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Memorial University welcomes Zimbabwe students

By Jill Hunt

Shona Perry-Maidment, director, Office of Student Recruitment, recently travelled to Zimbabwe to participate in recruitment fairs and a pre-departure orientation for students coming to Memorial this year. The visit also included individual meetings with students and parents to provide academic and transitional guidance for those interested in studying in Canada and attending Memorial.

This fall, Memorial University is home to 62 Zimbabwean students.
Memorial started seeing an increase in the number of Zimbabwean students when the Office of Student Recruitment started working with Vee Link Consultancy in 2004. Violet Matani, director of Vee Link Consultancy, has worked closely with the Office of Student Recruitment to promote Memorial to prospective students of Zimbabwe.

"The feedback I get from students is very positive," said Ms. Matani. "The students appreciate the amount of support from the university staff. There is an immediate sense of belonging to the university community."

"It is extremely rewarding to see the hard work that our office, in partnership with other campus partners, has done in markets like Zimbabwe pay off," said Ms. Perry-Maidment. "To stand in front of a group of 50 prospective students at the pre-departure orientation for Canada and know that almost half of those students are coming to Memorial is gratifying. Memorial University is clearly the university of choice among these students."

Ms. Perry-Maidment continues to say that much of the success of these students coming to Memorial is largely due to the relationship it has with Ms. Mantani. She is an enthusiastic supporter of Memorial University.

Zimbabwean students have made their mark on both the St. John's and Grenfell campuses by working and volunteering in various units across the campuses, including in the Office of Student Recruitment, varsity athletics, the English as a Second Language office, the library, Student Affairs and Services and the International Student Advising office (ISA), to name just a few.

"The Zimbabwean students have added a great deal to student life at Memorial and the ISA office is always delighted to welcome new arrivals," said Sonja Knutson, manager, International Student Advising and acting director, International Centre. "They are academically and socially prepared for the experience of studying overseas and building new friendships and networks in our community. We hope to continue to welcome increasing numbers of Zimbabwean students to our classrooms, clubs and societies and work places here on campus."

Evelyn Nyamandi, a Zimbabwe student studying biochemistry, says the decision to come to Memorial was an easy one. Ms. Nyamandi first learned of Memorial University through Ms. Matani.

"One of the deciding factors for choosing Memorial was the fellow Zimbabwean student community that already existed here," said Ms. Nyamandi. "That Zimbabwean community is my family away from home. And that sense of family makes it easier to get involved in campus activities. I've had work and volunteer opportunities with International Student Advising, the International Centre and the Office of Student Recruitment and these opportunities have been extremely valuable to me."

The Office of Student Recruitment has visited Zimbabwe four times, and each time it has been a proven success. Prospective students get to meet Memorial representatives firsthand to find out what Memorial has to offer and get any questions they may have answered.

In 2003, Memorial had one student enrolled from Zimbabwe. In 2010, there were 47 students enrolled.