By Stephanie Martell The NAFSA Annual Conference & Expo brings together thousands of international education professionals from all over the world. This presents an interesting opportunity to network and create connections in the field. But if you arrive at the conference expecting to make connections only through haphazard encounters at sessions, you may achieve only limited success. You need forethought and preparation. To effectively make use of time at NAFSA 2016, you must communicate with intention. For me, pre-conference preparation begins with self reflection. I look at where I am and where I would like to be in the near and distant future. With this vision in mind, I research. For example, if my goal in the future is a particular job, I look at the following: what experience others in the position have; what skills are asked for in position descriptions; what networks these professionals are tapped into; how they comport themselves, etc. Then I look at my skills and my own story: what would be advantageous to do or to develop? what would I need to do to bridge the gap? These items will guide my professional development in the future as well as my immediate conference plan. With a conference strategy set, I will have an idea of where I will be going, whom I will be engaging with, and for what purpose. The questions then become what do I need to communicate and what tools are most appropriate. If I am going to be attending job sessions in the NAFSA 2016 Career Center, I will prepare and bring hard copies of my résumé. If I am open to a position in different tracks of international education, I will prepare separate iterations of my résumé that highlight different key items. Outside of the career center, I will hand out my card. If I am in conversation regarding a potential job or personal collaboration, then it will be a networking card of my own design. This card will be simple: contact information (cell and professional e-mail) and the URL (web address) of my LinkedIn profile. As this is about creating an impression, a bit of flair or creativity never hurts. My first card was printed recto-verso: English on one side and French on the other to advertise the fact that I was bilingual without overtly stating it. Even if my plans do not include networking cards, I know that colleagues will seek me out on LinkedIn. So I take time to complete and update my profile before the conference. Here are some tips on updating your profile: URL : Personalize it Location : Change it to where you would like a job Additional Information : Hobbies give recruiters the ability to connect with an applicant. Skills and Endorsements : Look at position descriptions to discern what skills are valuable. Experience : Formatting can be more narrative than a resume. Use concrete numbers and list technology and software used. If you are a mid-level professional, remove college work and dated information. Organizations : Besides NAFSA, join and list your regional organizations. Membership is generally free, conference rates are reasonable, and they are a great place to start building your network. Privacy Settings : Make yourself more visible during and immediately following the conference. This type of preparation allows me to feel confident entering the conference hall. All that is left to do is smile. Stephanie Martell is international student advisor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

[via NAFSA: Association of International Educators Blog]

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By Brad Sekulich A career in study abroad was not on my radar when I was an undergraduate student, or even for some time after that. The path that has brought me to the field of education abroad–my chosen field for almost 20 years now–has been very interesting and one I never would have anticipated. The financial need for a job while working on a PhD led me to take my first job in international education at Texas Tech University. I was their first full-time study abroad advisor and left after a year to become the first full-time study abroad coordinator at University of Texas-Arlington. It’s important to note that I was the first full-timer at these institutions, serving in positions that are now very common. It says a lot about the field’s development in the past two decades. It really is impressive to see the growth of opportunities in education abroad, mostly because it means there is more need for our services. The American mindset is globalizing, albeit more slowly than for most of our liking. As the field has evolved in the past two decades, so too have the ways we enter it, work in it, and promote it. Now many, if not most, folks working in or wanting to work in education abroad do so intentionally and with quite a bit of forethought. To help these folks, I will be joining with two colleagues, Seth Riker from the University of Kentucky and Giustina Pelosi from CEA Study Abroad, to host a career panel on “Breaking into Education Abroad,” at NAFSA 2016. We will discuss employment in education abroad from three perspectives on the career continuum: someone who is relatively new to the field; a mid-career professional; and a seasoned campaigner. We will talk about how we each entered education abroad and provide tips for getting into and moving around in the dynamic field today. We hope to give out some good advice, a few teachable points, and add to the understanding of how our chosen profession is growing and changing. Join us on Thursday, June 2, from 2:00 p.m.–2:45 p.m., for “ Breaking into Education Abroad ” in the Career Center located in Four Seasons Ballroom 4.

[via NAFSA: Association of International Educators Blog]

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The Trip That Changed My Life – A Book for Charity For those of you that follow me on Facebook (What? You don’t? Shame on you!) you already know that one of my stories will be published in a Travel Anthology called “The Trip That Changed My Life“. I am so excited to be part of […] The post The Trip That Changed My Life – A Book for Charity appeared first on Maria Abroad .

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A Different Kind of Cruise – #traveldeep #Traveldeep is the hashtag of a different kind of travel experience. Last week, I returned from a cruise to the Dominican Republic with Fathom Travel. Yes, they are the ones that were recently in the news after being the first US-based cruise ship to travel to Cuba. That […] The post A Different Kind of Cruise – #traveldeep appeared first on Maria Abroad .

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Last Minute Tips

by Paul Joseph on May 23, 2016 · 0 comments

By Michele Friedmann As you plan for your trip to Denver and start packing, please consider the following tips and suggestions. The sky in Denver is bluer, the air is thinner and dryer, and alcohol is gong to hit you much harder! But don’t let the high altitude scare you. As long as you come prepared, you’ll be able to fully enjoy your week in Denver! Denver is nicknamed the Mile High City because its official elevation is exactly one mile (5,280 feet) above sea level, making it one of the highest major cities in the United States! In fact, the 11th step on the state capitol building is labeled “One Mile Above Sea Level.” It was discovered in 2002 that Denver is actually 3 feet higher than previously thought so there’s some debate over whether the correct step. is marked But whether it’s the 11th step or another, either way there’s one step that sits at exactly 5,280 feet! Altitude Effects Interested in improving your golf score? You’re in luck! In Denver, golf balls go 10 percent farther due to the low air density. The effects are similar in baseball—fly balls typically transfer 5 percent farther at Coors Field than at Fenway. In this rarified air, cocktails go much further too. Alcoholic beverages hit you much harder at high altitudes than at sea level. It’s highly recommended that you take it easy on alcohol. If you don’t, you’ll certainly feel it the next day. Trust me on this one. What to Bring On average, Denver has 300 sunny days per year. Pack sunscreen and sunglasses and wear them, especially if you plan on taking advantage of the many hikes and biking trails that surround Denver. The sun feels warmer because you’re closer to it and if you aren’t careful you can end up with a bad sunburn. Your coffee may be a bit cooler here since the high altitude means that water boils at 202 degrees. Remember lip balm as well. Denver is extremely dry. The reason is sky is bluer here than in most places is that there’s less water vapor in the air. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate Drink plenty of water! This can’t be reiterated enough. Drink plenty of water before your trip and plenty more while you’re here. Staying hydrated is hands down the best way to help your body adjust to the high altitude. Since low humidity keeps the air dry, you need twice as much water here as you would at home. Don’t get frustrated if you feel sluggish working out in Denver. The effects of exercise are more intense as well. For example, if you run 10 miles at home you may want to try running 6 miles in Denver. Weather Check weather.com a few days before you trip to find the latest weather and temperature updates. Due to the strong effects of the sun, it can feel much warmer in direct sunlight than what the temperate is. However, it does tend to get chillier at night. Pack layers! And remember, the weather here can change in a heartbeat— from sun and warmth to rain and even a chance of snow! If the weather forecast for the week is sunny, I suggest you pack at least one warm outfit and a rain jacket just in case. Airport Transfer The University of Colorado A Line now transports visitors from Denver International Airport (DIA) to downtown Denver for just $9! The 23 miles of rail make transportation for travelers easier than ever. This new line opened April 22, 2016 so it’s great timing for NAFSA conference attendees! Your hotel should be within walking distance or a short Uber ride away from Union Station, the drop off point. You could also take advantage of the RTD 16th Street Mall Ride . This free ride stops at every block between Civic Center and the Union Station. We always tell our students to break out of their comfort zones and utilize public transportation like the locals do when they’re abroad, so I encourage you to do the same in Denver. Looking forward to seeing you soon! Michele Friedmann is the Local Arrangements Team (LAT) communications chair for the NAFSA 2016 Annual Conference & Expo. Michele was born and raised in Reading, Pennsylvania. She attended Gettysburg College where her love for study abroad began. Michele spent a semester in Australia, circumnavigated the globe on Semester at Sea, and student taught in London. Michele earned a master’s degree from the School for International Training in the area of international education. She interned for Barcelona SAE as a program and student adviser. She has worked for the Institute of International Education and the Fulbright Foreign Student Program. Michele is currently the student and program manager for Global Players, a study abroad program geared toward student athletes.

[via NAFSA: Association of International Educators Blog]

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By Patricia Jones When I got my first business card, I was so excited. Here at last was proof that I was a recognized professional in a position of authority in international education. I could exchange it with my peers, provide it to my students, and present it to individuals from around the world. This was validation of who I was. For years, I carried it proudly in my card case. It was a part of my personal identification. But then came the day that it no longer defined me. I was retiring. Many of us look forward to the day when we don’t have to get up early in the morning, dress for work, and do our jobs all day. However, as we close in on that rite of passage known as “retirement,” we often have concerns about how we will adjust. What will we do with our time? How will we replace the interactions with our colleagues? Will we still grow intellectually? Our lives are so filled with individuals we serve, people we nurture, and cross-cultural experiences we share that we are not sure about the whole process of moving into this new world of unknowns. Whether we anticipate it or dread the idea, retirement comes to all of us. In the Career Center at the NAFSA 2016 Annual Conference and Expo in Denver, a panel of retirees will discuss these issues in a session called, “Positioning for Retirement.” I will be joined by Deborah Pierce, formerly from Northern Illinois University and newly retired in 2015, and Kay Thomas of the University of Minnesota, a retiree for several years. The panel will provide an in-depth examination of how we can prepare ourselves for this change. As we will discover, no one way is the right way to prepare ourselves for this new life adventure. Join us as we consider strategies for preparing for retirement and activities for involvement after retirement. It’s never too soon to plan for an eventuality of life. And it’s never too soon to create a new name card!! Join us on Wednesday, June 1, from 2:00 p.m.–2:45 p.m., for our presentation, “ Positioning for Retirement ,” in the Career Center located in Four Seasons Ballroom 4.

[via NAFSA: Association of International Educators Blog]

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We landed on Sunday around 1, and made our way to lunch at this amazing Puerto Rican food place. We then made our way to Ponce (long drive) and saw some monuments on the way there. (Literally in the exact middle of the island!)   On Monday morning we devoured a great breakfast then made our way to the Sister Isolina Center for learning. We started off with meeting the directors and learning about what Sister Isolina did for Puerto Rico.  After that we had the opportunity to tour the facilities and introduce ourselves to the students. We volunteered and  helped prepare for the students’ graduation by raking and cleaning all of the leaves on the facility. 

[via Who’s Abroad!]

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Mother Tongue: Book Review Mother Tongue: Book Synopsis *Disclaimer: Post contains affiliate links Mother Tongue: My Family’s Globe-Trotting Quest to Dream in Mandarin, Laugh in Arabic, and Sing in Spanish by Christine Gilbert is a travel memoir that focuses on language learning through immersion. The Gilbert Family embarks on an quest to learn the three most wildly […] The post Mother Tongue: Book Review appeared first on Maria Abroad .

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By Kashanna Fair (Photo Credit: @scsuabroad on Instagram) Map? Check. SmarTrip? Check. Hill appointments confirmed? Check. In March, at the 2016 NAFSA Advocacy Day, more than 100 NAFSA advocates, representing over 30 states and districts across the United States, came to Washington, D.C., to address topics integral to international education with their elected officials on Capitol Hill. Advocates shared the benefits of international students coming to the United States, the importance of American college students studying abroad, high-skilled immigration reform, and the need for betterment of U.S.-Cuba relations. One particular group that came to Advocacy Day represented Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU). I had the opportunity to follow this dynamic group throughout the day. They were a diverse and energetic group of 10 students and four faculty members who came to meet their congressional delegation. Excited and talkative, the college students strategized how they were going to engage with their leaders. The group met with staff from the offices of Senator Richard Blumenthal and Representatives Rosa DeLauro and John Larson to discuss high-skilled immigration reform and legislation that would end the U.S. trade embargo and travel ban on Cuba. When I asked them why they were participating in Advocacy Day, the students spoke about their experience abroad and how they believe Cubans and Americans should be able to have that enriching exchange. The SCSU group not only came in with strong numbers, but they also came in with rich stories and experiences. Eager and unabashed, the students were excited for the day. Each student had a pivotal role in showcasing their advocacy and persuasion skills. The students expressed the importance of studying abroad and how it has enhanced academic and professional careers, leaving them fulfilled and accomplished. In their meetings on Capitol Hill, I watched the students transform into advocates right before my eyes. They told congressional staffers about the Cuba Trade Act ( H.R. 3238 ),  and Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act  ( S. 299 ; H.R. 664 ), bills that would provide a promising ground for international exchange. One student, Alicia Divito, traveled to Italy in the Fall 2015 semester where she was immersed in Italian language and culture. She ecstatically explained to Senator Blumenthal’s education policy and foreign policy staffers about her experience. Valuing her experience abroad, Divito stated that Cuban and U.S. students should have the opportunity to do so as well ( see a NAFSA analysis of the number of U.S. students studying in Cuba ). But the embargo and travel ban currently make these educational exchanges unnecessarily difficult ( view the NAFSA legislative chart ). The travel ban and embargo on Cuba limit economic, cultural, and academic exchanges between Cuban and the United States. Ekaterina Vezhenkova, an international student from Russia, revealed her firsthand experience of her education thus far at SCSU. She expressed her desire to continue her education in the United States and that high-skilled immigrants are beneficial to this country. In Senator Blumenthal’s office, the staffers were also study abroad alums who were able to travel to Athens and Thailand. The staffers expressed how their academic endeavors and professional careers benefited from having a study abroad experience. Thanks to our advocates, 13 additional representatives have cosponsored the House Cuba travel bill and one additional Senator has cosponsored the Senate Cuba travel bill. NAFSA’s Advocacy Day depends on students and international educators to share their stories and continue the dialogue with their elected officials to help advance policy. Advocacy Day 2016 was a success thanks to these students and all our other advocates. But advocacy doesn’t happen just in one day, it is most impactful when relationships are built over time. To stay up-to-date on how you can take action year-round, sign up for action alerts on Connecting Our World and join the NAFSA Cuba Engagement Initiative community on Network NAFSA. Kashanna Fair is an intern working with the Public Policy team at NAFSA: Association of International Educators. She has a B.A. in International and Global Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

[via NAFSA: Association of International Educators Blog]

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In late 2014, President Obama announced that the United States would be charting a new course on Cuba. The news was warmly welcomed by proponents of education diplomacy who had been advocating for improved policies to support U.S.-Cuba relations for a decade. To mark the one-year anniversary of the president’s historic announcement, NAFSA launched the NAFSA Cuba Engagement Initiative , building on the organization’s longstanding focus on Latin America and Cuba, and redoubling its commitment to the use of academic partnerships for the United States and Cuba to more effectively engage with, and learn from, one another. As international educators, we are proud to see exchanges featured so prominently as a key diplomacy tool for improving relations between Cuba and the United States. Despite these administrative advancements, the president can only act within the bounds of the law, which means that these policy changes are regulatory only . Our new era of normalization cannot be made permanent until Congress acts to repeal the embargo and end the travel ban to Cuba for U.S. citizens. As international educators work tirelessly to build sustainable partnerships between U.S. and Cuban institutions, the laws that dictate our policies undercut our efforts. We cannot be a globally engaged United States while the outdated embargo on Cuba is still in place. In my last blog post, I offered five reasons why ending the U.S. embargo and travel ban on Cuba matters to international educators. Through the NAFSA Cuba Engagement Initiative, you can ensure your voice as a professional in this field resonates in the halls of Congress and campuses alike. The initiative is comprised of two key projects: 1. The Cuba-U.S. Higher Education Dialogue Project focuses on supporting academic partnerships and provides on-going teaching and learning events in which participants gain insights and expertise about the Cuban and U.S. higher education landscapes. 2. The Educators for Cuba Campaign provides policy leadership and targeted advocacy campaigns to educate members of Congress on the value of international education, U.S.-Cuba engagement, and the need to end the embargo. Together, these two projects offer international educators, higher education leaders, and advocates from the United States and Cuba significant opportunities to network, build capacity, and make a meaningful impact on Capitol Hill. The upcoming 2016 NAFSA Annual Conference and Expo in Denver, Colorado, features a special Cuba focus track. Take advantage of this robust schedule of programming to help build successful academic partnerships and increase student and scholar mobility between the United States and Cuba. If you can’t make it to Denver, there are still plenty of ways to stay up-to-date with Cuba-related news, resources, and advocacy campaigns year-round: Join the Cuba Engagement Online Community to share best practices for capacity building, discuss programs, get policy updates, and join advocacy efforts to end the U.S. embargo on Cuba. Learn about the recent regulatory changes that have a practical impact education abroad programs in Cuba. Learn why regulatory reforms aren’t enough and how you can build meaningful relationships with your elected officials. Connect with peers to share experiences, access practice resources and policy tools , ask questions, collaborate, and advocate. Receive information on future live events and campaigns. Show your support on social media: #EndtheEmbargo. At NAFSA, we believe that travel is inherently educational and is a human right. Cuba is no exception. Join us .

[via NAFSA: Association of International Educators Blog]

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