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Archive for the ‘Annual Conference’ Category

For the last 30 plus years, my favorite memorabilia item has been a basketball, signed by the Los Angeles Lakers, and handed to me by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The event was the pregame ceremony at an exhibition game between the Lakers and the Milwaukee Bucks sponsored by Minnesota-based Republic Airlines. Republic CEO Steven Wolf and I (then Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota) were walking to the center court when Steve asked me which center I’d like to receive a ball from. Even then, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s leadership was in full bloom and I was thrilled to feel it up close.

That two-minute ceremony has been a fond memory of mine ever since, so it is with particular joy that I can play a role in introducing him to NAFSA, and share in what I know will be an inspiring speech to NAFSA 2017 conference attendees on Wednesday, May 31, in Los Angeles.

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By Melissa Vivian

Earlier this year at the NAFSA 2016 Annual Conference & Expo in Denver, I had the opportunity to speak with my NAFSA colleagues about Gallup Education’s Clifton StrengthsFinder, an assessment tool designed to help individuals and organizations identify what it is that they do best and how to boost that greatness in others.

This year’s conference marked the second time I’ve had the pleasure of speaking about StrengthsFinder assessments. In 2015, our StrengthsFinder “primer” covered the theory behind the practice of taking a strengths focus in your career. For 2016, we moved the conversation further to the practical application of strengths for professional team development.

NAFSA 2016 attendees took an hour out of their week to participate in an engaging experiential ice breaker that allowed them to physically see where they “stand” on certain strengths compared to their colleagues. Then we moved into a paper tower-building challenge that put strengths into action and provided an opportunity for powerful reflection. Some towers were tall, some were large, and others beautifully designed, but the real winners of the challenge were those participants who walked away with greater awareness of their strengths and how to identify them in their teammates. (more…)

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By Meredith McQuaid

The 2016 presidential election is upon us as I write this. It has been a time of division and rancor in the country; strong words have been uttered and published – the pain from which will take a long time and great effort to heal. But these sentiments are not new, nor are the possible consequences insurmountable. We have stories from men and women of today, and from decades past to remind us that we have been here before – and that we still have a great deal of work to do.

The stories we share can help us learn from each other. Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns tells of one the greatest internal migrations in the history of the United States, when some six million individuals of color, over a fifty year period, made their way from the South to places they believed would provide better opportunities. Wilkerson focused on the trajectories of three individuals, in three different decades, to bring that history to light. These are unforgettable stories we would be wise to keep fresh in our minds.

I have always been proud to be a “Northerner,” and what that represented in the assumed story we told ourselves about how much wiser and more humane we were than those who lived in and ruled the South. I was more than humbled by Wilkerson’s book – I was ashamed. The conditions in the North and the Midwest were different for black Americans than in the South, but they presented their own challenges, and they were far less transparent. Wilkerson’s book reminded me that we ought not to judge, lest we be judged; that it is our duty to explore those parts of history that have been denied.

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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.

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By Tiffany Harrison and Kayla Patterson

With the NAFSA annual conference just around the corner, we’d like to talk about the importance of getting social. More specifically, we’re referring to the use of social media to enhance your career and professional development. As we’ve stated previously, merging your offline and online networking together is integral to how you market yourself. To give you a better sense as to why your online profile has become increasingly valuable, we’re covering some of the key questions we’ve received as social media advocates, and discussing what it means for you as an international educator.

Why is social media so important for career development?

Social media is important for career development because it’s such a powerful form of networking. As is inherent in the term “social networks,” channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Instagram have become the places to build a network of friends, fans, followers, connections, or whatever else you’d like to call them! Networking is key to career and professional development. The connections you make on social media could help you get a new job, find a mentor, learn more about your industry, support a career change, and more.

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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.

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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.

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By Michele Friedmann

You may need to extend your trip by a week or two to enjoy just a handful of the many fun things to do in the Mile High City! There’s a reason Colorado was voted the 4th happiest state in the United States—adventure and unbeatable weather await you every day. From hiking and biking trails, to exciting sporting events, and a growing culture, music, and art scene, there’s a lot to experience during your visit to Denver!

Rockies Game

Fortunately for baseball fans attending the NAFSA conference, the Rockies have quite a few home games during the week of conference. Even if you’re not a fan, it’s fun to see the ballpark and be a part of the energetic vibes. Coors Field is located in lower downtown, surrounded by fun bars and restaurants. You can purchase general admission tickets starting at $14, which include $6 in concession or merchandise credit and access to seating near The Rooftop, a fun bar and hangout spot.

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By Katherine Punteney

The Forum on Education Abroad reports that 87 percent of its members hold a master’s degree or higher, and the Association for International Education Administrators found that 81 percent of senior international officers hold doctoral degrees. It seems like everyone you have met has told you that you need a graduate degree to move up in the field. So you decide to take the plunge and apply for a graduate degree program in international education. The dilemma now is choosing the right program. How can you tell what the program will be like and what it can offer you?

The first key decision to make is whether you want a more theoretical, research-based curriculum or a more applied curriculum. At the doctoral level, this is typified by the choice between the PhD and EdD. In the United States, the doctor of philosophy (PhD) degree typically takes six years to complete, and, as the name suggests, is often theoretical in focus. Following approximately two years of full-time course work, including courses on research methodology, the PhD student will embark on three to five years of research to carry out and complete a dissertation. The emphasis is on creating new understandings of phenomena in international education through research, with recommendations for practice.

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The Expo Soundstage at the NAFSA Annual Conference & Expo is hard to miss.

Last year’s inaugural Soundstage kicked off with the booming sounds of ShinDaiko’s traditional Japanese drumming. The experience continued throughout the week with Boston musicians serenading the audience with Irish folk tunes; Johnson & Wales University hosting a lively round of “SharkFest,” a Shark Tank®-style event for international educators; and a fascinating exploration of some Boston history with the city’s Archeological Department.

This year, the NAFSA Soundstage has increased in both scope and volume. With more 30 presentations scheduled over the course of the week, the Soundstage will be delivering a variety of interesting and engaging programming, from a series of short films created by international students and professionals to a demonstration of a cloud-based English language assessment system.

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