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Archive for the ‘International Educator’ Category

The following is an excerpt of “New Tools of the Trade” by Kim Fernandez from the intensive language supplement that accompanied the March/April 2013 International Educator.

Nat Namdokmai teaches English and makes movies at home in Thailand, and moved to the United States to study four years ago. He’s enrolled in Japanese courses at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and says technology has played a big part in his study of the language.

“They use technology to teach us to speak and write in Japanese,” he says. “We used PowerPoint and videos on YouTube in some classes. When I got to the upper-level classes and started learning business Japanese, we started using it more to communicate.”

Content, he says, is taught online in some of his classes. “We have to check the website and use it to do our homework,” he says. “We use Quizlet online a lot too. Once a week, we use Google Docs.”

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The following appeared in the March/April issue of International Educator magazine.

Around the world, virtually everyone knows that the United States has the largest economy in the world. But what some may not realize is that our southern neighbor, the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the second largest country (and has the second largest economy) in the Americas and is the fifth largest country in the world. In the last few years, Brazil has been on the radar as a growing country of interest for more international education exchanges and partnerships.

Our feature story, “Emerging Giant,” by the late Alan Dessoff reveals how Brazil has become “hot” in higher education in recent years. Much of the recent interest in Brazil has been spurred by Brazil’s Scientific Mobility Program (formerly known as Science Without Borders), an initiative that aims to send undergraduates in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines to spend a year at a top foreign university. Since the program was launched in January 2012, more than 4,000 Brazilian students have arrived in the United States under its auspices.

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Laughter

The following is the InFocus article from the January/February issue of International Educator magazine.

Branching outwards, I began to seek opportunities for their sense of quality rather than convenience. My world expanded and I was no longer limited to my immediate familiar surroundings. For 16 months, I learned to live in South Korea where my primary interactions were with the locals. As a teacher in this new environment, the students were uncertain about me—the foreigner. It was no surprise that in the beginning there were frequent moments of awkwardness and miscommunication. I eventually let go of seeking perfection in all of my interactions.

Focusing on building relationships became more important. Celebrating the differences and taking note of our similarities changed my perspective. I began to reflect on one of the most basic commonalties that every culture has: the ability to laugh.

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The following appeared in the January/February issue of International Educator magazine.

One of NAFSA’s new board members, Simon Adams, executive director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times last month about the world’s next genocide. He noted that according to former Ambassador Peter W. Galbraith, the world’s next genocide is likely to be in Syria. Genocides have haunted us as global citizens for centuries, but since World War II the study of genocide has become a larger part of higher education, and faculty and students learn about the issues that cause genocide in hope of preventing them in the future.

Often studying something as horrific as genocide is not easy, and it takes leaving home to really investigate the cause of genocide in a specific region. Umit Kurt left his native Turkey to come to a doctoral program in the United States to study the Armenian genocide because there was no scholar in his native land conducting research.

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Emberá and Ecotourism

The following appeared in the In Focus column from the 2012 September/October issue of International Educator.

By Kerry O’Brien
As my classmates and I were guided through the Upper Chagres River in Panamá by a leader of the indigenous Emberá tribe, the hand-carved yet motorized canoe we sat in was a perfect example of the dichotomy that is ecotourism. I wondered: do our travels help or harm the planet and the various cultures that exist within it?

The Emberá shared their lives with us that day: from hiking and swimming to a nearby waterfall, to catching fresh fish and eating it with locally grown plantains for lunch, to teaching us native dances and giving us traditional markings with the dye of the jagua fruit. For just a few hours, we (U.S. college students) were taken out of our comfort zones and shown a simpler way of life that has been virtually unchanged for hundreds of years. After purchasing plenty of handmade goods (proceeds support the tribe members and their land ownership), each of us departed the Emberá territory with a restored connection to the earth we inhabit.

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The following appeared in the September/October issue of International Educator magazine.

IE Sep/Oct 2012The United Kingdom has long been well-known for its excellence in higher education. The universities of Cambridge and Oxford are world-class institutions that many nations, including the United States, have tried to emulate. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery—in terms of higher education in the United Kingdom, times are changing. Recent years have brought many changes to the higher education sector in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

Increasing tuition for both domestic and international students has been on the rise. This is quite a shift for UK students—in the past, pursuing a university education was largely subsidized by the government. With the increase of fees for international students, the UK sees more funding per student, which can help defray budget cuts that have been instituted due to the global economic downturn, but it can deter international students from coming to the UK due to the higher cost.

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The following appeared in the In Focus column from the July/August 2012 issue of International Educator.

International Educator InFocusBy Mark S. Lenhart
I started my life in study abroad as a CET Beijing student during the 1987–1988 academic year. I was determined to learn Chinese, but thanks to a grant from the Bowdoin College Visual Arts Department, I also had the opportunity to take and develop photographs. I took hundreds of photos, and a classmate and I produced an exhibit called “Unbuilding Walls” when we returned to campus the next year. One of the pictures from that show is this photo of three Chinese girls with hopeful faces.

I learned so much that year, but one thing I’ve carried with me ever since is that photography can break down barriers between the photographer and the subject. “May I take your picture?” can become a way to start a conversation, a reason to speak and learn from total strangers. My images often reflected this; instead of simply recording the subjects, they captured the moments of exchange. In the end, my camera not only taught me how to see China, but it also connected me to my hosts in wonderful, unexpected ways.

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The following appeared in the July/August issue of International Educator magazine.

Tyler Spencer hadn’t traveled much outside of his small Virginia hometown until he turned 18. He first visited South Africa and Mozambique as part of a traditional study abroad course through the University of Virginia. He was an environmental science major and he expected to be drawn to the parks in the area and learn about long-term conservation efforts around them. Once he got there, though, he says the entire course of his life changed.

“The environment seemed like a distant concern in the context of immediate threats to the health of people I met,” he says. “The toll of HIV/AIDS was most shocking to me. It’s a preventable disease, but in some areas of South Africa, the prevalence is as high as one in four.”

He returned home, gave it some thought, and wrote a letter to his dean asking to not only change his major, but design his own in international health and development. The dean agreed, and Spencer spent the next year studying at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and completing an internship in public health. And after that, he designed his own education abroad experience back in South Africa, but working on health issues instead of environmental ones this time around.

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The following appeared in the July/August issue of International Educator magazine.

July/August International Educator coverI just returned from attending my seventh NAFSA annual conference—the largest international education conference in the world. It is always fascinating to me to observe how first-time participants at this conference are awed by the sheer magnitude of the event. Each newcomer is just one in a sea of thousands of international educators from around the globe. In some ways, attending a conference of this size seems like a microcosm of our societies—we are one of many, many individuals, and sometimes that can make a person feel that their contribution to their profession or community may not make a meaningful impact.

What resonated with me upon reflecting on this most recent conference is that one person can make the difference in history’s most tumultuous and fragile moments. Nobel Laureate Lemyah Gbowee’s moving speech at the conference reminded us that leaders like Mahatma Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., and Rosa Parks were individuals who stood up for their beliefs and their actions made the difference in a historical moment that influenced not only their own generation but those to come after.

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The following appeared in the May/June issue of International Educator magazine.

Josh KesslerJosh Kessler, a student at Middlebury College, describes his sustainable education abroad experience, as told to IE.

I had some previous experience with sustainability projects but this was the first time that I would be leading an effort to promote sustainability. But once I talked to the director of the school and a chemistry professor, the project evolved into the idea that we would build an organic garden that could supplement the science curriculum by teaching the students about chemistry, the environment, and sustainability. The environmental and sustainability aspects of the project would be particularly important due to the fact that in Chile, especially in public schools, there is little emphasis placed on environmental education.

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