3 Min Research Intro: New Pre-departure Course for International Students which also Recruits and Retains

Interested in learning why U.S. higher education is now offering pre-departure academic and cultural college prep courses to international students in foreign countries? Student success, international recruitment, and retention rates are definitely some benefits.

This video provides a 3 minute introduction to the research that led to today’s revolutionary international prep-courses.

First tested at a U.S. research university and then applied to HLSL Institute’s 2014 International Education Tour in South Korea and China, HLSL Institute now offers U.S. schools a pre-departure prep course that teaches international students success skills.  This course is a student service outreach effort that helps international students to be healthier, happier, more academically successful, and more professionally prepared in the U.S. before, during, and after study abroad.

This college course is taught in foreign countries (via hybrid instruction methods) before students arrive to the U.S.  The course teaches international students more accurate cross-cultural expectations about study, life, language, and work interactions and responsibilities.  International students gain cultural knowledge and competencies to manage cultural and academic stresses in addition to other impediments that typically upset adjustment processes during U.S. study.  Research findings indicated that international students are more confident to study abroad, to communicate and build U.S. friendships, and to prepare for internships and post-graduate professional opportunities.

U.S. institutions can begin offering this course to prospective international students, tailored for their institution’s particulars (e.g. campus resources, student expectations, internship opportunities, etc.) and customized for specific student learning pathways and academic programs of study.

Contact Dr. Madden-Dent to learn more about the research and the forthcoming 2015 U.S. Academic and Culture Studies course in South Korea and China to increase international student success, recruitment rates, and retention rates.

P.s.  Although this pre-departure class begins in the international students’ home country, it can also be effective for first-year international students already in the U.S. to aid with their transition and adjustment success.

The 2015 International Education Tour begins October 1, 2015 in South Korea and China.

Contact HLSL Institute to learn how U.S. campuses can be represented on the tour and how to offer this pre-departure course.

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Preparing East Asian Undergraduates for the Cultural Challenges of U.S. Study

One of my publications, “Preparing East Asian Undergraduates for the Cultural Challenges of Study in the U.S.”, is a policy white paper discussing how a pre-departure cultural preparation treatment influenced a group of international students’ experiences before, during, and after their first semester at a western U.S. research university.  This topic is key to 21st century international education and I see it becoming the next wave of expected coursework for international students.

In this research study, although all participants wished they had taken a formal course about U.S. culture and academic systems while they lived in their home country, not one participant had received or even heard about organized cultural training or U.S. college preparation classes for study abroad before they arrived in the U.S.!  This is significant since research indicates that cultural knowledge, realistic expectations, and adjustment management skills speed up cross-cultural adaptation, increases student success, and fosters student engagement (increases student retention rates).

Dr. Dent Team DI found that eastern Asian students are eager to learn about the U.S. culture and academic systems prior to leaving home for U.S. study during my 2014 International Education Tour in South Korea and China last fall.  Many parents, schools, businesses, and government organizations have asked me to return this year… so I am!

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In addition to teaching eastern Asian students about U.S. culture and academic systems, this year’s 2015 International Education tour will also share the research findings from my forthcoming publication entitled, “International Student Support Services Index” (ISSSI).

ISSSI organizes internationally related services by school and ranks institutions in relationship to other U.S. campuses. The index is grounded on five key research indicators that make up cross-cultural adjustment best practices to foster international (inbound and outbound) student success from pre-departure to repatriation/re-entry stages. 

Teaching U.S. College Preparation Skills in Seoul, South Korea, 2014

ISSSI’s research findings are made available through a free internationally circulated online publication used by domestic and international students, parents, study abroad organizations/placement services, recruiters, government organizations, secondary schools, and post-secondary international programs to better understand the U.S. international climate and individual campus internationalization efforts.

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For more information, contact:

www.hlslinstitute.org or see www.taramaddendent.com

HLSL Institute provides educational services to international students, expatriates, international programs, and government organizations that bridge cultural gaps and connect the world, one person at a time. 

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Why study YOU before attending college?

After many years of teaching university students, the most powerful and influential lessons the undergraduates and graduate students preferred were the assignments which encompassed personal reflection and experiential learning.  These students described that studying the course’s learning objectives with personal exploration pedagogies, challenged their original worldviews, felt liberated from previous subconscious mental programs, and more confident to apply their new knowledge in everyday life decisions.  Many students reported that the self-awareness contributed to a clearer understanding of how they would move forward after the course to intentionally advance their professional and academic careers.

One student’s evaluation submission summarized the consensus nicely,

“For the four years of college courses I have experienced, this was by far, the most rewarding on every level and one of my favorites. I have never experienced such valuable information in a class that comes up in everyday life. The extremely eye-opening experiences and class material helped me stretch myself as an individual during the papers and class activities. I came out of this class with observations and feelings that I never knew I had.  I not only gained knowledge to apply to my future career, but I gained more self-confidence and really pushed myself to grow as a person.”

As an educator, there is no greater joy than witnessing my students demonstrate new skills, knowledge, and self-awareness.  Although my courses focused primarily on law, educational leadership, multiculturalism, and societal studies, many of the students reported that their experience was the closest thing they had ever had to a formal Self-Study course. 

Instead of waiting until adulthood to formally study the Self , what if actual “Self-Studies” courses were incorporated into elementary, middle and high school educational programs alongside required subjects like reading, writing, and math? Would it make a difference on the student’s development, their worldview, ethics, community engagement, health, grades, career choice, interpersonal relationships, financial stability, emotional intelligence, and long-term achievements? How would studying the Self influence the educational system, the city, state, nation, and planet?

Before we go any further, let’s understand the term “Self-Studies” to represent a formal course, grounded on legitimate peer-reviewed, tested, published research, and facilitated by well trained and highly qualified instructors whose aim is to foster individualized identity development and personal growth through self-reflection and experiential learning to encourage emotional intelligence, purposeful living, goal achievement, healthy lifestyles and interpersonal relationships, environmental awareness, and community contribution.

Based on that definition, that not one of my own alma maters had offered a Self-Studies course in my programs of study.  That’s a big deal considering that I have earned a high school diploma, college degree, and multiple graduate degrees (M.A.; Ph.D.).  How much more powerful would my academic, personal, and professional contributions be if my primary and secondary schools had offered courses like Mindfulness; Personal Habits and Behaviors; Core Principles and Values; Family and Cultural Influences; Healthy Relationships; Emotional Intelligence; Identity Exploration; My impact on Modern Society and the Environment; My Culture and how it Compares to others; and Financial Goal Planning? If I, as a young person, had studied where I came from, what I stood for, who I believe I am, how I would contribute my value to society, and who I wanted to share my life with, how would things be different today?

Only now, after 31 years, I’ve finally completed my first formal Self-Study program and recognize the tremendous power it provides.  The self-discoveries are tremendously helpful to grasp why I live the way I do and how I want to live from this point forward to achieve a clear, laser-focused goal.  We are seeing a movement across the United States of personal success courses emphasizing self-study, goal planning, networking, communication, and professional skills development to generate healthy, happy, skilled members of our society and workforce.  PSI Seminars, is one personal success educational organization that provides Self-Study courses that teach personal exploration to enable students to live with a better understanding of who they are, what they want, and how they can apply their unique abilities in daily life and achieve long-term goals.  Another organization, called One Life Fully Lived, is an example of personal development through self-study aiming to develop identify, core values, and personal life goals.

Because I’m an academic junky and educational advocate, I recommend Self-Studies as an early means to generate self-awareness that supports a lifetime of academic, professional, spiritual, social, emotional, physical, and financial successes. 

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Relocating to the United States?

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Oftentimes, people new to a city struggle with adjusting to the unfamiliar resources, laws, language, school systems, transportation, etc.  In fact, if a person is from another country and/or doesn’t speak English, it can be a challenge doing daily tasks such as laundry, buying groceries, going to the doctor, or even mailing something at the post office.

To make relocation and transition easier, HLSL Institute offers a guided City Day Tour that teaches people how to relocate and transition into a new U.S. city faster and safer so they can live happier and healthier as members of their community. With a trained local Relocation Expert, clients visit local businesses, restaurants, schools, grocery stores, banks, recreational services, transportation centers, language services, etc. so that they learn the insider’s knowledge about the city’s resources, history, laws, traditions, calendar events, seasonal weather, political systems, and spiritual and intellectual resources.  No need to worry about transportation, the Relocation Expert is qualified to drive clients in our BMW X5 SUV’s regardless of rain, snow, or sunny conditions.

The 5-hour City Day Tour beginning at 10:00 am includes a delicious lunch at a downtown restaurant and a city guidebook with relocation tips including networking groups and contacts, transportation resources, local coupons and discounts, information about when and where to go for seasonal events and fun activities, and helpful online resources and videos.

Save yourself lots of time and money by learning everything you need in only one amazingly fun and educational tour instead of weeks or even months.  We look forward to welcoming you to your new home.  For more information visit HLSL Institute or request more information about the tours at http://hlslinstitute.org/contact-hlsl/

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2015 ISV Volunteering Opportunity

The following announcement has been shared by the ISV Volunteer Project.  As an international educator, I believe that service learning and volunteer activities are important for students’ personal and professional development.  Let me know if you decide to go… I’d love interviewing you about the experience.

Travel overseas for free during summer 2015 and co-lead a group of university students

on an ISV Volunteer Project

To all interested Graduate Students,

International Student Volunteers (ISV) is looking for graduate students to serve as University Leaders for a minimum of two weeks on ISV’s 2015 May to September Volunteer Programs in Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and South Africa (expenses covered, see below for details). Spaces are limited, so please contact us as soon as possible.

The ISV Program

ISV’s 4-Week Program consists of two weeks of volunteering overseas on a hands-on conservation or community development project followed by an incredible two-week educational exploration of the best cultural and natural highlights of the host country, and as many outdoor adventure activities as we can pack in.

ISV is seeking graduate students to co-lead a group of 8-12 students alongside a trained ISV Project Leader for the volunteer projects.  Our projects focus on experiential education and making a positive impact to underserved communities, degraded habitats and endangered species by working closely with local organizations and community leaders within the host countries. Project activities include:

  • Building homes, playgrounds, clinics, community centers, schools
  • Teaching basic English, math, health and hygiene, sports and recreation to children
  • Educational programs incorporating music, dance theatre, arts and crafts
  • Assisting with terrestrial and marine ecology research programs
  • Providing care for threatened wildlife (wild and rescued animals)
  • Habitat restoration, trail building, erosion control, organic farming
  • Design and delivery of environmental education, recycling and sustainable tourism programs
  • Special focus projects such as pre-med/health care and pre-veterinary

Please see the ISV webpage (www.isvolunteers.org) for detailed information about the ISV organization, programs, destination countries, and more. To read about a University Leader’s recent experience in Costa Rica click here, and to get a 90 second taste of the ISV programs, go here.

ISV: Who we are

International Student Volunteers, Inc is an award-winning non-profit organization based in the USA that sends thousands of students annually from more than 800 universities and colleges worldwide to travel with a purpose and make a significant difference to sustainable development on a global scale. ISV’s Global Accomplishments and Recognitions include:

  • More than 30,000 student participants on the ISV program across six continents since 2002.
  • ISV student teams have contributed nearly 2.5 million hours of volunteer service for community-driven initiatives in Education, Sustainable Development and Conservation around the world.
  • ISV has partnered with over 100 volunteer organizations (government, academic institutions, private and grassroots organizations/NGOs) globally.
  • University course and internship credit awarded to thousands of ISV students by more than 300 universities worldwide.
  • Awarded one of the “Top Ten Volunteer Organizations” by the US Center for Citizen Diplomacy in conjunction with the US State Department.
  • Inaugural award for “Outstanding Volunteer Project” by the World Youth and Student Travel Confederation.
  • Featured on In View with Larry King on the Discovery Channel.
  • 30+ members of the U.S. Senate/Congress serve on ISV’s Board of Reference.
  • Certified by the US President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation to distribute the President’s Volunteer Service Award.
  • Overall ISV experience rated 4.8/5 from 30,000+ participants.

University Leader Expenses Covered by ISV

  • Round-trip international flights and domestic travel within the host country provided.
  • Accommodations and three meals per day provided on the Volunteer Project.

For more information or to register contact, Chad Allen, to programs@isvolunteers.org

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Why Am I Teaching in Seoul, Shanghai, & Beijing? Read My Newest Publication “Preparing East Asian Undergraduates for the Cultural Challenges of Study in the U.S.”

Helping educate prospective students before they travel across the world to relocate in an unfamiliar culture with  little language skills is the most rewarding opportunity I have had thus far.  As demonstrated by research, the more cultural knowledge and experience a student has prior to study abroad, the more successful they will be with their academics, social life, communication, health, safety, and professional development in a new culture.

 

My newest publication, “Preparing East Asian Undergraduates for the Cultural Challenges of Study in the U.S.” is a condensed paper sharing how international students perceive U.S. cultural knowledge in regards to their preparation, transition, and adjustment during their first semester of U.S. study.  Ironically, although all participants wished they had been offered more formal lessons about U.S. culture prior to leaving their home country, not one had received or even heard about organized cultural training for study abroad!  YIKES!

 

THUS, for 5 1/2 weeks, my three objectives on the 2014 International Education Tour (Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing) is to:

1. Teach pre-departure U.S. college student success skills (U.S. culture, study skills, networking skills, language skills, and professional development skills) to students interested in U.S. study abroad.

2. Teach college student success strategies to students interested in improving their academic, social, language, and professional skills for NEVADA colleges and universities.

3. Apply my pre-departure and post-arrival relocation and adjustment curriculum to my own (first-time) stay in Asia to feel and experience a glimpse of what my international students endure before, during, and immediately after relocating to a culturally rough (different) environment with little (to no) language skills, resources, or local contacts for support.

INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION IS AWESOME!!!!

With the right preparation and guidance, cultural transition and relocation can be MUCH EASIER.  Saving time, money, stress, and energy can produce GREATER OUTCOMES while reducing negative culture shock symptoms. Contact me to learn more about this subject or post a comment/question below.  Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Na-jung-e bwae-yo!   나중에 봬요!

Tara Madden-Dent, Ph.D. is an international education consultation, teacher, and speaker.  She is available at:

          Twitter (@DrTaraMDent)     Facebook       HLSL Institute        LinkedIn       Academia.edu

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University of Nevada Students Learned U.S. Culture & Student Success Skills

UNR New  Int'l Student Workshop (Fall, 2014)

UNR New Int’l Student Workshop (Fall, 2014)

After two days teaching at the University of Nevada, new international student survey data indicates that workshop attendees gained cultural knowledge about the northern Nevada culture and skills to navigate the UNR campus.  Furthermore, these students (new to the U.S.) reported an increase in ability to use local campus and community resources for study, socialization and networking, communication skills, professional development, transportation and living needs.  The skills-based workshops were designed to develop specific competencies to bridge cultural gaps and encourage student success through state-depended learning activities. 

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Prior to this workshop, almost all new international students reported having no prior U.S. cultural training for living or studying in U.S. systems.  This is why I’m even MORE EXCITED to teach pre-departure U.S. cultural lessons on my 2014 International Education Tour in Seoul, South Korea, Shanghai, China, and Beijing, China this fall!  In addition to the upcoming tour’s instructional workshops and presentations, I will be visiting schools, volunteering as a language and culture teacher, networking with administrators and local businesses, representing Nevada institutions at study abroad fairs, and participating in interviews and making guest speaker appearances.  The tour’s research data will provide insight into how almost six weeks of pre-departure educational events will help prepare international students for U.S. study, how new international partnerships can be developed, and how Nevada college and university outreach, recruitment, and retention efforts may be strengthened. pic IV

 

If all cultural workshops and seminars on the tour are half as fun and effective as the University of Nevada’s were, I’m in for an excitingly wonderful adventure teaching abroad.  One and half weeks to go. Seoul, here I come!  pic II

 

Dr. Tara Madden-Dent teaches U.S. cultural workshops and consults for a variety of international educational programs. Contact HLSL Institute to request more information regarding cultural workshops, program evaluations, international representation, or guest speaker invitations.   

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