus," Menard said. "Gonzaga really values the lens that international students bring into the academic side of things.” 

There are many resources on campus that will contribute to the quality of the experience for students coming from abroad. 

The email from González said that the English Language Center is highly effective and will be an important part in this process of growing the global community and providing students with assistance in the transition to their academic journey in the United States. 

There will be international students entering GU’s academic curriculum in the spring semester either here in Spokane or virtually, courtesy of Shorelight’s online education program American Collegiate Live.

Kayla Friedrich is a staff writer. Follow her on Twitter: @friedrich_kayla. 

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