By Clare O’Brien As I mentioned in my last blog post, there are an abundance of wonderful restaurants in Boston. Several of these restaurants have well-known chefs and are frequently featured on TV and in “foodie” magazines. I know some of you may not have much free time to do the tourist thing and travel around the city, but if you make a point to get out for a meal, many of these locations will allow you to see some of the best parts of Boston. I asked my colleagues from the Local Arrangements Team (LAT) to join in and share some of their favorite eateries. Here are a few of their suggestions: Photo by 6SN7 , under Creative Commons public license LAT Conference Information and Hospitality Co-Chair Adrienne Nussbaum says her favorite Thai restaurant is the Brown Sugar Café , located a short T ride from the Back Bay. Adrienne recommends the Rama Garden, a specialty dish where you can select your favorite meat or veggies, which are steamed and covered in a lovely peanut sauce. Adrienne also highlights Aquitaine , a favorite French restaurant in the South End, or Tapeo on Newbury Street, right in the Back Bay for fantastic tapas. LAT Special Events Co-Chair Laurien Romito loves Lineage in Coolidge Corner, a quaint neighborhood in Brookline, down the street from the birthplace of John F. Kennedy. She enjoys the $1 oysters they serve every day from 5:00-7:00 p.m. This farm-to-table restaurant offers modern American cuisine and is easily accessible by public transportation. If you are willing to venture out to Cambridge, Kristin Vaccaro, LAT conference information and hospitality co-chair, recommends Trina’s Starlight Lounge , which has been featured on Esquire Network’s “Best Bars in America” and the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” Kristin always goes for their “Dog of the Day,” but their menu is outstanding and changes with the seasons. Trina’s is also known for their chicken and waffles, as well as their blue plate special. In addition, the restaurant has spaghetti and meatball night on Tuesdays and Sloppy Joe night on Wednesdays. If you are looking for a family-friendly place to eat, LAT Special Events Co-Chair Theresa Higgs recommends Flatbread Company . Diners can bowl as they eat, and with a variety of pizzas and salads, everyone is certain to find something they like! Theresa also loves The Painted Burro for Mexican food and Redbones for real BBQ. Her selections are found in Somerville in Davis Square, easily accessible by public transportation. For a scenic dinner, LAT Program Support Co-Chair Kathleen Sparaco suggests Alma Nove in Hingham, Massachusetts. The setting for this restaurant is beautiful, and the blending of Italian and Mediterranean cuisine cannot be beat. Kathy explains that you can take a ferry from Rowes Wharf in Boston directly to Hingham, which gives you the chance to see the Boston Harbor Islands along the way. Stacia Biel, LAT co-chair, has several favorites to suggest. She favors two possible options in the North End, Boston’s Italian neighborhood, which boast more than 100 restaurants. Mother Anna’s on Hanover Street, which has been around since 1932, and Bricco , fine Italian dining with a late night menu, serving until 2:00 a.m. Stacia also loves the Union Oyster House , a classic New England favorite at Quincy Market, or Figs , a casual bistro that has two locations (Back Bay or Charlestown) with locally famous chef Todd English serving unique pizzas. She also enjoys Meyers and Chang , which serves contemporary Asian fusion dishes in a modern diner setting. If you have spent time in Boston, what restaurants would you recommend to the out-of-towners? Clare O’Brien is the Local Arrangements Team (LAT) communications chair for the NAFSA 2015 Annual Conference & Expo. Originally from Buffalo, New York, Clare has lived in the Boston area for more than 20 years. She spent close to 10 years overseeing international student advising and study abroad at Fitchburg State University in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, and worked as an international educator in Wisconsin, New York, and Massachusetts while she earned both her master’s and doctorate degrees. Clare currently works part-time as an international education consultant where she has assisted several local universities and third-party providers. She is also coediting an anthology of short stories titled From Bangkok to Boston: Inspiring Stories of Travel and Adventure from International Educators.

[via NAFSA: Association of International Educators Blog]

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Now, Ireland has joined the list of nations which are actively seeking to attract Indian students to their universities.

[via International – IndiaEduNews.net]

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By María José Angel Mex As an early Christmas present last year, I was appointed by NAFSA as a consular affairs liaison to the Italian consulate in Houston, Texas. At the time, I had an idea of what my responsibilities would be, but I knew I still had a lot to learn. This proved to be true earlier this yearwhen I attended NAFSA’s consular affairs liaison (CAL) training in Washington D.C, along with the 40 other members of the  CAL Subcommittee. You might be wondering what exactly CALs do. To put it briefly, we try to help. CALs belong to country groups (France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the “World-at-Large”;) and represent the education abroad (EA) community to one of the consulates of those countries in the United States. We gather as much information as possible from our consulate and share it with the EA community, primarily through the Visas for Education Abroad section of http://www.nafsa.org . But that’s not all—there is a tool called EA Visa Help , also on the NAFSA website, through which advisors can submit inquiries or cases related to visa applications for U.S. students going abroad. CALs are assigned to these cases and provide feedback to help solve the problem or answer the question. Sometimes we will refer to previous cases to answer the query, while at other times we will liaise with the consulate and then get back to the institution or advisor. I cannot express how much I learned at the CAL training, from both my colleagues and the consulate visits. I had the opportunity to visit the French consulate in D.C., and attend a session presented by the United Kingdom Visas and Immigration Agency. I also learned from my colleagues’ visits to the German, Costa Rican, and Spanish consulates. We had the chance to interact and work together as country teams to coordinate and prepare updates, and plan for Collegial Conversations that will be taking place in the months to come. From the visits to the consulates, from my conversations with other CALs, and from exploring the EA Visa Help tool, I am amazed at how much has been accomplished to build a bridge between our institutions and the consulates, and at how much can still be done. My fellow CALs and I are looking forward to the NAFSA 2015 Annual Conference & Expo in Boston, Massachuestts, not only to share our insights , but to hear from the EA community and what they have to say on visa-related topics. I am extremely happy to be part of the CAL Subcommittee. There is so much that we as NAFSAns can give back to the EA community. We all learn, we all know something, and by volunteering with NAFSA , we can share it and make an impact, not only on the EA community, but also on a student’s life. María José Angel Mex is Director of University Relations at Instituto Lorenzo de’ Medici, and Consular Affairs Liaison to the Consulate General of Italy in Houston.

[via NAFSA: Association of International Educators Blog]

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It is going awesome here! I’m currently on mid-semester break and a few of us flew down to Brisbane and are driving back up to Cairns over the next 5 days. I definitely would love to send pictures, but my computer recently has stopped working. I’m trying to get it fixed but no luck so far. I should have a post on the SFS blog soon and I’ll let you know when I do!   So far on our break we have seen the beach near Brisbane and drove up to this overlook that looked out over Brisbane last night. It was absolutely beautiful. Today we drove up to Mt. Tamborine and saw some glow worms. Then we made our way to Springbrook National Park where we saw another cave with glow worms. Apparently the only places you can see them is in Australia and New Zealand which is really cool. We got to Springbrook pretty late so it was dark and going into the cave was amazing. It was pitch black and the roof was speckled with little white dots. It looked like the stars on the most clear night ever. It was so amazing and there was a waterfall right in the middle of the cave with the moonlight shining right down the middle. Unfortunately, it was too dark for me to get any really good pictures.   Some other cool things that have happened…. We went to an animal caretaker and saw a baby Agile Wallaby (which I got to hold), a Pademelon, a baby Ring-tailed Possum, and, my personal favorite, a Lumholtz’s Tree Kangaroo which was just absolutely beautiful. We also went to visit the Daintree, but we had to leave early because a cyclone was on its way. We’re probably going back after mid-semester break though. I’ll keep you posted on what else is going on. It’s been an amazing trip so far. 

[via Who’s Abroad!]

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By Leah Newell My name is Leah Newell. 2015 begins the second year of my serving as chair of the NAFSA Membership Committee. Wait! Don’t leave! I know you are busy and probably have NO interest in the exciting topic of “The Role of the Membership Committee.” However, give me 5 minutes of your time and I promise you will gain some valuable information. Remember, if you know more, you can do more! So here we go. Who we are NAFSA’s Membership Committee is a group of NAFSA professional international educator members from a wide range of regions, focus areas, experience levels, and backgrounds. All of which help us do what we do. What we are responsible for Basically, the Membership Committee helps NAFSA’s national staff know what the membership is thinking, doing, and wanting to see. We also give information about trends, problems, needs and what’s going on in the world of our members. We make recommendations about policies, procedures, and structures for membership in NAFSA to the vice president for Professional Development and Engagement. More specifically, we are responsible for: Recognizing the changing and sustained diversity of our membership through recruitment and retention and ensuring their specific needs are highlighted and examined; Promoting and supporting the work and availability of the Member Interest Groups (MIGs); Illuminating the varying challenges and contributions of the members and conference participants based outside the United States; Examining needs of potential new members; Recognizing the work of our members through facilitating the promotion and growth of national awards; Encouraging the use and knowledge of NAFSA’s statement of ethical principles; Ensuring a regional voice and involvement in the evolving membership needs and changes Informing staff of recent trends and resource needs for the career center. Most importantly, we are here to represent you and to reach out to member communities. We are interested in the current members and potential ones as we understand that if NAFSA is to remain a formidable force in the field of international education, we must be aware of the composition, challenges, and contributions of the field as a whole. However, as a team, the Membership Committee is committed to ensuring the value of your membership. We utilize this combined knowledge, in partnership with the NAFSA Membership Department in Washington, D.C., and additional knowledge gained from other member leaders and organized groups of international educators, such as regions, MIGs, and knowledge communities, to promote change. Although we endeavor to be your eyes, ears, and voice, passing on information or advocating for important changes to our association, we are only as strong as we are informed. This is where you come in. It is important for you to understand and believe that you play a pivotal role in the advancement of the association. A personal commitment to sharing that idea, voicing that concern, communicating that challenge with the Membership Committee equips us with the knowledge and information we need to initiate potential transformative changes. Know that, you are NAFSA, we are NAFSA, and the national staff in Washington is NAFSA. We must all work together to ensure the face of NAFSA that we project to the world reflects all of us and who we all are. This can only happen if you are equally committed to sharing your thoughts, accomplishments, etc. with us. We WANT to hear from you. We NEED to hear from you. As mentioned earlier, we are tasked with a broad portfolio; however, if you are unsure if we are the right group to contact with your question or comment, contact us anyway. We will make sure your message is either addressed by us or passed on to the appropriate individual. Please contact membership@nafsa.org. We work directly with the Senior Director of Membership, Ms. Leslie Taylor, who will share your message with us or contact me directly at leah_newell@the-newell-post.com . I am happy to hear your thoughts. One last thing. Not that this is a test or anything, but I do hope you now know, if you didn’t already, “The Role of the Membership Committee.” So…what do we do? The Membership Committee serves as a team to represent the NAFSA member’s and potential members’ challenges, interests, accomplishments, and more toward building a stronger association and ultimately a sound international education field. Exactly! Leah Newell is chair of NAFSA’s Membership Committee and a private consultant offering professional solutions for international education organizational needs.

[via NAFSA: Association of International Educators Blog]

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By Clare O’Brien My role for the next two weeks is to whet your appetite as you start to plan your time in Boston for the NAFSA 2015 Annual Conference & Expo. I can’t think of a better way to do this than to introduce you to some of the many restaurant options in Boston over the next two blog entries. Get ready, foodies, the possibilities are endless! In order to get a handle on the variety of cuisines and price ranges, I found it easiest to highlight restaurants according to geographic areas, starting of course with the Seaport neighborhood close to the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. For those of you without much time to explore, there are at least a dozen restaurants within walking distance. Photo by Eric Chan , under Creative Commons public license ) Legal Harborside is a three-story seafood eatery offering a casual, family-friendly first-floor restaurant (moderately priced entrees) and a second-floor high-end dining option with fresh catch of the day entrées and floor-to-ceiling views of the Boston Harbor. If you would just like to have a snack or a drink, check out the third-floor rooftop lounge and bar. Tamo Bistro and Bar is a great place to meet up with friends and share a few small plates because one would not want to miss out on all that is listed on their menu, from sushi to swordfish skewers. Pizza and a tasty variety of sandwiches are also available to patrons. For upscale Mexican cuisine, Temazcal is a nearby option. With more than 250 types of tequila and a beautiful view of Boston Harbor, who could ask for more? Rosa Mexicana is not as high end, but the food here is amazing! It is sure to be busy, but the service is great and the tacos and duck tinga is outstanding. During the day, this is also a nice family-friendly option. Photo by Henry Zbyszynski , under Creative Commons public license ) Soak up the New England culture and enjoy the catch of the day at The Barking Crab, located at the edge of the historic Fort Point Channel. This casual dining first started as a traditional outdoor clam shack, but has grown into a year-round favorite among locals. It houses an extensive raw bar and patrons can choose from several fresh seafood dishes. If you are on a tight budget, Boloco Inspired Burritos, the Chowda Company, and Sebastian’s Café all offer quick and tasty lunch options. I polled several Bostonians to come up with this list, but if you are familiar with this area of Boston and would like to add your suggestions, please feel free to comment. Stay tuned next week for more restaurants in other parts of Boston! What restaurants are you planning to visit? Tell us in the comments. Clare O’Brien is the Local Arrangements Team (LAT) communications chair for the NAFSA 2015 Annual Conference & Expo. Originally from Buffalo, New York, Clare has lived in the Boston area for more than 20 years. She spent close to 10 years overseeing international student advising and study abroad at Fitchburg State University in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, and worked as an international educator in Wisconsin, New York, and Massachusetts while she earned both her master’s and doctorate degrees. Clare currently works part-time as an international education consultant where she has assisted several local universities and third-party providers. She is also coediting an anthology of short stories titled From Bangkok to Boston: Inspiring Stories of Travel and Adventure from International Educators.

[via NAFSA: Association of International Educators Blog]

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New Delhi: A recent joint study conducted by ASSOCHAM-Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) has revealed that the majority of Indian students seeking higher education feel that Indian institutions are not up to international standards and seek their higher education qualifications in foreign countries with reputed and high ranked universities.

[via International – IndiaEduNews.net]

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New Delhi: Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, the Minister of State for Minority Affairs recently revealed a new scheme for studies abroad by students of minority communities – ‘Padho Pardesh’ that will decrease the interest rates on educational loans taken by minority students in India for studies abroad from 2014-2015.

[via International – IndiaEduNews.net]

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It’s been a while since I sent an update. I’ve been pretty busy and haven’t really had reliable access to internet. So I think last update was the aboriginal trip. It was absolutely awesome!! I loved meeting them and seeing how they felt about the land. They really feel as though they are a part of it rather than the land being theirs to own. Very fascinating and a sentiment that I can agree with.    We also took a trip to a place called Chillagoe on the edge of the outback. We went caving and took some hikes around the outback. That night we laid out under the stars and it was the most amazing view I’ve ever seen. The stars there were absolutely beautiful. It was the clearest sky I’ve ever seen. No trees in the way, no smog, no clouds. You could see a billion stars. You could even see the M ilky W ay stretching across the sky.  After Chillagoe it was back to the center at the rainforest to get ready for homestays. I stayed with two other students and had an amazing time with the family we stayed with. It was really interesting to see how their lives center so much around the outdoors. The houses are built with HUGE verandas and sliding glass doors that open the whole house up to the outdoors.   Then we had a weekend in Cairns where a group of us went to a place called Green Island. It was absolutely awesome. We got to snorkel all day and saw some REALLY cool looking fish and coral. I also found this weird invertebrate that looks kinda like a caddisfly larvae on steroids. My professor couldn’t even identify it so we sent a picture of it in to a museum to help us identify it. The island was absolutely beautiful and we were a little disappointed when we had to leave.   We’ve also been going to tree plantings ever day. In one weekend we planted 3200 trees which was absolutely amazing. It was actually a lot of fun too. It isn’t all fun and games here though. We do have classes. A lot of the classes are field work identifying different animals and keeping field logs. We do a lot of social economic data collecting and also some field work regarding botany. 

[via Who’s Abroad!]

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By Clare O’Brien We all know how easy it is to fill one’s schedule with back-to-back meetings, sessions, and events during the NAFSA Annual Conference & Expo. But please don’t forget to leave time to explore the beautiful city of Boston during your stay in New England. The list of things to do in Boston can be overwhelming, so I thought I would try to choose my top 10 favorite activities to share with you in my blog this week. If you can make this trip a family vacation, you will not be disappointed. All the things on my list are perfect for people of all ages! Walk the Freedom Trail This 2.5-mile walk takes you through downtown Boston and brings to life several famous sites where events leading up to the American Revolution took place. As you follow the red brick path in the sidewalk, you will pass several well-known locations, including Faneuil Hall, the Granary Burial Grounds, the site of the Boston Massacre, the Old North Church, and the Bunker Hill Monument. The trail finally winds up in Charlestown at the USS Constitution. There is a Visitor Center at the Boston Common with more information about walking this route with a guide (if you are so inclined), but it is easy to do on your own, at your own pace, and you really can’t get lost! Take in some culture and visit a museum There are several world-renowned museums throughout the city of Boston. These include the Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Science, the Museum of African American History, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Museum, the Children’s Museum, the New England Aquarium, the Harvard University Museum of Natural History, and the Institute of Contemporary Art, among others. My favorite is the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Get a bird’s eye view of the city Go to the top of the Prudential Center at the Skywalk Observatory and see a 360-degree view from the 50th floor of one of the tallest buildings in Boston. Shop until you drop So many shopping areas to choose from-Newbury Street (the Rodeo Drive of Boston), Downtown Crossing for more traditional shoppers, the Prudential Center Mall (or the Pru), which contains more than 70 stores, and let’s not forget Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market where you can visit a variety of specialty stores and watch street performers at the same time. Take a walk in the park The most well-known parks in Boston include the Boston Common and the Public Gardens, located right in the center of town. These are connected to several smaller parks that extend more than 7 miles throughout the city and are known as the Emerald Necklace. Recently, a major elevated highway was moved underground and the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway was created in its place. This series of parks and gardens, which connect many of Boston’s old neighborhoods, is also definitely worth seeing. Love that Muddy Water The Charles River is the main waterway in Boston and provides a lovely backdrop for a run or bike ride along the paths of the Esplanade. The Charles is also a fun place to go kayaking, canoeing, community sailing, or cruising on a Duck Boat Tour. Tour Fenway Park When I moved here 20 years ago, I quickly learned about how Fenway Park is one of the oldest and most historic baseball parks in Major League Baseball. Although the Red Sox will not have a home game during the conference, feel free to buy a ticket for a one-hour tour and enjoy this opportunity to sit atop the Green Monster. Theater Boston’s theater scene is alive and kicking. Venues range from the Colonial Theater to the Boston Opera House. Ongoing shows include the Blue Man Group and Boston Improv, and if you plan it right, you can even see the Boston Ballet perform. Visit Chinatown The third-largest Chinatown in the United States is located at the edge of the financial district in Boston and is rich with culture, history, tradition, and great food. Take a break in Copley Square Located at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, this area is home to the historical Trinity Church and the Boston Public Library, two examples of fine architecture. Sit by the outdoor fountain and enjoy watching the world go by. Clare O’Brien is the Local Arrangements Team (LAT) communications chair for the NAFSA 2015 Annual Conference & Expo. Originally from Buffalo, New York, Clare has lived in the Boston area for more than 20 years. She spent close to 10 years overseeing international student advising and study abroad at Fitchburg State University in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, and worked as an international educator in Wisconsin, New York, and Massachusetts while she earned both her master’s and doctorate degrees. Clare currently works part-time as an international education consultant where she has assisted several local universities and third-party providers. She is also coediting an anthology of short stories titled From Bangkok to Boston: Inspiring Stories of Travel and Adventure from International Educators .

[via NAFSA: Association of International Educators Blog]

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