When business professor Choong Lee received his first international education grant nine years ago, he was soon making inroads in Central Asian countries that might have students interested in American study.

Those recruitment efforts paid off this year when two students from the country of Kyrgyzstan arrived at PSU, marking the first time the university has ever welcomed degree-seeking students from that country.

Cousins Adilet Saralinov and Aiperi Imankolov arrived last fall after making the two-day journey from their home in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, which borders China and Kazakhstan.

Imankolov, who graduated from the American University of Central Asiain Bishkek, was eager for theopportunity to study in the United States. She and Saralinov ar are both studying business andfinance at PSU.

“We like Pittsburg so much,” said Imankolov.”This is the best opportunity¬†I’ve ever had. It was scary at first to be so far away from my parents and family, but I’m glad to be here.”

Dr. Lee, who has been awarded nearly $500,000 in grant money since 2002, said the positive reputation of PSU is spreading in that part of the world.

“That area has become more critical than ever for world peace, and the leaders there understand that education is the key to developing their country,” he said. “There are a lot of families there watching Adilet and Aiperi to see how they do. I can see many students in the future following them here.”