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Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

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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Robin LernerWe recently posed this question to Robin Lerner, deputy assistant secretary for private sector exchange at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and her staff.  As part of our regular agency liaison, NAFSA staff and David Elwell, chair of NAFSA’s International Student and Scholar Regulatory Practice Committee (ISS-RP), met with  Ms. Lerner to discuss her vision and plans for the Exchange Visitor Program, which she oversees, and to convey the needs and concerns of the academic community.

Ms. Lerner accepted NAFSA’s offer to host a teleconference so that she could engage with the academic community, and we hope that you will participate. It’s a great opportunity for members of the academic community who have an interest in the Exchange Visitor Program to learn how the program will be managed going forward.

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As institutions work to internationalize their campuses, gathering leaders from various offices to share ideas can be difficult. NAFSA webinars present a unique opportunity to bring multiple departments together to collaborate on university-wide issues related to international education.

“Your challenge on a big campus is how to get people involved and how to get them to take ownership of something that they don’t view as their responsibility,” said Joe Potts, associate dean of International Programs and director of International Students and Scholars at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

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NAFSA Webinars“They are not asking new questions. They are not posing new problems,” says Megan Wang of Chinese students coming to the United States for undergraduate study. “It’s a question of scale. There are more of them than ever before.”

Wang is the associate director of undergraduate admission at the University of Southern California (USC), and she, like many other professionals working with international students and scholars, has seen a significant increase in the number of Chinese high school students applying to universities and colleges in the United States. She says that undergraduate applications to USC from China have increased steadily in the past few years, topping out at over 2,200 applicants. “I am hoping that it might start to stabilize,” she says, noting that further increases would not be surprising.

Wang will copresent a NAFSA webinar on September 12 titled “Today’s Chinese Student: What Really Matters.” Wang works mainly in admissions and recruitment while her copresenter, Sufei Li, organizes exchange programs for Chinese university students.

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I had the great pleasure of welcoming international education advocates representing 31 states and the District of Columbia, to Washington, DC, as part of NAFSA’s Advocacy Day last week.

There were many highlights to the program on the first day, including a new format for the newcomers briefing, which gave all first-time participants the opportunity to interact with colleagues from across the country to prepare for their meetings on the hill. During the general briefing, the Advocate of the Year Award was presented to DeDe Long of the University of Arkansas, for her work in engaging her elected officials and promoting policies that support international education and exchange.

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U.S. Capitol BuildingOnce again, I am inspired by the energy from our community of international education advocates. Last week nearly 100 of you from across the country came to Washington, D.C., for NAFSA’s Advocacy Day, and the excitement was contagious. We were particularly pleased to have with us this year a strong contingent of enthusiastic student advocates from Ramapo College of New Jersey.

Advocates had the great pleasure of hearing from Meredith McQuaid, Associate Vice President and Dean at the University of Minnesota and current NAFSA President and Chair of the Board of Directors. Meredith’s remarks energized participants for their meetings on “the Hill” and inspired everyone to stay involved in advocating for a more peaceful and just world once they get back home.

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Loveness SchaferBy Loveness Schafer
I was excited when NAFSA Region III offered me a scholarship to attend the 2010 NAFSA Advocacy Day event in Washington, DC. I wanted NAFSA to know that I will put the money to good use. But what use?

I never thought of myself as a lobbyist or an advocate for anything international. I had never attended Advocacy Day before, never been to Capitol Hill, and the thought of going to Washington to advocate for international education made me nervous.

At Advocacy Day, I met international educators from across the country: immigration advisors like me, as well as folks who worked in study abroad programs, academic affairs, and other areas of international education. Some were more nervous than I was; others seemed confident and passionate. The clairvoyant NAFSA staff seemed to know exactly how anxious we newcomers felt. Seasoned advocates spoke about being uneasy themselves when they first attended Advocacy Day. That helped relieve my concerns. By the end of the day I felt a part of one big happy advocacy family. I was ready to hit the Hill, armed with issue briefs and a map.

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Citizen Diplomacy

Does your institution have an innovative program that engages students and faculty and helps address global challenges?  If you answered yes, then you could be recognized by the Obama Administration in the U.S. Summit and Initiative on Global Citizen Diplomacy on November 16-19, 2010 in Washington, DC.

The Higher Education Task Force of the U.S. Summit & Initiative on Global Citizen Diplomacy, co-chaired by NAFSA Executive Director and CEO Marlene M. Johnson and Community Colleges for International Development President and Executive Director John Halder, is seeking nominations from U.S. institutions of higher education about innovative, sustainable, and replicable programs or projects focused on engaging students, faculty, and/or staff in an international activity at home or abroad.

The deadline for submission is quickly approaching — April 7 — but here’s the good news:

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Womens Foreign Policy Group EventOn Tuesday, NAFSA was pleased to host Dr. Allison Stanger for the latest installment of the Women’s Foreign Policy Group author series. Stanger, who is Director of the Rohatyn Center for International Affairs at Middlebury College, discussed her new book One Nation under Contract: The Outsourcing of American Power and the Future of Foreign Policy.

Stanger touched on the main theme of One Nation Under Contract and described how “Democrats and Republicans alike embrace the outsourcing of government to the private sector whenever possible” and how the contractors they employ have come to “dominate our foreign policy.” She also said “outsourcing done right” can fuel innovation and expand “opportunities for individuals to make a difference,” especially in the developing world.

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