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International Student Opportunities

International students are growing in importance – for schools and real estate agents alike. Universities and colleges in the United States and around the world are actively working to grow their international enrollment for the prestige, intellectual capital, and revenue they bring. International enrollment is up, both at the prep and college level.

Much is made of colleges and universities attracting international students – but many high schools are taking note and pursuing this student base as well. Parents of these young scholars are beginning their international experience in high school to prepare them – both academically and socially – for college in a foreign country. Immersing themselves into the culture so early is an investment in a long-term stay in the United States or wherever they might choose to relocate.

At Walnut Hill School for the Arts, an independent boarding school for the arts located in Natick, Massachusetts, 30% of the student body is international students. While the majority of the students board at the school, about 20% are day students from nearby cities and towns.

The Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield, Minn. and St. Croix Lutheran in West St. Paul, Minn. both attract international students. St. Croix Lutheran currently boasts representation from 10 different countries.

But of course, the million dollar question:

How does this help you as an agent?

Answer: Foreign students (and their parents) often invest in more than tuition. Property is usually on their radar as well. In countries where home ownership is either difficult or a poor investment, parents who have the means will look abroad for a better education for their children, and a property to live in while they attend school. This property then doubles as an investment and a safe, secure home for their family. And I can assure you, these students and parents are in touch with friends and family back home that may also be looking for a place to relocate. International contacts make great referral sources!

From assisting the university recruiters to making friends in the Administration offices and helping newly-arriving students, there are many things you can do to bring this business home. Now is the time to build these relationships. After all, they will need a new place to live when they begin school in the fall!

Check out our recent issue of Global Perspectives to find out which countries the international students are hailing from, moving to, and 7 ways to cultivate more business.

For more information on high school exchange programs, visit the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE).

Will you make international students a part of your business plan in 2014?

Cynthia Fauth

Cindy Fauth (AHWD, CIPS, ePRO, RCE) is Director of Global Marketing & Communications for the National Association of REALTORS® Commercial & Global Services division. She joined NAR in September 2009, and lends her expertise to the promotion and growth of the Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation, At Home with Diversity certification, and International REALTOR® membership, along with the many other programs NAR Commercial & Global Services offers.

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