Memories cross thousands of miles

UWL International Student Advisor Miranda Panzer with the UW System Delegation, the Ministry of Education and high school administrators at Harbin No. 9 High School in Heilongjiang, China. During the trip, Panzer talked with middle school and high school students about college life and Wisconsin life.UWL International Student Advisor Miranda Panzer with the UW System Delegation, the Ministry of Education and high school administrators at Harbin No. 9 High School in Heilongjiang, China. During the trip, Panzer talked with middle school and high school students about college life and Wisconsin life.

Alumni connect in China as UWL looks to grow international alumni networks

UW-La Crosse makes up some of Alumnus Yang Liu’s best memories.

Whether conducting research on the river, working his part-time job at the campus dining center, participating in student organizations or making new friends from around the world, UWL created many wonderful moments.

Yang Liu, of DaQing Heilongjiang, China, ’12.

Yang Liu, of DaQing Heilongjiang, China, ’12, conducting undergraduate research on the river.

Although he graduated seven years ago and returned to his home country of China, he still remembers his alma mater well.

“Studying in La Crosse helped my English-speaking skills, helped me gain solid, basic science knowledge for my current work and also made me affluent in life stories,” says the May 2012 graduate.

Yang Liu, of DaQing Heilongjiang, China, ’12, second from left, with the UWL river studies research group. He encourages others to attend UWL. “You can make friends with people all over the world. Learn and respect different cultures. Broaden your horizon,” he says.

Yang Liu, of DaQing Heilongjiang, China, ’12, second from left, with the UWL river studies research group. He encourages others to attend UWL. “You can make friends with people all over the world. Learn and respect different cultures. Broaden your horizon,” he says.

UWL International Student Advisor Miranda Panzer says one of the most popular methods of international recruitment is alumni voices like Liu’s. International Education and Engagement (IEE) and Admissions would like to build UWL’s international alumni network and expand those voices to attract new international students to UWL. That was part of the goal of a recent trip Panzer made to China in April 13-24.

Prior to attending UWL, Liu had seen New York City and Hollywood. UWL was noticeably different. Not only were the buildings much shorter, the city was peaceful and full of friendly people.

“The first few weeks in school everyone was in high spirit and eager to make friends,” he recalls. “Everyone is smiling all the time.”

Because he missed La Crosse and its people, Liu was eager to connect with Panzer when he heard about her visit to China on WeChat, a Chinese messaging app.

UWL International Student Advisor Miranda Panzer connected with a group of alumni in Beijing, China. Panzer says UWL’s international alumni tend to form strong connections with one another that last.

UWL International Student Advisor Miranda Panzer connected with a group of alumni in Beijing, China. Panzer says UWL’s international alumni tend to form strong connections with one another that last.

Many alumni from China connect on the WeChat group. Several ended up meeting with Panzer during her visit to Beijing.

Panzer joined a UW delegation on the trip, which included UW-River Falls and the River Falls School District. The group aimed to discuss recruitment of degree-seeking students, as well as expand short-term programming and partnerships with Heilongjiang Province, Wisconsin’s sister state. The Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, a partner in organizing the trip, was interested in marketing international experiences throughout the province and building those partnerships.

UWL International Student Advisor Miranda Panzer looks at books in international department of a Chinese middle school with the delegation and upper level government officials connected to The Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China.

UWL International Student Advisor Miranda Panzer looks at books in international department of a Chinese middle school with the delegation and upper level government officials connected to The Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China.

“By visiting the high school and middle schools, I was able to talk about what life is like studying abroad in Wisconsin — planting that seed early,” says Panzer.

UWL International Student Advisor Miranda Panzer meets students at an elementary school in Heilongjiang Province.

UWL International Student Advisor Miranda Panzer meets students at an elementary school in Heilongjiang Province.

When connecting with prospective students, Panzer shares the natural beauty of the La Crosse area and the high-quality education at UWL, as well as opportunities to live on campus in residence halls with domestic students. She also shares information about UWL’s Global Buddy Program that matches domestic students, faculty and staff with international students and visiting scholars to create long-lasting international friendships.

More than half of UWL’s international students are from China, so Panzer also saw a great professional benefit in learning more about the language and culture of the country that the majority of international students come from.

Are you an international alum looking to connect?

Visit the International Education & Engagement Facebook page or International Alumni website to stay up to date with everything going on at UWL. Complete the following survey to keep in touch – https://uwlax.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3yHAkZXOizxFoTr. You can also contact the office directly to learn about programs and outreach opportunities at international@uwlax.edu.

Are you an international student looking to study at UWL?

Visit the UWL International Admissions website to learn more and ask questions.

Alumnus Yang Liu was involved in international student activities on campus including International Banquet. These activities allowed him to gain social skills, teamwork and presentation skills.

Alumnus Yang Liu was involved in international student activities on campus including International Banquet. These activities allowed him to gain social skills, teamwork and presentation skills.