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U of T reaches out to Chinese students through Weibo

U of T News)

Yi Luo enjoys telling people about the University of Toronto – whether as a tour guide on campus or as the star of a new U of T video created for the popular Chinese micro blogging website Weibo.

“It’s really an honor to present a prestigious university such as U of T, where I spent four years not just studying, but also living,” says Luo. “I was grateful at the thought that I might be able to build communication between U of T, and Chinese students and their families - these are two communities that I identify with and care about.”

In the video, the recent Bachelor of Commerce graduate speaks entirely in Mandarin as she leads viewers around the St. George campus, describing the many academic and personal opportunities offered at U of T. The university created the video in response to a request for content that could be posted to the Weibo account of the Canadian Embassy in Beijing, says Judith Wolfson, vice-president, University Relations.

“The University of Toronto views attracting top students from around the world as a tremendous opportunity for both Canadian and international students to exchange ideas, deepen knowledge, and collaborate in ways that can lead to significant breakthroughs,” says Wolfson. “This is testimony to our commitment to international students and to internationalization”.

“We consider global collaboration an essential pathway to tackling some of the world’s greatest challenges.”

It’s not the first time U of T has partnered with the Canadian Embassy in Beijing to provide content on Weibo. Students who have participated in the Green Path program at the University of Scarborough have also shared their experiences on the social network.

The video is an example of the university’s continuing efforts to reach out to a broad range of students and prospective students through social media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

In the video, Luo describes U of T as “a world-class university located on a campus renowned for its beauty, cleanliness, and safety,” and goes on to discuss U of T’s award-winning researchers and great co-curricular opportunities at all three campuses. Off-camera, Luo gladly expands on the appeal for international students.

“I made one great friend of mine at the U of T reception in Shanghai the summer before I came to Toronto; I made another on my first day of orientation at Trinity College - the moment we left our rooms and said hi in the hallway,” says Luo, who calls residence her home-away-from-home. “When faced with a university the size of U of T, the college system provides an anchor outside of classes, the place I meet with friends of similar interests, albeit totally different areas of study."

Luo weighed many factors in her own decision to choose U of T over universities and liberal arts colleges in the United States – from the university’s “powerful” global reputation to its location in Canada’s biggest city, appealing “for a girl grown up in Shanghai”.

Helping other international students make that choice is a priority for the university, says Holly Luffman of the Centre for International Experience at U of T, who adds the university has student exchange agreements with 150 institutions and general cooperation agreements with 230 institutions.

“Part of a great education at a great institution is having a diverse student body,” Luffman says. “By attracting top-notch international students to study at the University of Toronto, not only do we maintain a high quality student body, but we invite the world into our classrooms”. 

“All U of T students can benefit from the opportunity to develop cross-cultural understanding and a broader awareness of the world”.

View the video on YouTube here:

December 20, 2012

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