Van Herzele and Blouw embark on recruitment trip to China

Tyler Van Herzele, Wilfrid Laurier University’s Students’ Union president, is embarking on an international leadership and recruitment trip to affiliated universities in China.

Travelling with him is Max Blouw, president and vice-chancellor of Laurier.

Peter Donahue, associate director of International Student Support, has been communicating with Van Herzele to discuss how there is a gap within international student leadership on campus.

Their discussion revolved around how they can explore the leadership gap and how the Students’ Union can better enhance the international student’s undergraduate experience at Laurier.

Chongqing University, a major comprehensive university in the municipality of Chongqing, located on the Yangtze River in Southwest China, is where the Laurier China office is located.

The Laurier office’s initial purpose is to work with the Canadian Consulate in Chongqing to broaden relationships with Laurier’s existing 18 partners in China and to pursue new opportunities.

“The trip will be from the March 21- April 4 [sic], so it’s a pretty tight turn around there,” Van Herzele said.

“The itinerary is packed, everyday we are going to new areas, speaking to different groups.”

“We aren’t really staying in one place too long. It’s going to be really fast-paced and [an] informative trip to say the least.”

Van Herzele also said the trip will allow for an exclusive look into the specific kinds of leadership styles that Chinese students have and how to better engage them in Laurier-related activities.

This will also encourage international students to choose Laurier for their Canadian university experience because of their large focus on leadership and large international office. The purpose of many Laurier Initiatives is to enhance recruitment efforts, but this trip deals with a lot of leadership education as well.

Van Herzele also explained how recruitment is always a focus but speaking about leadership is also a major focus on this trip.

“My purpose to go, in part, is recruitment. I am a student. I get to speak to my experiences [and] help students make a decision.”

“But I get to take the knowledge I’ve earned from the trip and apply it back to the students,” he said.

“Recruitment is always [the] purpose of the trip, so the more the name of the institution gets out, it’s a great opportunity.”

Van Herzele later expanded upon how many student leaders in China come to Laurier and do not get as involved as Laurier International and the Students’ Union would hope.

“By sharing my own personal leadership experience, I can gage what their leadership style is like compared to what I might see to a domestic student in Canada.”

This will be to further engage in conversations with Laurier International and the Students’ Union about how they can accommodate international students into becoming part of the leadership community and enhancing their overall experience.

“In talks with Peter and Ben Yang from Laurier International, we identified that there is a large difference in the leadership styles which might be part of the barrier that exists when those international students come to Canada,” Van Herzele said.Nathalie

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