April 26, 2011
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab
Bordogna tells SRU’s story, lists opportunities down under
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – When Genevieve Bordogna, Slippery Rock University’s international student adviser in the International Services Office, visited Australia to recruit students for SRU the native “slanguage” – barbie, crock, boot, jumbuck and bunya nut – didn’t faze her a bit.
She knew the terms because she earned her bachelor’s degree at the nearby University of Tasmania. Her familiarity with the language, along with a solid knowledge of Australian school systems and SRU’s long-standing partnership with Melbourne-based Victoria University provided a foundation for talking with students and administrators about spending a semester, a year or an entire college career at SRU.
“We were one of only three universities with financial support from Victoria University to attend the annual International Exchange Fair, so we jumped at the chance,” Bordogna said. “SRU was the only U.S. university in attendance.”
As part of her visit, Bordogna also had time to meet with school officials and educational agencies at four schools in Melbourne and five in Sydney.
“Their school system is different than those in the U.S.,” the 2010 SRU masters of education graduate said. “While we have four years of high school, students in Australia go until their sophomore year, usually at about age 16, and graduate. Those who intend to go on to a University then return for the optional 11th and 12th grades of study, before applying to attend a university.”
Most students in Australia attend private school. In Melbourne, there are more than 30 private schools, but only 10 public schools. The private schools, which are usually religious-based, are expensive, she said.
Most of Australia’s universities are also private and typically offer degree programs based on three years of study, she said.
“However, Australia is undergoing massive changes in its education system, switching to a liberal arts curriculum, which may mean adding a year of study, much like U.S. universities,” she said.
“That could be a great benefit to SRU in terms of recruiting students from Australia, especially because we are already well versed in offering liberal studies,” she said.
Shadiyia Chaib, a Victoria University student who attended fall 2010 classes SRU, Emily Wingfield from Butler and Kristina Kocis from Aliquippa, both SRU students studying this year at VU, joined Bordogna at the recruitment fair. Two other SRU students, Jeff Crane from Mt. Pleasant and Travis Wimer from Portersville are also currently studying at VU.
Two VU students are taking classes at SRU this semester as exchange students.
“We would like to see two or three Australian students undertake their four-year academic studies at SRU in addition to those students already participating annually in the exchange program,” Bordogna said.
Because Bordogna was familiar with the country and had relatives in the region, she extended her stay to include visits with a number of 11th- and 12th-grade private schools to explain to career counselors the opportunities for their students to study at SRU – or in the U.S.
“Currently most of the students have only heard of America’s major universities – Yale, Harvard, Princeton and Stanford – and they know they are expensive. While the private schools in Australia cater to upper-income families, with the strong Australian currency, attending a U.S. university is now comparable in price,” she said.
Among the schools and education centers Bordogna visited to talk about SRU’s educational opportunities were Melbourne Grammar School, Xavier College, the U.S. Educational Advising Center in Melbourne, Lauriston Girls’ Schools, Ivanhoe Grammar School, Newington College, Sydney Grammar School, St. Aloysius College, Kambala, Kincoppal-Rose Bay School of the Sacred Heart and Central Coast Grammar School.
“I was always impressed by the quality of questions asked by the students I met. They were always concerned with quality and price – and about university life in general,” she said.
All of the contacts were made with the assistantance of the Pennsylvania Office of International Business Development/Department of Economics and Community Development’s trade representative at the Council of Great Lakes Governors in Sydney. “Their effort saved us a significant amount of time and money, making all the difference for this recruitment trip,” Bordogna said.
“The trip to Australia was a success. I formed valuable connections with a number of elite schools in both major cities and established rapport with career counselors who are in constant contact with one another, both within their state and across the country. I learned more about the Australian secondary education system, and I think that if nurtured properly we will see an increase in exchange students as well as full degree-seeking students from Australia,” she said.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania’s premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.