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UBC Reports | Vol. 48 | No. 13 | Nov. 7, 2002

The International Perils of Ada Christopher, Student Recruiter

Glamour Job is Gruelling Work

By Michelle Cook

None of Ada Christopher’s colleagues wants to travel with her.

It’s not that Christopher and the other members of UBC’s International Student Initiative (ISI) don’t make a great team. It’s just that wherever Christopher goes, unusual things seem to happen.

“They call me the leading indicator of natural disasters,” Christopher laughs as she lists the calamities she’s experienced while crisscrossing the globe to talk about UBC with potential students. These include a hurricane in Puerto Rico, earthquakes in Mexico and India and, on a recent trip to Japan, the biggest typhoon to hit Tokyo since the Second World War.

As the university’s co-ordinator of International Student Recruitment and Advising, handling unexpected occurrences - natural or otherwise - are all in a day’s work for Christopher and the rest of UBC’s international recruiting team.

On the road, Christopher visits up to five schools a day and often attends education fairs in the evenings and weekends.
“You can see thousands of students and talk non-stop for nine hours a day and you’re exhausted, and then you have to get up and do it all again the next day,” Christopher says.

Christopher is a counselling psychologist by training (she has an MA from UBC), but it was her interests in travel, different cultures and intercultural communications that led her into the field of student recruiting. She joined ISI as UBC’s first international student recruiter in 1999.

From September to November of this year, the ISI team, along with others from faculties and Enrolment Services, will spend the equivalent of 410 days on the road on 46 separate recruitment trips to other parts of Canada, 20 U.S. states, and 26 countries.

Advising students is also an integral part of Christopher’s job. She answers many of the hundreds of e-mail inquiries that pour into the ISI office ranging from how to fill out application forms to how to get involved in campus activities.

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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