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Archive for the ‘Careers’ Category

By Andy Fraher & John Wilkerson

“We’d like to invite our business class cabin to board now. We’ll begin our general boarding process in just a few minutes; please wait for your zone number to be called before approaching the boarding gate.”

Does this announcement leave you feeling anxious and stressed out? How about angry that, in our society, class distinctions still exist? Are you preparing to throw elbows with the rest of the masses to ensure that you can get to your cramped seat and have space to store your carry-on in the overhead bin?

Your reaction likely depends on a number of things, including your comfort level with large groups, your ability to pack items efficiently, and your level of zen in trusting that the airline will deliver you and your belongings to the appropriate place in a reasonable amount of time. As you travel more often, you may even become one of the lucky few who get to board early due to your mileage-based upgrade to business class!

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Mike SmitheeBy Michael Smithee

If you are like me, you have spent your professional life discovering how truly broad the field of international education is. You have developed a fount of knowledge and impressive skills, and likely you do not want to retreat into a shell. (Maybe you want to disengage for a short period of time.)

As you consider your next move, you may find yourself attracted to adventure, or perhaps you will be a searcher for new options, or someone who just lets the day unfold. For myself, I am someone who wanted to continue using my knowledge, skills, and interests in international education. There are many avenues of approach to staying involved: I have three categories.

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By Ellen H. Badger and Shawna Szabo

Networking with professionals can be a daunting task. However, informational interviews can lead to that “foot in the door” we all need when it comes to starting or advancing a career in international education. The truth is that people love to talk about themselves and their career path. Use this to your advantage. Compile a list of professionals in the field that you can contact to arrange a 15- to 20-minute informational interview. Be sure to utilize your college alumni network, former and current colleagues, as well as friends and family members.

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Networking can seem like a daunting task, especially as a young professional. What can I say to impress a potential employer? How can I possibly describe my entire career and life aspirations in a 30-second “elevator” speech? How do I approach a member of the institution I have been longing to work with? The self-serving nature of networking and the pressure to impress is enough to leave anyone feeling queasy.

The truth of the matter is that if networking makes you feel squeamish, you probably aren’t doing it right. Networking should not be a guise for self-promotion. Rather, it should be an attempt to build a genuine relationship, making the experience as much about the other person as it is about you. Networking is hard work, but it should be a positive experience for all parties.

As a young professional in international education, networking is one of the most important things you can do to help advance your career. Knowing your goals, with whom to talk, timing, and what to say is an art—and an important one at that. Building connections in international education takes a network of colleagues and partners who can share advice and experience, and help you find solutions.

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By Barbara Tassa
International education (IE) is a very cool field—you get to connect with people from around the world to help them achieve their goals. That opportunity also presents serious challenges to start-ups.

Can you really afford to service a global marketplace? Apple, Google, and other Fortune 500 companies have multibillion dollar coffers, but the challenges aren’t insurmountable. Here’s how our WeblishPal team has overcome the five hurdles in a cost-effective way.

1. Travel Costs
Maximize your meeting miles. Visiting different countries, schools, or partners can get very expensive. When you are setting up a new partnership it is great to meet face to face, but try to limit actual travel. Set up as many meetings as you can during conferences like NAFSA—that’s where WeblishPal met our local China International Education Exchange Center (IEEC). Encourage online video calls (Skype.com or Vsee.com are both great free tools) and use easy-to-use file-sharing sites to communicate and work more effectively at a distance. For file sharing, we couldn’t live without box.com and join.me, which has been great for hosting remote online meetings with screen share.

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By Heidi Bohn, MA and Sora Friedman, PhD
What is international education? Or perhaps a more modern twist is: What isn’t international education (IE)? A field that once was defined narrowly as international student advising and study abroad in higher education has expanded significantly since its founding. The advent and commonplace usage of air travel instead of boats, the Internet instead of phones and postcards, and the spread of globalization have connected our world in ways we could never have imagined even two decades ago. The result is that working in this field can result in a career of travel, global reach, grassroots interactions, and substantive impact on the lives of others as well as our communities and world.

While most NAFSA members work in higher education settings, the field of IE is ever expanding and can lead one to work in citizen exchange, immigration, refugee programs, international leadership, education policy and advocacy, nonformal education, English as a Second Language, and foreign language learning programs, to name just a few. You can work for the government as a diplomat, field service officer, or program manager. Or perhaps you may end up in the private, nonprofit sector as an agent for social justice and social sustainability, a trainer for the Peace Corps, or as a professor with a PhD. And yes, still yet, you can work with international students or scholars, advising them on their studies and work in the United States, or with U.S. students traveling to study abroad in a high-school, gap year, or university program.

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By Mitch Gordon
If you are already considering entrepreneurship, congratulations. You’ve taken a step few people do. Let’s help you move past the idea phase and to the point where you’re committed to building something special.

We are in the midst of an exciting time for entrepreneurs. There are more resources than ever available to you: start-up programs include YCombinator, TechStars, and 500 Startups and government programs like Startup Chile. Methodologies such as The Lean Startup help founders loosely follow a formula for success. The above said, every community is unique, and NAFSA is certainly no exception. Here are some suggestions for how to follow an entrepreneurial path in the world of international education.

Be a Creative, Entrepreneurial Thinker
From the outside looking in, it may seem that international education has everything it needs. I’d argue the opposite. We need creative, entrepreneurial problem solvers more than ever. The view from my vantage point says we’re in the calm before the storm. Massive, career altering disruption is around the corner for the field of international education. Online education is at the beginning stages of turning the U.S. university system upside down. Everyone will be impacted, including the world of international education. Disruption is chaotic, but it’s also an opportunity for positive change. Think ahead five, 10 years. What will the world of NAFSA look like then? What do students need? Can you create a business model around meeting those needs more efficiently?

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By Mandy Reinig
Many people are using social media for personal and professional reasons. Everyone knows that social media platforms are powerful tools. However, not many people are putting their social media use to work for them and using the power of social media to aid them in their job search. Below are a few tips and tricks to help you along the way and make your social media use work for you.

  • Post to add value to conversations, not simply to be on social media. Diehard social media users can tell the difference.
  • Don’t post anything on any social media platform that you wouldn’t be willing to say to someone’s face. Remember nothing is truly private when it is posted online.
  • Use your social media platforms to connect with colleagues as well as like-minded individuals.
  • Remember to use social media etiquette. For example, when someone mentions you or retweets you on twitter, you should say “thanks.”

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CEO and cofounder of Go Overseas Mitch Gordon, director and founder of The Pie News Amy Baker, former NAFSA Board of Directors member Ellen Badger, social media gurus Mandy Reinig and Mackenzie Hizon. These are just a few of the faces you can find at NAFSA’s Career Advancement Center during the annual conference in St. Louis, Missouri.

The Career Advancement Center at NAFSA’s Annual Conference & Expo has traditionally been a hub for job seekers and employers, providing a venue for international educators to find their professional match. This year, in addition to the usual spread of résumé reviewing, employer information sessions, and knowledge community roundtables, the Career Advancement Center has reached out to some of the leading professionals in the field to host open meetings on topics pertinent to all career levels in international education. Recent graduates, mid-career professionals, and international educators reaching retirement will all find information and resources to help them realize their career goals.

This week we kick off a series of career-oriented blog posts to introduce a few of our presenters and the topics they will cover in St. Louis. John Wilkerson, chair-designate of NAFSA’s Regional Affairs Committee, begins this series with a word about his travel advice session. Stay tuned next week for How to Start a Company in International Education and Making Social Media Work for You: Utilizing Social Media in the Job Search.
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Less than a year ago when I was fresh out of college starting my job search, I was disheartened by the lack of emphasis employers put on my study abroad experience. More often than not, my five months in Europe were discounted as a holiday or “social experiment” as opposed an educational endeavor, the experience overlooked in favor of GPA and the rigor of my courses. In a culture where “study abroad” evokes visions of EuroTrip, how do we help employers realize that students with international experience have the intercultural skills they are looking for in the modern, globalized workplace?

A new report published by the British Council, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Ipsos Public Affairs attempts to better understand how intercultural skills are considered, assessed, and developed. The research confirms that intercultural skills are pertinent to today’s global workplace, but perhaps more interesting is how the data exposes the value and meaning each country attaches to those skills.

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