Aspects meets International Officer Katy Friend

International Officer Katy Friend on the Great Wall of China

As the newest member of the International Office, Katy Friend met Aspects to talk about the job she loves, the countries she is responsible for and an exciting ‘first’ for Aston University next month.

Before starting work at Aston, Katy held the position of Undergraduate Admissions and Recruitment Officer at Birmingham Business School where she was involved with the recruitment, admissions process and marketing of business courses to potential undergraduate students. As part of her role, Katy took part in a NCUK tour to China: “I studied French, Spanish and Italian at university so I have always been interested in languages, foreign travel and other cultures. When I went to China as part of a recruitment campaign for University of Birmingham, I loved it and was hooked! It was after that that I saw the vacancy within Aston’s International Office and I jumped at the chance to apply.”

Katy joined the team as an International Officer at the end of last year and is now responsible for driving recruitment in China and India (Aston’s largest international student numbers are from these countries), Hong Kong, Taiwan, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

Katy explains her role: “I deal with all aspects of recruitment in these countries and visit each of them between two and five times a year. When I am in a country I meet existing agents to build the relationship Aston has with them, train new agents, conduct interviews with prospective students, attend recruitment fairs and visit schools. There’s always so much to fit in when I’m away so it can be quite intense.”

“Currently there’s a big push in the international office to start diversifying the cities the University is working in. We will always have a presence and be successful in the large cities but we want to reach out to new smaller target locations. I recently took part in the ‘Education UK Emerging Markets’ campaign in India. This was organised by the British Council and the tour enabled a small number of UK universities to recruit in the previously untargeted cities of Bhubaneswar, Jalandhar, Guntur, Vijaywada, Lucknow and Surat. Aston University chose to visit Bhubaneswar and Jalandhar.

“An exciting new initiative that I’m currently working on is Aston’s participation in our first ‘virtual exhibition’ in Hong Kong organised by the British Council. This will run throughout July and August  and Aston University will have a virtual ‘stand’ which will be packed with information, photos, videos and the virtual campus tour. I’ll also be doing a live chat session in August to answer any questions and in the meantime, my contact details will be on there along with those of our agent in Hong Kong. It’s a great opportunity to be working in Hong Kong without actually being there in person! If it is successful I think this type of activity will become increasingly important in the International Office’s activities going forward.”

So what does Katy make of her first six months in the role? “What I have enjoyed the most is joining such a fantastic group of people; everyone made me feel so welcome from day one. The role is demanding but also heaps of fun and I have visited some amazing places since starting it. My favourite country is Taiwan as the people are so friendly and I feel totally comfortable walking around there – the food is great too!”

Find out more about the role of the International Office and how the team can help you.

To contact Katy, please call ext 4476 or email k.friend@aston.ac.uk.

Words by Louise Russell 

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