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Forging relationships

Memorial continues to be destination for Zimbabwean students

By Jill Hunt

It’s been more than 10 years since Memorial welcomed its first student from Zimbabwe.

Back in 2004, with undergraduate international recruitment on the rise for Memorial, the Office of Student Recruitment took Memorial’s lead in student outreach in the small, landlocked South African country.

Proactive outreach

Memorial was one of the first Canadian universities to see this market’s potential, and it all started with a local recruiting agency assisting on the ground in Zimbabwe in proactive student recruitment outreach.

From left are Amina Mayeka, Asante Mayeka, Norgaitgy Mayeka and Zawadi Mayeka at convocation Oct. 20.
From left are Amina Mayeka, graduate Asante Mayeka, Norgaitgy Mayeka and Zawadi Mayeka at convocation Oct. 20.
Photo: Chris Hammond

Shona Perry-Maidment, director, Office of Student Recruitment, spearheads Memorial’s recruitment efforts in Zimbabwe. She recently returned from a recruitment mission.

“When meeting with Zimbabwean students and parents, I am quickly reminded that the basics of recruiting students is the same everywhere,” she said. “Be honest. Be informative. Be authentic. Recruitment is much more than numbers. It is about speaking the truth about your university.

“Recruiting students is about building relationships between the prospective undergraduate students and their parents and your school and its representative.”

Special day for families

At Memorial’s fall convocation ceremonies on Oct. 20, Zimbabwean student Asante Mayeka will graduate with a bachelor of business administration. Mr. Mayeka is one of three siblings that have studied or are studying here at Memorial. He’s also fortunate enough to have his mom here with him during this special occasion.

“Because my sister studied here before me, and my family having met with Ms. Shona on past recruitment visits, it made the transition to leave one family and come to another family easier.” — Asante Mayeka

“I instantly felt connected to Memorial,” Mr. Mayeka said. “Because my sister studied here before me, and my family having met with Ms. Shona on past recruitment visits, it made the transition to leave one family and come to another family easier. It’s important to have a sense of security when moving halfway around the world to pursue your post-secondary studies.”

Sense of pride

Ms. Perry-Maidment has a heightened sense of pride when a student from Zimbabwe crosses the stage at convocation to receive his or her degree from Memorial.

“The bottom line is that there is something I also get from this relationship, as well,” she said. “It is the reassurance that I have played a role — maybe ever-so-slightly — in making a difference with these young adults and their families. So, when parents express how thankful they are for how Memorial and Newfoundland and Labrador have embraced their child, it makes the long journeys, time away from home, busy work days and jet lag all worth it.”

There are approximately 70 students from Zimbabwe currently studying at Memorial.


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