Recruitment Trip to Kenya Brings Interest, Connections

Earlier this year, Tim Lewis, PhD, Vice Provost of Global Learning and Strategy at St. Thomas, traveled to Nairobi, Kenya on a recruitment mission. Lewis spent four-and-a-half days touring four different high schools, meeting with students and guidance counselors, and speaking about St. Thomas and higher education, in general.

“Recruiting is everybody’s business,” Lewis said of the role it plays in the St. Thomas community.

Nairobi to St. Paul may seem like a quite a leap, and that’s exactly what Kenyan students wondered about when meeting with Lewis, he said.

“Students want to know if they’ll be welcome in the United States and Minnesota,” Lewis said. “They want to know how it is different, and I explain to them that the urban environment in Minnesota is far less congested and much safer. They are always curious about the snow; I tell them they will have plenty of time to experience it.”

Minnesota has a growing job market, and options for continuing education through graduate school are always possible, as well.

One of the students asked Lewis, “I understand you’ve been thrown out of the MIAC. What does that mean?” As amusing as this was, it was a fantastic reminder of just how small and interconnected the world is.

St. Thomas has 689 total international students from 71 different countries during the 2019-20 year, including five from Kenya.

Globalization is one of the five major themes of the St. Thomas 2020 Strategic Plan, which states: "The University of St.Thomas will actively promote global engagement in teaching, learning, research and service in an ethical and socially responsible manner. We will accomplish this goal by developing global and intercultural awareness across the university; integrating global knowledge, skills and perspectives into the curriculum; enhancing study-abroad and off-campus learning opportunities; attracting international and ethnically diverse domestic students; and supporting a globally engaged faculty and staff."

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