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APSU goes global with first international transfer agreement

By: Ethan Steinquest November 9, 2023

Representatives from APSU and the Nawaloka College of Higher Studies.
Representatives from APSU and the Nawaloka College of Higher Studies.

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - Austin Peay State University recently expanded its global reach through its first international transfer articulation agreement, a partnership with the Center for Advanced Studies (CAS) that could see transfer students from Sri Lanka start earning their bachelor’s degrees on campus as early as Spring 2025.

CAS is an educational organization that offers an international studies program for partner schools in Japan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Nepal. One of those institutions is the Nawaloka College of Higher Studies (NCHS) in Sri Lanka, which sent a delegation to Austin Peay from Oct. 2-3.

“The delegation wanted to visit Austin Peay, experience its community-oriented culture, and make sure their students feel included, comfortable, and secure,” said Dr. Marissa Chandler, Austin Peay’s director of global engagement. “They were extremely impressed with how friendly and inviting our campus is, along with its proximity to the downtown area, where students can easily find restaurants and use our public transportation.”

After spending the day at Austin Peay, members of the NCHS delegation said they see the campus as an ideal environment for international students to further their education.

“Since the NCHS staff is involved in student recruitment and we also advise currently enrolled students about their transfer destinations, a first-hand visit was essential,” said Dirk Binder, NCHS’s articulation officer. “Given our very favorable impression, it is easy to recommend APSU as a school which will meet [students’] academic needs while remaining affordable, safe, and supportive.”

During their visit, the delegation experienced a day in the life of a Gov by touring campus, exploring student housing options, and eating lunch in the cafeteria.

“[We wanted] to understand and face the same situations as our students, to understand the university culture and build [our] relationship with the university representatives,” said Nipuni Jayaweera, NCHS’s marketing manager. “APSU is an ideal university that better suits Sri Lankan students’ requirements with all expected outcomes. Therefore, NCHS recommends APSU as a preferred location for students to complete their degree with good living standards.”

Under the articulation agreement, CAS can transfer 12-15 international students per year at no cost to Austin Peay. Candidates must complete a rigorous English language curriculum and are fully responsible for their tuition, while the University will help the students acclimate to the campus and Clarksville.

“All over the world, attaining a U.S. degree is still very prestigious, and it’s something many international students are very interested in achieving,” Chandler said. “This is an opportunity for students to continue their education and temporarily work in the U.S. after graduation. They will also go back to their home country with the skills and degree to succeed in their chosen careers.”

The University already has one international transfer student from Japan taking classes online through the CAS agreement, and another Japanese student is expected to start taking classes on campus in the Spring 2024 semester.

Elizabeth Harrison, Austin Peay’s international student services coordinator, works closely with those students to make sure their credits transfer and said their time as Governors provides a far-reaching impact.

“Having international students here really helps to diversify campus, opens our eyes to the people who exist around the world, and makes those places not seem so far away,” she said. “International students get a similar cultural benefit, but they also have the opportunity to work and live with people from a different culture. They can bring a lot of that information back home and share it with their community.”

Chandler said the University hopes to bring in delegations from Myanmar and Nepal in the coming months, which would open the door for additional transfer students to join learners from around the world.

“The opportunity to bring international students to campus and Clarksville has so many benefits,” Chandler said. “It brings our worlds closer together as these students share their culture, participate in the local economy and support our community during their time in Clarksville.”