The University of Hong Kong is widening its reach for international students in a bid to boost campus diversity. HKU registrar Henry Wai Wing-kun said this week that the university had recruited international students from places that it had never tapped before, such as Russia, Paraguay and Israel. Desmond Weshebi Takwi and Dima Durah, both 19, are among the first Cameroonian and Syrian undergraduate students, respectively, recruited by the university. Studying on a scholarship, Mr Takwi is in his first year of an electronics and communications engineering degree. 'Many engineering projects back home were managed by Chinese companies. I want to understand more about how Chinese people work so I came here,' he said. Ms Durah, who had arrived after a 15-hour flight, is looking forward to learning about a new culture and language. The year-one journalism student hopes to work in Asia. The university has also begun to attract students from Pakistan, such as mechanical engineering and business administration student Muhammad Umar Yaqub, 20. HKU has admitted 2,747 students this academic year, and nearly 12 per cent of them, or 324, are non-local students. Of those students, 264 came from the mainland. Mr Wai said, however, that HKU would be unable to recruit more international students for another three years due to an accommodation shortage.