- Support HPA
Traveling with Aloha
Wed November 21, 2012
Our admission team travels the world to recruit students to enhance our global community of learners at Hawai'i Preparatory Academy. Our students come from 18 countries, 14 other states, and throughout the Hawaiian islands. They come for the academic excellence, the arts, the athletic opportunities, the unique classroom and natural environment, and to prepare for their future in college and beyond.
Please let us know if you are interested in meeting with an admissions officer traveling in your area to learn more about the HPA Experience by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Our admission office travel schedule for 2012-2013:
|Sept. 16-22||Mexico City|
|Sept. 28-Oct. 2||Miami|
|Oct. 4-11||Russia (Moscow, Krasnodar, Yekaterinburg, Saint Petersburg)|
|Oct. 13-15||Doha, Qatar|
|Oct. 15-17||Kuwait City, Kuwait|
Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
|Nov 6-7||Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia|
|Nov 8-10||Jakarta, Indonesia|
|Nov 11-12||Hanoi, Vietnam|
|Nov 13-14||Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam|
|Nov 16-20||Astana, Kazakhstan|
Joshua Clark, Director of Admission, HPA
Mexico City - Sept. 16-22, 2012
Mexico Report 1:
I left the Island of Hawai'i on Saturday afternoon. It was a beautiful sunny day, which made it difficult not to stop at a beach on the way to the airport. I arrived in San Francisco around 9PM and had enough time to get to the international terminal for my flight to Mexico City. The flight to Mexico City left around 11:30PM local time, and I feel very fortunate that I was able to get two or three hours of sleep on the plane. I arrived in Mexico City around 5:15AM local time and got to the hotel by 7:45AM.
Yesterday was Independence Day for Mexico, and today they had a huge parade that went by my hotel today. The parade lasted about 4 hours and there was a lot of Federal and Military troops and equipment. I had a couple minutes so I went down and watched the parade for about 30 minutes. It was a great opportunity to not only see everything in the parade, but also to do some "people watching" which is always fun. It was a great parade. Happy Independence Day Mexico!!!
Police let people sit on their motorcycles to have their picture taken
Mexico Report 2:
The main purpose of my trip to Mexico City was to join the Linden Boarding School tour (you can learn more about Linden at www.boardingschooltours.com). About twenty other schools are also participating and we typically travel to various parts of the world together to share administrative and marketing costs while recruiting students. I’ll be heading home while the group continues on to several other countries in Latin and South America. Since I’m only joining the group on their first stop here in Mexico, I decided to make the most of it and arrived a couple of days early in Mexico City to get some more work done here.
I contacted U.S. Commercial Services, part of the U.S. Embassy, for help. Their mission is to promote business and trade with U.S. organizations around the world. I had them help me schedule appointments with various schools and educational agents in Mexico City. I found their assistance to be invaluable in helping me to schedule appointments and start building professional relationships here. My strategy is to talk about our summer program when visiting schools (so I’m not considered a competitive threat) that will help students gain valuable experiences and will hopefully build enough word of mouth that full year enrollments will naturally follow.
Our first visit was to Greengates School, one of the top schools in the city. It is a U.K. school but has a lot of U.S. and other expat students. They have a great curriculum and I enjoyed meeting with their counselor to talk about our summer program. The next stop was to Escuela Sierra Nevada, a private school with 5 campuses. I enjoyed speaking to their college counselor and believe their students would greatly benefit from a summer program. We also visited an educational agent and hope that they will start talking about HPA to families who are looking for educational options in the U.S.
The second day I spent the morning meeting with two educational consultants. I first met with Kristina Dooley, who has done both university and boarding school admissions before becoming an educational consultant. She has lived in Brazil, Argentina, and now Mexico with her family and has worked with clients across Latin and South America helping them to find summer and full year programs in the U.S. It was a great conversation and I believe HPA is so unique that she can help find many students who would benefit from attending here.
My second visit of the day was to Leticia DeRoel, a well-known educational consultant in Mexico City. She is well respected by families in Mexico City who are looking for educational options in North America. I really enjoyed our meeting and hope that we will be able to work together in the future.
Visiting Leticia's office
The morning meetings were great, but getting to each meeting was more difficult than usual. It happened to be the anniversary of a very strong and destructive earthquake from the 80’s, and so many public buildings have their emergency evacuation drills on the anniversary. Since hundreds of people are leaving tall office buildings and are congregating in the streets with emergency service vehicles, it drastically slowed down the traffic and made it difficult to get to my appointments.
The last appointment of the day was a presentation on HPA Summer School at the Escuela Tomas Alva Edison. The counselor at the school was very friendly and knowledgeable, and the students were interested in our summer program. As I was leaving the campus I heard students planning their trip to our summer program!
The next day the Linden Boarding School Tour started. First thing in the morning we went to the Education USA office and listened to a briefing by the staff about the Mexican educational system and resources that are available to families who are looking for a school in the U.S. Following that, we went to American School Foundation, the main American School in Mexico City for a small summer school fair. Later that day we held a fair for families and I enjoyed talking to families about HPA.
The next day I met with a student and her mother, they had expressed interest in HPA and I hope I was able to give them enough information about the school and what opportunities are available to her.
After that I flew home for a few days of work in the office before I had to be back on the road. I look forward to working more in Mexico, I believe HPA is a wonderful option for families here and believe there is great potential for us to find interested students.
Miami City - Sept. 28-Oct. 2, 2012
This was my first visit to Florida in my life. I was only there for a few days, but I found it to be pleasant, though hotter and more humid than Hawai’i. I was visiting Miami for an international conference. I wasn’t able to visit any schools or talk to any families, but the trip was productive nonetheless. Alphe Conferences occur around the world and pair schools and universities with educational agents from different countries. I spent a couple days sitting in a conference room talking to agents from literally around the world for 30 minutes at a time, giving them a quick overview of HPA and discussing how we could potentially work together. I met with agents from Latin and South America, Europe, Africa, as well as Asia. I found the agents to be very interested in both our school year and our summer program, and I hope that we will be able to increase our global diversity through these efforts.
Russia - Oct. 4-11, 2012
I flew from Miami to Moscow via Frankfurt, Germany. One interesting tidbit: the flight from Frankfurt to Moscow was three hours and ten minutes long. The taxi ride (it should take less than 40 minutes) from the airport to the hotel was over 3 ½ hours. Moscow traffic is something to be reckoned with. I have a sneaking suspicion that my taxi driver was looking for the most gridlock. Each time the traffic would start to flow, he would take a side street to find more bumper-to-bumper traffic. If the flight to the city is shorter than the taxi ride to the hotel, you know you need to change your expectations about getting to places.
Taking the escalator down to the subway. The subway stations were built in Stalin's era and are deep underground (several stories below ground since they also worked as bomb shelters) but some of the stations were like museums with gorgeous architecture.
This portion of my trip was a series of fairs hosted by a local educational placement company. I was traveling with about 15 other schools from the U.S. and Canada. Our first fair was in Moscow, and it was good to talk with families who were interested in both school year and summer options. Later that night we checked out and flew to Yekaterinburg, a city far to the east of Moscow. We finally arrived at 5AM and I was able to get about 3 hours of sleep before we had to get ready for the fair starting in the late morning.
The following morning (3AM) we went back to the airport and flew back to Moscow to connect to a flight to Krasnodar, a city to the south of Moscow (very temperate climate). We had a fair and a quick sleep before we flew back to Moscow to connect to a flight to St. Petersburg.
Our final fair was in St. Petersburg. In all four cities, I met with families who were interested in studying in the U.S. They were very interested in the opportunities available at HPA. After the fair the schools said goodbye to each other and departed to our various destinations. I flew from St. Petersburg to Doha, Qatar. This report seems short, but to be honest it was a whirlwind trip where some days I felt lucky to get 3 hours of sleep and I was on a plane or airport more often than not in a 24-hour period.
Middle East - Oct. 13-21, 2012
I arrived in Doha, Qatar at 5AM and tried to get a little sleep before the next portion of my travels began. This part of my trip I was with Linden Boarding Schools Tour. In Doha we went to the Supreme Education Council (the branch of the government that deals with education). The Council was interested in learning more about our schools, and they were very interested in working more closely with us in the future. Our next stop was to the Qatar International School, where we had a mini-fair. Finally, we did our last visit of the day to Aspire Academy, a high school for athletes who want to compete at the university and professional levels. The fair that evening was great with several families who expressed interest in HPA.
Meeting with the administrators of Aspire Academy in Doha, Qatar. After Doha hosted the Pan-Asian Games they had these world class athletic facilities and so they turned a large part of it into a school for high school athletes. The facilities are amazing, and the students play on national sport teams. However, there is still an interest in having them come to the U.S. either as a post graduate student or earlier to help them make a successful transition to U.S. universities.
We flew out that next morning to Kuwait City, where we left our bags at the airport to be transported to the hotel and we went off for a day of visits. We first started at an agency that works with students with learning differences. The Middle East does not have the same supports or understanding of students with learning differences, so we met with one organization to better understand how our schools can help some students who aren’t successful in the traditional government schools in Kuwait. We then visited two schools and held mini-fairs in each location. Following the school visits, we went to our hotel to check in and find our luggage. We then held a reception for school counselors from Kuwait so they had a better understanding about our schools.
The following day we went to the Ministry of Higher Education and had a great conversation with them. Following that meeting we went back to our hotel for the fair. The U.S. Ambassador opened the fair and it was nice to meet him again (I had lunch with him last spring – see my Spring 2012 travel blog). The fair was successful and I met several families interested in HPA.
The following day I traveled to Saudi Arabia. This final portion of my trip was to visit the Saudi Aramco Schools. Each year we travel to Saudi Aramco to recruit students living on the compounds of the world’s largest oil company. The schools in these compounds end in 9th grade and the students have to find a new educational option (either close to home or back in the U.S.). We had a fair and then met with families, interviewed students, and had a reception for families to learn more about HPA. I was there for about four days, and I enjoyed meeting some great kids. They were all bright, enthusiastic, and overall kind students. I know that HPA would be a great fit for many of them. As usual, the Smith family (parents of three HPA students and two more in a couple years) held a reception and was very gracious and helpful in talking with families who wanted to get a parent perspective. A huge Mahalo to the Smith family for all they do for HPA!
I picked up a bug the last couple of days in Saudi, so my flight home was a little uncomfortable, and I was home sick for about 4 days before I could go back to the office. I was able to be home for one week before I have to head back out and travel to Southeast Asia.
Bangkok, Thailand - November 2-5, 2012
I flew into Bangkok and before my work began I went to a funeral service for a dear friend and past parent, Malawan Patamapongs. It was a very touching service and I was very sad to be there, but felt fortunate that the trip allowed me to be present and represent HPA.
I joined Linden Boarding Schools Tour for this trip. My first event was a fair where I was able to meet with educational agents and families who were interested in our school and summer program. It has been a few years since I’ve been to Thailand, and I was reminded of the potential of finding some great Thai students to come to HPA.
International School of Bangkok
The next day we did two school visits, where we were able to have a mini fair at each school. We first visited International School of Bangkok, and then the New International School of Bangkok. I mainly talked about our summer program and had a couple interesting conversations with a few parents who came to the school to get information on summer programs.
New International School of Bangkok
That evening I met with HPA alum Tanva Mahitivanichcha. We had a great meeting and talked about ways to get the word of HPA out in Thailand. I look forward to working with him in the future.
Meeting with HPA alum, Tanva Mahitivanichcha
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - November 6 - 7, 2012
Walking to dinner in Kuala Lumpur
The next morning we flew out early to Kuala Lumpur. I had a dinner that night with a school representative, and we went to a street side restaurant. I was terrified the entire time that I was going to get very sick, and it didn’t help that as we were walking away a big rat jumped out of the dark and chased us a short distance. However, the food was good and I didn’t get sick, so all’s well that ends well.
The dinner from a street side restaurant
The following day we visited two schools. First it was the International School of Kuala Lumpur. It was a great visit because we were able to meet with some great students and parents to talk about summer school options, but we also got to go to the library where they were televising the presidential elections. It was nice to feel a little connected even though we were so far away.
Watching election updates in the library of the International School of Kuala Lumpur
The second school was Mont Kiara International School of Kuala Lumpur. Once again, I met some great families and talked about summer school and found several families were very interested.
That night we had a fair at the hotel and I was able to meet some new families as well as a few families who I met earlier in the day who came to get more information and talk about HPA. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of interest in HPA in Malaysia and look forward to going back and continuing to build that market.
Jakarta, Indonesia - November 8 - 12, 2012
The following morning we left early and flew to Jakarta. Jakarta is a huge city, with a population of 10 million in Jakarta proper, and if you include the outlying areas it balloons to over 30 million. The difference between Jakarta and most other large cities is that Jakarta has no mass transit system. Everyone is either in a car or a moped. I spoke to one person who lives 40 minutes from her work, which she is able to drive if she has to go to the office on a weekend. During the week it takes her more than two hours to get to work, then she has to drive more than two hours to get home. I find it interesting that in my travels around the world, the thing that makes the biggest impression on me is the traffic and the amount of time I have to sit in a car to get anywhere. I am very grateful I work at HPA!
Amazing electrical wiring in downtown Hanoi
We had three school visits in Jakarta, first was BINUS International School Serpong, where we were able to meet with the principal of the school and discuss exchanges and summer program options. The second visit was at Santa Laurensia School, where we discussed our various school year and summer options. The last visit was to Raffles International Christian School. It was a great meeting and I hope we can find a way to work together in the future. By the end of the day I had a huge migraine so I went back to the hotel and went to bed early.
Linden Tour members with school administrators
at BINUS International School in Jakarta Indonesia
The following day we had our fair and I was able to meet with several educational agents and families. It was a great fair and I really believe there’s a lot of potential in Jakarta.
As soon as the fair was over I had a quick bite to eat and went to bed because we had a very early flight the next day.
Hanoi, Vietnam - November 11 - 12, 2012
Watching the sun rise on flight to Vietnam
I was down in the lobby at 2:15AM and we headed off to the airport. We flew back to Kuala Lumpur and then over to Hanoi Vietnam. Hanoi is a fascinating city and full of history. Because of the French influence the architecture is very different than what you find in other Asian cities. The traffic is absolutely crazy with the majority of traffic being mopeds rather than cars. However, as the economy is improving, cars are having a much larger presence on the streets. You would think that there would be a lot of congestion in Hanoi, but somehow they make it all work. It’s a mystery I couldn’t figure out, but somehow the traffic flows very efficiently. We had the afternoon free so I was able to go to the famous prison, known in the U.S. as the “Hanoi Hilton,” where U.S. military prisoners of war were held during the Vietnam War. It was very interesting to go and learn about the history of the prison and it’s many uses.
The famous "Hanoi Hilton"
The flight suit and parachute of former POW,
presidential candidate, and Arizona senator John McCain
The following day we had school visits, first Doan Thi Diem School, where we were able to present to the upper class students and meet with the school administrators. We then went to Hanoi Academy and met some great students there as well. That evening we had our fair and I was impressed with the number of great kids I met at the fair.
One of the schools in Vietnam where we gave a presentation
Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam - November 13 - 14, 2012
All the schools in Vietnam have statues of Ho Chi Minh and still revere him.
Statue in one of the school conference rooms.
The next morning we flew down to Ho Chi Minh, and I left the group and drove to the International School of Ho Chi Minh to meet with a parent to discuss our summer program and potentially create some exchange opportunities for their students. It was a great meeting and I look forward to continuing the conversation. That evening I went to a reception sponsored by an educational consultant and had a great time talking with him and talking about working more closely together in the future.
The opening remarks at Nur Ordu Turk-Kazak School in Astana
The next day we visited two schools in Ho Chi Minh and talked with the students, encouraging them to attend our fair that night. The fair in the evening was well attended and very successful.
Astana, Kazakhstan - November 16 - 20, 2012
The next morning a smaller group headed off to Astana Kazakhstan. We first flew to Hong Kong, then up to Beijing. From there we were told our flight to Almaty Kazakhstan was delayed by several hours. We had to reschedule our connecting flight since we were going to miss the original flight to Astana. Our flight left at 1:30AM and we got to Almaty Kazakstan with a two-hour layover and finally landed in Astana Kazakhstan to get to the hotel by midday. Going from the heat of Vietnam to the icy cold of Kazakhstan was a shock. We also joined up with about 20 universities since the U.S. Embassy sponsored this for International Education Week. We all were promoting education in the U.S., so there were boarding schools, community colleges, universities, and graduate programs.
Walking to the big tent mall for the last mini-fair of the day
The mini-fair in the big tent, also known as Khan Shatyr
The following day we had several school visits. First was Miras International School, where we had a mini fair. Next was a Kazak-Turkish School called Nur Orda. This was the first time they let U.S. schools visit students on their campus. The Major who was representing the U.S. Embassy and West Point spoke to the students and opened the mini fair. The following school was Nazarbayev Intellectual School, a well-known and very strong school. I had visited the school a couple years ago and a few students mentioned that they remembered me from my last visit. Our last stop was a huge mall that was inside the world’s largest tent. All the schools and universities set up tables in the middle of the common area and talked with families who stopped by.
Standing in front of Khan Shatyr after the fair was over
That evening I had dinner with a dear friend to eat traditional Kazak food, and it was some of the best food I’ve had all year. Then it was off to bed and get some rest for the big fair the following day.
The opening remarks from the US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission
in Astana Kazakhstan to start the fair
The Deputy Chief of Mission from the U.S. Embassy opened the fair and we had a few thousand people come into the fair to learn more about studying at the secondary or university level in the U.S. It was a great fair and I was even able to connect with home a little because Hawai’i Pacific University was also at the fair!
Hawai'i Preparatory Academy and Hawai'i Pacific University in Astana Kazakhstan
Nazarbayev University where I met with the leaders of the Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools
The following day I visited public school #48 with another boarding school and we gave a presentation to the entire 10th and 11th grade classes. I finished my time in Astana by visiting public school #60 and then going to Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools headquarters which is located at Nazarbayev University. There are several Intellectual schools around Kazakhstan and they plan on having over 20 schools in the next few years. We spoke with them about our summer and postgraduate programs and I believe that there is a great opportunity for our schools to connect and start working together.
On the way to the airport to fly home
I am halfway through my trip home. I flew from Astana to Almaty, then on to Seoul, and down to Tokyo. I still have a couple more hours of my 5 hour layover, then I’m off to Honolulu and then back to Kona. It was a very productive trip but I’m eagar to see my wife and daughter, and start following up on all the people I’ve met over the fall. I know HPA is an amazing school and a wonderful opportunity for motivated students. I am looking forward to helping them go through the application process and enjoy the HPA Experience.