Celebrating International Education Week 2021

International Education Week (IEW) 2021, November 15-19, is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide.  This joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education strives to prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences.

MITC’s StudyMaine initiative promotes Maine as an education destination to potential students, parents, and education agents around the world.

“I came to Maine as an international student before there was a World Wide Web where you could easily research educational institutions, compare different academic programs and campuses, etc.  I was just focusing on the easiest locations on the East Coast to fly to and from my home in Istanbul. I found University of Maine’s Machias campus in a college guidebook by chance. The school offered a tuition waiver based on my SAT scores and sent me a brochure showing the natural beauty of Maine where students were cross-country skiing, canoeing, and such, which looked wonderful and exciting for an urban child like me. 

Coming to Maine as an international student ended up being one of the best decisions I made, as I received a wonderful education in a supportive and safe community.  After my undergraduate studies, I was able to work as a Resident Director on campus at UMaine Orono and earned my MBA without any out-of-pocket expenses.  I always tell students, parents, and education agents who I meet overseas that Maine is a wonderful education destination with a very safe, supportive, and connected environment. Due to the smallness of the state’s population, it is easier to tap into opportunities here whether graduate programs, internships, or jobs.  Additionally, we are only a couple of hours away from major cities such as Boston or Montreal.

In my role as Director of StudyMaine at MITC, I can really relate to the dilemmas of students and parents who are trying to make the best decisions for their future. I am very confident in recommending Maine because I walked in their steps and ultimately was able to get a quality education and find great job opportunities in Maine, where I am proud to call home.”

– Zeynep Turk, Director of StudyMaine and Senior Trade Specialist, Maine International Trade Center

Welcoming international students offers many benefits, some of which are more easily measurable. More than 2,000 international students contribute an estimated $80-$100 million annually to Maine’s economy. Education is Maine’s 6th top export. Equally if not more important than these economic impacts are the longer-term benefits to Maine students, educational institutions, and communities such as increased diversity and global perspectives which these students bring. For example, American students who directly interact with international students are more likely to read or speak a foreign language; appreciate art, music, literature of different cultures; and view current problems in historical context.

As we celebrate International Education Week, we’re pleased to introduce you to several international students who currently or recently called Maine home at one of our member schools. Our thanks to Thornton Academy, Southern Maine Community College, Maine Central Institute, University of Maine, and Washington Academy.

“Thornton Academy’s international student population represents 32 different countries from around the world.  This cultural diversity adds a broader, more real-world perspective and understanding throughout our school and local communities. The economic impact of international students to our school, community, and state is important as well. Enrolling outstanding students from around the globe results in positive contributions that reach far beyond our school and make this a truly rewarding profession for our staff.”

Clint M. Williams, Director of Enrollment, Thornton Academy (Saco, ME)

Student Spotlight: Daniel Tillias

Daniel Tillias is earning a Human Services degree not just for himself, but also — and most importantly — for the children of his homeland of Haiti.

Courtesy of Southern Maine Community College

Meet Miona Knezevic, Serbia, Class of 2023 – Courtesy of Maine Central Institute

“International students and scholars are a crucial part of the fabric of UMaine. They bring a diversity of experience and breadth of knowledge that is part of the success of the university. UMaine is lucky to be home to more than 500 international students and scholars from across the globe that come to Orono to study English, conduct research, and engage in Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD studies.”

Lucy Sommo, Director of International Recruitment, University of Maine

Solomon Iluyomade: Banking internship benefits

Solomon “Solly” Iluyomade, a MaineMBA student from London, England, spent the summer as a product management and digital banking intern at Bangor Savings Bank.

Abdelrhman Attia: Compassion, support draws student from Egypt to UMaine

An initial email from the University of Maine’s Office of International Programs helped seal the deal for Abdelrhman Attia to study at the University of Maine.

Homecoming Parade, Letoussa Mutavu, Rwanda, Class of 2024; Amikarn Pervongchareon, Thailand, Class of 2023; Iria Mendez, Spain, Class of 2023; Fiamma Nitti, Italy, Class of 2022; Eugenie Delattre, France, Class of 2022 (Courtesy of Washington Academy)