Each fall, thousands of admissions personnel pack their suitcases with business attire, fill their travel bags with college recruitment materials and set off to high schools, college fairs, and meetings with high school counselors. At UF, we have representatives throughout the country visiting students throughout Florida, Texas, California, Illinois, Maryland, New York, and many other states. Then you have myself and my colleagues. Each year, when we get ready to travel, we are tasked with booking long distance flights, emailing high school counselors to set up visits, and preparing our passports to travel abroad with the goal of bringing in a wide range of international students to enrich our campus with varying perspectives and global diversity.

Over the past three months, my colleagues and I have been to a combined 20 countries and almost 35 cities. We have flown nearly 50,000 miles, met thousands of potential students, ate amazing international cuisine and lived out of suitcases for close to a month. If you were ask me and my colleagues if it is worth it, each and every one of us would say yes! Our job isn’t always easy. We are tasked with recruiting international students to come study at UF in order to help diversify UF and make UF a more global campus. We do this by asking students to move thousands of miles away from their families, and to move to a country some may never have visited before and join The Gator Nation.

So who is the International Admissions Team and where do they recruit? Currently, we have a staff of three who are responsible for every level of international students, but we primarily recruit undergraduates.

Aysha Wong is responsible for Latin America and the Caribbean. This year she visited almost a dozen countries in the region ranging from Chile to Trinidad and from Columbia to Costa Rica. Aysha spent several weeks on the ground meeting with potential students and family members to grow our Latin American and Caribbean populations on campus.

Fanny Wong traveled the farthest away this year and made stops in Japan, China, India, and several other South Eastern Asian counties. Some of Fanny’s flights were over 16 hours in length, but she loved every minute of it because she could share the Gator Good!

I, Matthew Lisko, recruit in Europe. This year I took a hop across the pond and went to high schools and colleges fairs in the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, and Spain.

Next time you are on campus, take a look around to see how UF is becoming more of a global campus. My colleagues and I believe that it is our duty to bring higher education to every corner of the world and make it possible for everyone to have the opportunity to experience the Gator Nation. It doesn’t matter if you meet one of us in Miami or Madrid, we will share the Gator spirit with you and help you on your journey to becoming a Gator!