Archive for the ‘NAFSA’ Category

By Adam DiFrisco

Who inspires you? Is it a parent, a partner, a friend? Maybe even a celebrity?

As people, it’s natural for us to look for role models and people who inspire us. As educators and as teachers, we are often that role model and inspire others. But sometimes the opposite is true as well. We are inspired by our students. We are reinvigorated by their enthusiasm, their hard work, and their dedication. It has happened to me, and it has made all the difference in my learning and teaching abilities.

Teaching English Overseas

I have been teaching English overseas with EF English First for more than two years. My education experience was mixed before I started here. I completed high school and university; sought a qualification in wine; pursued teaching qualifications; and set out to learn Chinese. During this time, I also held full- and part-time jobs, and even squeezed in time to “have a life.”

Today, though, I am drawing closer to my thirties, and I am thinking about family. How can I manage to learn a new language, gain further qualifications, and start a family? Can it be done? Well, I am sure we all know the answer is “yes,” but it is not easy and requires discipline. And that’s where my students come in.


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Civil discourse and constructive dialogue seem to have vanished from our collective experience. As the political debates get uglier and become increasingly excruciating to even pay attention to, I thought it would be helpful to share some of the tips I have learned from my involvement in the field of international education.

The “other” in this post refers to someone who is markedly different from oneself – whether politically, economically, geographically, religiously, etc. The process of interacting with someone who is “other” can lead either to degraded, destructive interactions, or to insightful and constructive dialogues that are mutually enriching.


  • noun  di·a·logue \ˈdī-ə-ˌlȯg, -ˌläg\
  • a : a conversation between two or more persons
  • b : an exchange of ideas and opinions
  • c : a discussion between representatives of parties to a conflict that is aimed at resolution

Here are Some Tips to Help

1. Keep it civil.

Consider the definition of “civil”. Merriam-Webster includes “polite but not friendly” in its definition. This is important. You do not need to become best friends with the person you are in dialogue with. Respect your own beliefs and boundaries, but also respect their beliefs and boundaries.


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By Ellen H. Badger and Shawna Szabo

Throughout your career, you will be faced with unavoidable realities that may disrupt your journey. Rather than having these realities affect you in a negative way, why not turn lemons into lemonade? Transforming a possibly negative situation into a positive one is not easy, but it is a skill that certainly can be learned.

During our Career Center Speaker Series presentation at NAFSA 2016 in Denver, we discussed a number of these “career realities” and offered different strategies for dealing with them. We’ve chosen to focus on two for this blog: the increased mobility of employees and the challenge of unfilled staff vacancies.  (more…)

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By Samantha Martin

Are you in conflict at your office? We’ve all been there.

Something got unexpectedly pushed onto our plate, something was said, someone clammed up, someone lashed out, something got dropped, someone was overlooked, something went unnoticed, etc. And, we take offense.

It’s not a mystery why conflict upsets us. No matter the title or years of experience, work is important to us. We invested a lot of time and money to be eligible for the position we are in. We made sacrifices along the way. We want to be seen and valued. We want to grow and know that our work matters.

How do we move beyond trouble at the office? The same way we train our students to move through conflict when they go abroad.


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Edited by Ellen Badger

We’re kicking off the new academic year with this Advice From the Field column by Deborah L. Pierce, PhD, associate consultant at Ruffalo Noel Levitz, who offers helpful strategies for managing the potential downside of being an internal candidate.

Q. I was an internal candidate for a position in my current office that would have meant a promotion, but an external candidate got the job. I’m really disappointed. Are there options other than looking elsewhere? What’s the best way for me to manage this setback?

A. Deb Pierce

You are not alone; this has happened to me and will happen to most of us at some point in our careers. I understand why this feels like a setback: you committed to that search and didn’t succeed, which doesn’t feel very good. Here are some steps I took to deal with similar situations. (more…)

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UPDATE: Adding to the string of recent victories for supporters of voting rights, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals struck key provisions of North Carolina’s discriminatory Voter ID law. The court said, “The new provisions target African Americans with almost surgical precision” and “impose cures for problems that did not exist.” Echoing decisions in previous cases, such as those below, in which laws deemed to prevent alleged voter fraud were struck down, the judge went on to note that, “the asserted justifications cannot and do not conceal the State’s true motivation” of disenfranchising minority, mostly democratic voters.

Following the decision, at least one political candidate tried to stoke fears about how this recent victory for democracy might affect the November presidential elections, raising unfounded assertions about the possibility of people voting 10 times. In fact, studies have shown that the type of voter fraud that is supposed to be addressed by voter ID laws doesn’t exist. One study found that out of one billion votes cast, only thirty-one showed evidence of voter impersonation. Likewise, there is absolutely no evidence that multiple voting will occur, and there are already safeguards in place against such fraud short of the modern-day poll tax that was attempted in North Carolina.

Fortunately for America, we know better than to believe soundbites that would conveniently have us deny the right to vote to our fellow citizens. Our democracy depends fundamentally on protecting everyone’s right to vote, and these recent court decisions are the next logical step in our way toward a more perfect union, following hard-fought battles of the suffragettes and the Civil Rights movement to ensure the right to vote for all Americans.


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International students and professionals are critical to the strength and well-being of communities across the entire United States, yet their impact is too often overlooked or taken for granted. By delaying meaningful immigration reform, we risk losing the valuable contributions made by these immigrants.

Our Healthcare System Relies on Foreign-Born Professionals

Our healthcare system relies on foreign-born workers, and the demand for medical professionals from outside our borders will only increase. Currently, twenty five percent of physicians and surgeons working in the United States–plus comparable portions of other healthcare positions–were born elsewhere.

As the baby boomer population ages, they will increasingly need more medical care. In addition, their retirements will create a deficit of doctors, surgeons, nurses, health aids, dentists, pharmacists, and clinical techs. As a result, the ability to provide healthcare will be significantly strained, furthering a need for immigrant healthcare professionals.


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Summer is one of the best times to visit our nation’s capital. Travelers from all over the world come to enjoy the city’s monumental history, world-class museums, and diverse dining options, many of which can be enjoyed al fresco on a warm summer night.

Whether you’re coming to town for NAFSA’s Management Development Program or the Strategic Retreat for Education Abroad Leaders this summer, it’s important to enjoy all of the culture D.C. has to offer. Here are some “insider tips” on how to experience the city, whether you are using our convenient bike share program, the extensive metro and bus system, or just going on foot!


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By Josh Davis and Yoko Honda

For the first time, NAFSA will host the Management Development Program in Portland, Oregon, July 25-27, 2016. This interactive, two-and-a-half-day program provides participants with key international education management skills and excellent networking opportunities for professionals in the field. Participants will also meet like-minded colleagues from around the world and have the opportunity to explore all that Portland has to offer.

Must See

International Rose Test Garden
Explore more than 550 different rose varieties, enjoy stunning views of the downtown skyline and Cascade Mountains, and find out why Portland is known as the “City of Roses.”

Music on Main
Enjoy a free concert every Wednesday during the summer in downtown Portland beginning at 5:00 p.m. The ArtBar & Bistro serves seasonal food and drinks beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Powell’s City of Books
The largest independent new and used bookstore in the United States spans a full city block in downtown Portland. Browse more than 1.5 million books in 3,500 different sections.


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By Mandy Reinig

During the course of my time interviewing senior international officers (SIOs), senior education abroad professions, and various recipients of the Education Abroad Knowledge Community Lily von Klemperer (LvK) award, one of the common themes that has emerged is the change in technology they have seen, even in the last 5 or 10 years. These changes have had several interesting ramifications on the field as a whole, as well as these individuals.

One of the most significant has simply been the explosion of the various forms of technology. For many SIOs and LvK awardees, they can still remember a time when Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms did not exist. They have had to learn to adapt to a crazy new world that relies on these technologies to communicate. Many have been excited about these advances, while others have been reluctant to keep up with the ever-changing demands of these new technologies. This required that they hire younger, more technology-adept professionals in their offices to take on these responsibilities.


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