President and international programs director join Governor’s trade mission to Korea and Taiwan

October 19, 2006

Lacey, Washington—Recognizing the value international students bring to the Saint Martin’s University campus, Dr. Douglas Astolfi, University president, and Josephine Yung, associate vice president and director of international programs, are participating in Governor Gregoire’s trade mission to Korea and Taiwan. The two are among a delegation of Washington executives en route to Seoul and Jeonju, South Korea and Taipei, Taiwan October 13 -22, 2006.

“Students we enroll from the Far East add tremendously to our institution,” states Astolfi. “These students are academically serious, add to the cultural diversity of our student population and allow our students to learn about other cultures and countries. The reality is, most of our students will not have the opportunity to study abroad,” he says. “Far Eastern students bring with them a glimpse of international cultural issues. This global perspective is extremely important,” Astolfi notes, “since today’s students are tomorrow’s world and business leaders.”

Yung cites Saint Martin’s long tradition in student, faculty and cultural exchange programs with Far Eastern countries, “We view welcoming foreign students to our campus as a means to implement the Benedictine concept of hospitality. For more than 20 years, Saint Martin’s has fostered business exchange programs, study abroad and internship opportunities for its students in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and Korea.”

The trade mission’s goal is to open doors for new investment into Washington State. For higher education institutions, this means recruiting foreign students. To do so, representatives will work to solidify or establish partnerships with schools, faculty members and parents of college-age students.

Astolfi primary objective is to sign formal exchange agreements facilitating Saint Martin’s efforts to bring more students from Korea and Taiwan to its Lacey campus. He will also meet with vice presidents and deans at schools in Korea and Taiwan with the goal of enriching and expanding visiting faculty exchange programs to further internationalize Saint Martin students’ educational experience.

Secondly, Astolfi hopes to meet with the parents of students currently enrolled at the University. “We want to build relationships with families on a personal level. It takes courage to send your 18- or 19-year-old son or daughter half way around the world to another country for a university education, “ he notes. “It’s critical for us to hear their concerns and to reassure them about their student’s experience on our campus.”

Thirdly, Astolfi will forge relationships with other Washington colleges and universities to cooperatively support efforts to bring Far Eastern students to our state. “By virtue of geographic proximity, Washington institutions are ideally situated to serve these students. By building relationships between ourselves we can enhance the experience for all foreign students on Washington’s campuses,” he says.

Currently Saint Martin’s University has exchange partnerships with Shanghai Maritime University and Wuhan Technical University in China and three universities in Japan. Opportunities are provided for Chinese students and faculty to come to Saint Martin’s and the University sends SMU faculty to teach in programs in China. In addition, Saint Martin’s students participate in business internships in Shanghai and Hong Kong and educational exchange trips and study programs in both China and Japan. Traditional study abroad programs are also offered in a number of countries around the world.

Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 22 majors and six graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education and engineering. A Catholic, Benedictine university, Saint Martin’s welcomes 1,100 students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey, Washington main campus, and 600 more to three extension campuses.

For more information:

Anne Kirske
Interim communication director
360-486-8857
akirske@stmartin.edu