By Jaynita Maru
Wayne Lee-Ying is the new Associate Director, International Initiatives and International Student Support. Through this position, Wayne focuses on the internal and external aspects of the Augustana life in relation to the international community.
Externally, Wayne works to build relationships with universities on an international platform by finding ways of mutually exchanging educational pursuits. Some of Wayne’s international initiatives include bringing various international groups on campus for programming purposes, and building a bridge between Augustana and universities in China for them to deliver instruction in English with the help of Augustana resources. This can include student and/or professor exchange programs for mutual learning experiences that bring communities from diverse cultures to the same platform. The external aspect brings value and quality to the educational experience for students and professors, and also generates revenue for both Augustana and the international universities. Such unique experiences can help develop communication and critical thinking skills that are paramount for the scholar’s toolkit along with bringing a deep sense of humility and understanding for both parties.
Wayne described that although it is not easy to be physically disconnected from international universities, time and patience do help building solid, long lasting relations with them. According to him, when interacting with Chinese universities, understanding ‘guanxi’ or the central Chinese idea of personal networks of influence is of utmost importance. The appreciation of guanxi has created a space for mutual trust and appreciation towards the different educational systems of Augustana and other universities.
Apart from the external affairs, Wayne seeks to make student life better for current international students as well. This is part of the retention plan to have international students continue at Augustana through to graduation. Wayne works with organizations within Augustana such as Residence Life, Student Services, and English as a Second Language placements. Student retention can be greatly increased by bringing services from this diverse range of groups to one platform. Thus far, Wayne has reported that “[although] the services in place are working well” he is also looking for incentives for international students to stay in Camrose during the summer so as to transition them into their next academic year with ease.
According to Wayne, “Augustana is like a global village that brings people from many countries to one location. Instead of travelling thousands of miles to experience a certain culture, you can have your own integrative experience here at Augustana.” Overall, this helps not only the Augustana community, but the Camrose community too.
International students bring in a diverse range of ideas and can challenge the status quo. By bringing in international students, the Camrose community can learn a great deal about cultures and traditions from other countries. International students, on the other hand, learn about the integrative Canadian culture that the Augustana and Camrose communities are always happy to share.
You can reach Wayne with questions at email@example.com