When Lucas Liu first arrived in Fredericton in June 2007, he thought he was on the set of a horror film.
Originally from Jining, China, a city of eight million, Liu couldn’t fathom how the streets of Fredericton could possibly be so deserted on a warm summer evening.
“I thought this might be that kind of town where they shoot Resident Evil and there’s a secret lab underground and all the people are dead or have become zombies, so I got really scared.
“I walked down to Kings College and back to my house right away,” he said.
After spending four years at St. Thomas University and with a bachelor of arts under his belt, Liu is now recruiting students for the school he considers his second home. The 2011 St. Thomas University grad has been hired by the university as their first admissions counsellor for Asia.
The position was created as part of a strategy that will allow STU to reach out to a new market of international students.
The university is hoping to attract more Asian students by making information about the school more accessible. Some changes will include translating the view book and website into different languages, such as Mandarin.
Liu said in many Asian cultures, parents play a key role in choosing the university their child attends. He suggests that by making online information such as admission requirements and course offerings available in their native language, parents are more likely to consider STU.
“At this point, we’re trying to use the advantage that I speak the language to get to communicate with parents more, instead of only communicating with some of the students who can barely understand what the website is saying,” he said.
“If I’m talking to parents and telling them how I feel being at St. Thomas University in Chinese, they will understand it and they will feel safe to send their kid.”
In his four years, Liu went from being crowned ‘Mr. Harrington,’ to being voted valedictorian for his graduating class. He also worked for STU Athletics for three years, was a residence advisor in Holy Cross and volunteered as a Welcome Week leader.
Liu’s new job will have him exchanging his bus pass for a plane ticket. He will be traveling to high schools both across Canada and in Asian countries, including China, to promote STU and to recruit new students.
Liu admits that despite being an effective method of communication, flying to Asia isn’t easy on the university’s pocket book and said STU uses other, more cost-effective approaches such as Skype to recruit students.
“If you can deliver the message, it doesn’t matter through which way, it works,” he said.
For Liu, the transition from student to recruiter is just another chance to promote STU and to give back to the school that changed his life.
“I just feel like it will be fantastic if I can stay here, working for St. Thomas and telling other people the story of what I learned here and how happy I am about this university,” he said.
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