Meeting the Needs of International Students

Episode 60

EP. 60:

Meeting the Needs of International Students

Allison and Scott featuring Simon Hamlin and Mim Phillips

with Simon Hamlin and Mim Phillips

Simon Hamlin has lived quite a few lives in his life…

After graduating from UCLA with a B.A. in Sociology, he backpacked through Europe. Shortly after, Simon worked as a counselor at an American high school in Israel (Alexander Muss), followed by another backpacking excursion through Egypt, Jordan, and Israel.

Simon returned to his hometown of Seattle, where he worked in Public Relations at a high tech PR firm and in Marketing at a music startup. On a whim, he also decided to take an acting class. What began in earnest as a few evening classes turned into a 10+ year career as a professional actor. Simon worked extensively on stage and on camera, including roles in The Fighter (Academy Award nomination for Best Picture) and Leverage (TNT television series).

In between acting gigs, Simon did all types of work: restaurant waiter, script coverage writer, speed dating host, producer, salesperson… But the job that had the biggest impact on his life was working with a young boy with autism. That inspired Simon to work with The Miracle Project, a theatre and film arts program for children with special needs. He co-produced a live show that became the topic of an HBO documentary called Autism: The Musical.

As Simon’s priorities in life shifted, he transitioned out of acting to focus on several of his passions – international travel, education, and marketing. This led him to study in the USA, where he has spent the past 7 years helping US schools connect with international students.

Outside of the international student marketing world, his main areas of interest in life are learning how to optimize and integrate mind and body (through yoga, meditation, diet), the environment, writing, world travel, and minimalistic living.

Mim Phillips has had the opportunity to work in diversified career fields while maintaining a philosophy to help others and consistently bring her skills and strengths to each role she’s pursued. Born in Hong Kong, Mim has traveled to 43 countries and lived in the U.S., UK, and Iran, crediting her international experiences to her worldview. A Chapman University alumni, Mim received her B.S. in marketing and business administration as well as a teaching certificate. While working in the U.K., Mim attained an interior design diploma and subsequently owned a design firm in the U.S. gaining regional recognition. During that same time, as creative director and entrepreneur, for over a decade her highlight was providing leadership to increase graduation rates in the inner city and connecting business clients to partner with a K-12 Center.

With an M.S. in Organizational Leadership and international management from Colorado State University-Global Campus, she moved into international higher education and for 6 years worked in a broad range of various roles, ranging from academic advising, DSO, recruiting and overseeing an international office. Today she works as an account executive for Study in the USA, a firm that believes in the global impact of international education. On her offtime, she enjoys hiking, painting, and spending invaluable time with her kids, husband, and 2 young grandkids.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • What part of Mim and Simon’s work at Study in the USA they find most impactful on a day-to-day basis
  • How higher education institutions can better engage with international students, and how interacting with these students differs from domestic students
  • What steps schools can take to better understand the needs of international students, their families, and other supporters, and why relationship-building is key
  • What potential challenges and obstacles international students face, and why it is crucial to make efforts to bridge language barriers in particular
  • What major misconceptions create challenges for international students, and how institutions can address those misconceptions
  • Why international students often face overlooked financial hurdles, and how the outbreak of the global pandemic has uniquely impacted this student cohort
  • Why tailoring your messaging to the current environment is crucial, and what areas of study seem to be most popular with international students
  • How China, India, South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Latin America lead the way in the number of international students coming to the United States to study
  • Why it is important to allocate sufficient financial resources to marketing toward international students
  • Why you should still be focusing on consistent marketing efforts, even during the global pandemic crisis


Additional resources:


Simon Hamlin and Mim Phillips

Senior Account Executive & Account Executive, Study in the USA