Category Archives: Higher Education

2014 International Education Tour in Seoul & Beijing: August – October

gradiStock_000020829404_SmallStudent: “What’s up Doc? Have any plans now that your dissertation is finished?” 

Me:  “I’m teaching my research in Korea and China.  My participants supported me and now I will support them.” 

Many people are surprised that I am not pursuing a traditional tenure-track career and instead, doing something completely foreign… literally foreign.  I’m teaching my research overseas on a 2014 International Education Tour in Seoul, South Korea and Beijing, China.  By partnering with Eastern Asian schools, colleges, and universities, I’m offering seminars about U.S. college success skills and cultural competencies to prepare students for United States studies.

 “There’s plenty of intelligence in the world, but the courage to do things differently is in short supply.” ~Marily Vos Savant

Typically U.S. colleges teach international students about U.S. culture and academic systems during the first week of school.  It’s often difficult learning during this time since students are already overwhelmed with moving into a new apartment, finding transportation, completing course placement tests, and buying textbooks while feeling jet lagged, knowing little English, and being alone in a foreign county.  The coolest part of teaching across the world will be seeing Korean and Chinese students learn how to succeed in the U.S. BEFORE they leave their homes.

My 2014 international education tour will help Korean and Chinese students prepare for life and studies the U.S. and thus, adjust to the academic and community culture faster.  These students will gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence to fully receive a quality, safe, and fun U.S. college experience.  Participants will be better prepared to earn higher grades, meet new U.S. friends, network with faculty, develop English skills, and avoid unnecessary acculturation stresses during their initial transition.

The tour’s theme is the “10 Best Strategies to Adjust and Succeed in the United States”.  For example, one of my seminars will be hosted at the prestigious Sookmyung Women’s University located in Seoul, South Korea.  I’m thrilled to collaborate with the Asia Institute and the HLSL Institute to teach 100 students in a three hour seminar consisting of traditional lecture, common U.S. classroom activities, guest speakers, group work, student and faculty videos, and an interactive workbook.  Together, we will provide these students with the elite preparation (knowledge and skills) to become excellent students in the U.S.

Study in the U.S.A.

Study in the U.S.A.

“미국대학에적응하고성공하기위한 10가지전략”

이세미나는학생들이미국대학에서또는다른교육기관에서공부할때미국의문화로적응하고, 건강, 안전, 성적, 전문적기술, 영어능력등을향상시키는것을준비하도록도와줍니다.

학생들은연구조사, 시범설명, 강의, 활동, 인터액티브워크북(Interactive Workbook), 초청연사, 학생, 학생경험담, 질의응답의순서로세미나를접하게됩니다.


Visit to enroll in the Seoul seminar on September 15, 2014 6-9 pm.

Schools or agencies in Beijing, China and Seoul, South Korea are invited to contact Dr. Tara Madden-Dent about collaborating during the 2014 tour and future tours (i.e. school visits, lectures, and seminars, etc). 

“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson.




Filed under Higher Education, International Education

Dr. Tara Madden-Dent Prepares International Students to Successfully Study in the U.S.

Studying in the United States may be more difficult and costly than you realize.  Transitioning and adjusting in the U.S. culture may impose significant professional, academic, health, and safety hardships on international students which negatively impact their success.  After extensive research and experience, Dr. Tara Madden-Dent has developed the 10 most effective transition and adjustment strategies for international students to save time and money while living healthier and happier lives during their formative time at a U.S. college or university.

Partner with cultural relocation and adjustment expert, Dr. Tara Madden-Dent, and learn the most efficient strategies to thrive in the U.S.  culture and achieve your academic and professional goals.  She will help you develop the necessary skills required to navigate your new city, college campus, work environment, and  succeed in today’s complex culture.

To avoid common negative acculturation hardships that most newcomers experience, contact Dr. Madden-Dent who will personally guide you as an American Ambassador throughout the transition and adjustment process.  Feel safer, healthier, more connected, and more confident at school, home, work, and in your community.  Contact Dr. Madden-Dent at or visit to learn more.

Welcome & Introduction Video: Dr. Tara Madden-Dent

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Filed under Higher Education, HLSL Institute, International Education

I’m a Ph.D. and LOVING IT! Watch my dissertation presentation in under 3 minutes.

It feels AMAZING to have walked across the stage at the University of Nevada’s graduation commencement to officially recognize my Ph.D. in Educational Leadership specializing in international education.  To top things off, I’ve received second place for a fun university competition called the “3 Minute Dissertation Presentation”.  My short (< 3 minute) video summarizes my dissertation.  My full +200 page paper is published through the ProQuest Dissertation Database.  To learn more about my research without reading the entire document, you can always post a comment on this blog and we’ll discuss it.


I look forward to applying my research as I teach international people pursuing life, work, and studies in the United States.  If you are interested in learning more about how I applying my findings into practice, visit HLSL Institute.  Not only am I working in the United States, but I am available for international speaking, teaching, and training assignments. Contact me and we’ll schedule your next cross-cultural preparation workshop or seminar to prepare students, employees, or family members for successful transition and adjustment into the U.S.



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Filed under Higher Education, International Education, Leadership

Educational Leadership: Dale Erquiaga, NV Superintendent of Public Instruction

Dale Erquiaga, the Superintendent of Public Instruction of Nevada’s Department of Education joined my students and me at the University of Nevada yesterday.  I teach Educational Leadership in Modern Society and Educational School Law courses.  Dale generously contributed his time to help support my students’ (future NV teachers and administrators) professional development by responding to their questions (posted below).  His responses to their questions are found in the comment section.

1. Please share your thoughts about the NV teacher & administrator evaluations. (Please include some short-term and long-term benefits, challenges, concerns.)


2. Please share about the Common Core State Standards Initiative. (Please include how it will be implemented and used.)


3. Please share your thoughts about the new NV higher education funding formula. (Please include some short-term and long-term benefits, challenges, concerns.


4. What are some recommendations for future teachers/administrators entering into public NV K12 positions?


5. How can college students get more involved with legislative decisions impacting Nevada education?


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Video Interview: International Student from China

Thanks to my UNR student Elizabeth for conducting an interview with Yiefi, an international student from China.  Yiefi revealed many interesting topics and challenges that one faces when traveling to the United States from another country. These cross-cultural challenges bring many opportunities for new programs and ideas to help ease the transition into our very unique culture.

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International Teaching Interview: features HLSL Insitute features HLSL Insitute

Lillie Marshall (@WorldLillie), creator of interviewed Tara Madden-Dent about HLSL Institute.

The interview discussed how How Leaders Should Lead Institute teachers can work from anywhere and how HLSL Institute helps international students succeed during U.S. study abroad. The interview identifies how HLSL Institute helps people from all around the world, how educators can become more culturally competent, and how it provides cultural education.

To read the interview, read it below or visit A Job Teaching International Students About American Culture.

Tara Madden-Dent, an international educator and University Instructor, has a passion to stimulate a global dialog about culture and education.

The article:

Tara at the University of Nevada's Child Development Classroom.

Teaching Traveling: Welcome to Tara Madden-Dent, founder of the HLSL Institute: an innovative program to help international students transition into U.S. culture. 

TT: Tara, tell us about your background:.

Tara: It’s a relatively short commute from home in Lake Tahoe to work at the University of Nevada. I’ve taught undergraduate and graduate students “Education and Society”, “Nevada School Law”, & “Children and Families in Multiethnic Societies”. I love what I do, especially when it deals with cultural studies. My Ph.D. is almost finished which specializes in international education and cross-cultural adaptation. That’s why I expanded my profession to include HLSL Institute: a hybrid teaching program instructing international students (from around the world) how to transition into the U.S. culture. I get to teach from anywhere.

International student introducing an American Ambassador to friends back home.

(right) International student introducing an American Ambassador to friends back home.

TT: Tell us more about your world exploration. 

Tara: Although I’ve traveled to many countries for pleasure and professional reasons, an interesting aspect of my current role at HLSL Institute is that I can experience a variety of cultures from anywhere. For example, I’m currently teaching or working with South Koreans, Chinese, and Japanese students in their home country because of technology. When they arrive in the U.S, we can continue working online or also face-to-face.

How cool is it that I get paid to teach about U.S. culture to people from around the world while they teach me about their culture? Often times we become great friends and now have places to stay when we do travel internationally. Is there a better job than that?

Tara in Jamaica: Working from the sandy beaches of Negril.

(right) Tara in Jamaica: Working from the sandy beaches of Negril.

TT: Amazing! How did you find this opportunity?

Tara: HLSL Institute is my creation. After years of research, the need for it was too great to overlook. I now watch American Ambassadors (my teachers) transforming our students’ lives as they transition into the U.S. culture. My international students and expatriates (including their families) now seek me out because the educational program works. I can go into theory and describe my research, but in short, those who learn from a trained, caring local mentor/teacher or friend, have a better transition. That’s how this opportunity found me: I was that friend.

TT: Love it. Tell us one moment from your international connections that was particularly powerful.

Tara: One day, a woman in her 40’s from Cuba contacted me and wanted to meet. She was beautiful, kind, and funny. That’s why my heart broke when her tears began muffling her story.

Apparently, she had been in the U.S. for about 6 months after arriving with her husband (an expatriate contracted in the U.S. for one year). She still had no friends, knew almost no English, and was terrified to leave the house without her husband. This moment changed my life. Here I was, a person seeking to know this culture, befriend and teach people like her, and she was hiding at home too afraid to pick up a ringing telephone. She said, “I feel like I’m shrinking. I’m lonely, sad, and afraid”. I knew right then that teaching international sojourners was my destiny.

Teaching from laptops to international students across the globe.

Teaching from laptops to international students all the way across the globe.

TT: So powerful. You’re doing important work! How have your travels impacted you as a teacher and in your HLSL career?

Tara: There is a common theme that I’ve witnessed during my travels and interactions with various cultures that directly impacts my teaching. It’s that compassion and empathy is understood by all cultures and creates an authentic connection transcending cultural or language differences. Knowing this helps me connect with my students regardless of where they originate from. For example, a woman from Iran recently told me that our “inner connection” was stronger than our language gaps. She felt that “we are the same”, that we were friends. I saw that this made her more comfortable to engage with other U.S. natives and that’s what I’m all about.

TT: Beautiful. How has travel impacted you as a person?

T: It’s all about learning. As a life-long international learner, travel provides infinite opportunity to expand my identity. People, languages, cultures, food, music, history, religions, etc. help shape my worldviews and my ability to contribute a lasting valuable legacy. I’m a better leader and global citizen because of my travels.

Tara at the Pantheon in Italy: Experiencing Rome while teaching about U.S. culture.

(right) Tara at the Pantheon in Italy: Experiencing Rome while teaching about U.S. culture.

TT: What advice do you have for teachers who are dreaming of travel, or travelers dreaming of teaching?

T: The world is your oyster! International education is on the rise every year (thus, increasing a need for teachers) and with technology, you can teach from anywhere. First, search the internet for grants and scholarships to teach or travel abroad and for positions, then, commit! More opportunities will present themselves as your travels unfold. You don’t need to know how your travel story or teaching story ends, just begin the story and see where it takes you. There are tons of blogs and tools to learn the tricks to succeed at both travel and teaching, but you need to make the decision to commit. Once you do, it’s a win-win lifestyle and the benefits are infinite.

TT: Thanks so much, Tara! Readers, what questions or comments do you have? 

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Video Interview: International Transition into the U.S.

Thanks to my student Alyssa for conducting an interview with Gungoo Lee, who relocated in the U.S. from South Korea.  Gungoo revealed many interesting topics and challenges that one faces when traveling to the United States from another country. These cross-cultural challenges bring many opportunities for new programs and ideas to help ease the transition into our very unique culture.

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Filed under Higher Education, International Education