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Friendship Leads to Students

Jul 14, 2014

Ron Smith, the director of international admissions at the Roanoke Valley Campus, began a friendship with Enka Tsend, resident of Roanoke and former resident of Mongolia, in 1999.  In those days before the modern ESL program at the Roanoke Valley Campus existed, there were English preparatory classes.  The program was already very intense and helpful for students who traveled to the campus to study. 

According to Ron, over the years, more than 200 Mongolian residents have become students at the Roanoke Valley Campus and many have become part of the Roanoke Valley community.  They have even brought their entire families with them and their children have enrolled in the local public schools.  Ms. Tsend is personally responsible for bringing at least seven of those to the campus; the most famous one is now the First Lady of Mongolia, Bolormaa Khajidsuren, who received a medical assisting degree at the campus after previously receiving a degree in geochemistry in Mongolia.  She lived in the Roanoke Valley while receiving her education and her children also attended local schools.

Since leaving ANU, First Lady Bolormaa and her husband, President Elbegdorj, a graduate of Harvard, have adopted dozens of orphaned children who range from elementary to college aged.  Ms. Tsend said that they take care of each one; providing an education for all.  She recently visited the family in Mongolia and said that she was very impressed, “They were very polite, introduced themselves, and played the Mongolian National Instrument [the morin khuur], that many girls play,” said Ms. Tsend.

While in Mongolia, Ms. Tsend presented the First Lady with an updated diploma bearing the new ANU logo, which she graciously accepted.

When Ms. Tsend talks with other Mongolians about considering studying in Roanoke, she says that they are always impressed by the small, [close-knit community] and that many are interested in learning English first, then obtaining another academic degree such as business management and accounting.  They also like the fact that the institution has many locations so they may choose where they would like to live.    

A-Enka Tsend (l),a Mongolia native who is now a resident of the Roanoke Valley, is pictured with Ron Smith (r), director of international admissions at the Roanoke Valley Campus.

B-Enka Tsend (l), with the First Lady of Mongolia, Bolormaa Khajidsuren, who is a graduate of the Roanoke Valley Campus. 


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tags: VA-Roanoke Valley Medical: Medical Assisting - Associate Degree (MAA)