NSA administrator takes scouting trip to China

Published 10:40 pm Thursday, March 7, 2013

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy’s director of admissions says she will be looking for “prospective students who can bring a global perspective to the classrooms” during a two-week tour of China.

Debbie Russell, who flew out Thursday, stated that the trip to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Hangzhou will “provide NSA with a great opportunity for a number of reasons.”



Besides the scope for recruiting new international students, “It’s a great opportunity for us to talk with other independent schools in the Southeast” — representatives of which Russell will be traveling with — “and learn about their international programs.

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“It is also a great opportunity for NSA to further learn about a region which places a high value on international education (and) for NSA to promote our school in the international community.”

The opportunity for the all-expenses-paid trip arose from a meeting Russell and NSA’s community outreach coordinator Leigh Squires had with two representatives of New Oasis International Education, an organization promoting the U.S. as a study destination for international students, Russell wrote in an email.

It was decided at the meeting that a partnership between NSA and New Oasis would be “mutually beneficial,” according to Russell, and New Oasis President Sean Chen invited NSA on the trip.

The first stop upon arrival in Hong Kong will be the southern city Shenzhen for an educational exhibition, and it will be on to another, larger city in China’s south, Guangzhou, for another exhibition the next day, Russell wrote.

“At each exhibition we will have an opportunity to do a presentation on Nansemond-Suffolk Academy and interview prospective students,” she stated.

Then it’s on to Shanghai for “a seminar with Chinese education officials and school principals,” where Russell will present on international education. “We will also be visiting a school in Shanghai as well as attending another educational exhibition,” she added.

The next two stops for educational exhibitions will be Hangzhou and Beijing.

It won’t all be work, though, Russell explained: New Oasis has organized tours, including to a traditional village, some temples, the Olympic village, the Forbidden City and the Great Wall.

Russell says she has always wanted to visit China, where she has a good friend living in Xi’an.

“His name is Xiaopeng Jiang, and we met in graduate school where we were both getting our master’s in international business from the University of South Carolina,” she wrote.

“I have known him for the last 15 years and have learned a lot about China and the culture from him.”

She credits her Chinese friend with having fired a curiosity about China, including its culture and education system.