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By Bradley Moon

Greetings, international educators, from sunny San Diego! The NAFSA 2014 Annual Conference is less than two months away! If you have not already registered, don’t forget that early-bird registration for the conference ends April 18.

This year’s conference includes a very special session designed to provide conference goers with  unique insights into the cross-border and cross-cultural issues and initiatives facing San Diego and Southern California. Inspired by the spirit of the innovative educational format of TED Talks, this session, I-Engage Talks, will be offered on Wednesday, May 28, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Organized by Local Arrangements Team (LAT) Co-Chairs Jane Kalionzes, San Diego State University, and Susan Atkins, CAPA International, and LAT member Malou Amparo, University of California-San Diego, this locally focused session will provide a series of short, crisp, provocative, entertaining presentations highlighting stories from a variety of local organizations, nonprofits, and community leaders.

The not-to-be-missed I-Engage Talks session will offer a fascinating and entertaining local San Diego perspective from a diversity of topics and community agents of change.

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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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By Bradley Moon

Greetings international educators! For those of you planning to come explore San Diego a little early, or to stick around the weekend after the conference, this blog post is for you! If you are someone who prefers wines and a sophisticated nosh, you can head north of San Diego to check out Southern California’s wine region near the town of Temecula. More adventurous individuals fancying mariachis and margaritas can consider crossing the border to take in the sights and sounds of Tijuana, while baseball fans should not miss heading over to Petco Park to cheer on the Padres!

Exploring Wine Country

Just 60 miles north of San Diego up Interstate 15 lies Temecula Valley Wine Country, the heart of California’s South Coast wine region. Rolling hills covered with vineyards, expansive views reaching to 11,000-foot-high mountains, and world-class wines make Temecula Valley Wine Country a terrific day trip for visitors to sunny San Diego. The unique Temecula microclimate and well-drained granite soils are famous for producing award-winning California wines. Information about Temecula’s winery tours and tastings can be found by visiting Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association.

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By Bradley Moon

Attention NAFSA foodies! San Diego has no shortage of Food Network Star, Top Chef and local Mom and Pop eateries prepared to satisfy the pallets of food aficionados from around the world. There is an exciting food culture in San Diego that goes well beyond the obligatory coastal question, “Where is the best seafood restaurant?”

World travelling international educators know the best culinary finds are discovered when you “ask a local.” This blog post is devoted to sharing the favorite culinary haunts of some members of the Local Arrangements Team. The following are a few of our “must eat” restaurant recommendations. And, for those of you interested in finding the perfect happy hour, stay tuned for an upcoming blog post exploring the best in San Diego libations.

The Prado at Balboa Park recommended by Sue Atkins (Local Arrangement Team co-chair)

At The Prado, smack dab in the heart of world famous Balboa Park, the argument is which is better… the view or the food? A truly unique spot for lunch, happy hour or dinner, The Prado knocks it “out of the park” with delicious food and the best atmosphere you could ask for. This is also provides a great excuse for exploring the beautiful museums and gardens of Balboa Park. Try the Kobe Beef Sushi Roll and the calamari!

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By Bradley Moon

Discovering the city of San Diego requires getting to know its vast array of distinct and colorful neighborhoods. From the charm of Coronado Island to the hipster enclave of North Park, exploring San Diego can be a fun adventure. San Diegans love – and are proud of – their neighborhoods, each with its own personality and joie de vivre.

In introducing NAFSANs to San Diego, I would be remiss not to begin by highlighting the first thing visitors think of when landing in sunny California… so grab your flip flops, sun tan lotion, board shorts and bikinis… let’s hit the beach!

1. Coronado Island

Spanish for the “the crowned one,” it is easy to see how Coronado lives up to this description. Voted in 2012 as the #1 beach in the United States, Coronado Island offers gorgeous white sands and gentle surf, in a charming community just minutes away from downtown San Diego. Of course, not to be missed is the historic Hotel del Coronado, which opened in 1888. A Queen Anne masterpiece, the “Hotel del” has a fascinating and colorful history of visitors, including royalty, politicians, celebrities, and a few ghosts. If you have never seen this architectural masterpiece, it is definitely worth a trip to Coronado!

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By Bradley Moon

Warm greetings from sunny San Diego! Whether NAFSA’s 2014 Annual Conference & Expo is your inaugural trip to San Diego or you are a return visitor, I am confident that you will quickly discover why it is no secret that San Diego has been given the distinction of “America’s Finest City.”

Over the next few months, I look forward to sharing with you some of the must-sees of this great city, which just may convince you to come for the conference and stay for a vacation!

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By Joël Gallegos
It’s that time of year again – the time has come for the Annual Conference Committee (ACC) to select content for NAFSA’s 2014 Annual Conference in San Diego, California. This weekend, the ACC is off to San Diego to select the sessions and current topics workshops for the conference, and we must say, we’re impressed with what we’ve seen so far. We received nearly 650 proposals this year and had more than 200 reviewers help us make our decisions. As we dive into creating the San Diego program, we’re especially looking to highlight this year’s theme, Pathways to Global Competence. We’re looking forward to this process, but we can’t do it without you! We want to hear what YOU want to see from this year’s conference.

What are you looking for at this year’s conference? What was missing from session or workshop content in St. Louis? Add your comments to this post and let us know how we can make the conference even better for you. You can always tweet me at @ItsJoelGallegos also.

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By Stephen Ferst
I’m looking over the #nafsa13 and #IamIE tweets and it’s incredible to see all of the activity that has taken place this past week. Hard to keep up with it.

Last night was a late one so I’m hoping I have enough adrenaline to get me through the final day of the 2013 NAFSA Annual Conference. I got distracted in the Expo Hall (there’s so much to see) as I was making my rounds yesterday, so I still need to hit a few booths before it closes today at 11:15 a.m. Also on my plate today is the Unique Uses of Technology and Social Media in International Education Fair in Room 101 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and the final Tweetup at 10:30 a.m. in Washington Lobby West. Then comes the international plenary and networking luncheon with Oscar Arias. I’ll hit one last session or two and then head to the closing reception, where I hope to see many of you and where I’ll pass the torch to the 2014 Annual Conference Chair, Joël Gallegos.

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