Category Archives: Higher Education
REGISTRATION: VISIT WEBSITE HERE
To read the whitepaper and foundation of this webinar, Pre-departure Training for Study Abroad: Preparing Fulbright Scholars for Study in the USA, FIND PDF HERE
Or copy/paste the following link into URL box:
“Truth can be stated in a thousand different ways, yet each one can be true.”
~ Swami Vivekananda
One of my major takeaways after working with thousands of international students, scholars, and visiting faculty, is that truth, although true for the beholder, is different for each person. Pending his or her cultural background and personal experiences, we speak truths from of own perspective. Thus, we often misunderstand the intentions of those who operate from alternative truths.
It turns out though, that if we take the time to learn accurate information about others’ cultural frameworks and perspectives, their truths make sense too. The trick is taking the time to learn and making sure the content aligns with the targeted demographic.
By doing this, we bridge invisible gaps and minimize barriers which keep us separated, ignorant, in fear or in competition with those we don’t understand. By knowing more about another person’s culture, we empower ourselves to communicate more effectively with them. We also begin to more easily navigate with people from diverse backgrounds. Our newly understood truths form mutual respect and lead to new ways to live peacefully together.
We see more bridging between differing cultures occur more and more in businesses that work across multiple countries, at universities with international education programs, with government and non-profit organizations. That’s why www.CulturallyConfident.com provides classes, workshop training, and camps to teach students, employees, and faculty the skills they need in our ever increasing global economy.
There are so many ways to apply the class content for academic or professional goals.
Here are increases that class participants reported from completing cultural bridge class:
- Intercultural Adjustment and Integration
- Self-Awareness and Critical Thinking Skills
- Intercultural Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
- International Leadership Skills
- Academic and Workplace Readiness
- Cross-cultural Communication Skills
- Intercultural Team Collaboration
- Self-Confidence and Overall Relocation Satisfaction
For more information about the classes, workshops, or orientations, contact me at email@example.com
For more class and camp information, visit www.CulturallyConfident.com
Prepare for USA College and University!
Class Name: U.S. Academics and Culture
Class Topics: Western Academics, Culture and Communication, Professional Readiness
Student Rewards: U.S. Transcript Record with 3 Class Credits, Letter of Recommendation, Certificate of Completion
Class Introduction Video: https://youtu.be/fdtVvKSHqew
Who should enroll?
- Students who want to prepare for U.S. study
- Students who want to become more competitive
- Students 14 years old, or older who can complete the class in English
What do students learn?
- Success strategies for U.S. study and cultural adjustment
- Western interaction and communication styles
- Professional development and networking skills
- Western student responsibilities
- University communication, readiness, & socialization skills
When to enroll?
- A new class starts the first Monday of every month
- Upcoming class start dates:
- June 6, July 4, Aug 1, Sept 5, Oct 3, Nov 7, Dec 5
- Students must complete the class within 12 weeks from the official class start date
- Students finish class at their pace
Why students enroll?
- To become ready for U.S.education and western culture
- To earn a letter of recommendation (in English) from a U.S. Professor
- To earn a Certificate of Completion for resumes and school applications
- To earn 3 U.S. university credits towards an undergraduate degree
- To save money online compared to taking the class in the U.S.
- To complete their first university class at their pace, conveniently online
What is “U.S. Academics & Culture” online class?
THE OLDEST, MOST ADVANCED UNIVERSITY READINESS CLASS IN THE WORLD, TAUGHT ONLINE, WORTH EARN 3 UNIVERSITY CREDITS!
Students who pass the class earn:
- U.S. strategies to succeed in western universities
- Western communication and socialization skills
- Three university credits on a U.S. transcript
- Letter of Recommendation from a U.S. Professor (in English) to strengthen university applications and job resumes
- Certificate of Competition to strengthen university applications and job resumes
- Preferred acceptance into an elite 4-year private U.S. college
There’s no application and no English score required. Visit http://www.hlslinstitute.com to enroll today!
Who can enroll?
- International students 14 years old, or older
- Students who can complete the class in English (No TOEFL required, but recommended score of 60 and higher)
- Students who want to learn success skills for U.S. study
- Students who want to become more competitive for school and job applications
When to enroll?
- Simple answer, at anytime
- A new class starts each first Monday of every month
- The 2016 class schedule: Jan 18th, Feb 1st, March 7th, April 4th, May 2nd, July 5th, Aug 1st, Sept 6th, Oct 3rd, Nov 7th, and Dec 5th
How to enroll?
- Click this “Enroll Now” link or the button below
How long does it take to finish the class?
- Students complete the class on their own pace. Some students take a couple weeks, some students take several. All students must complete the class within 12 weeks.
How does this cost compare with the cost of taking 3 credits in the United States?
Looking for a scholarship? Partial scholarships are provided on a case by case basis. Please click here to email our team.
“This on-line course will provide the keys to success for studies in the United States. From how to effectively apply to your school of choice to strategies of how to integrate on campus when you first arrive, Tara and her team will guide you through the entire process.” Susie Askew, Director at the University of Nevada, Reno Office of International Students and Scholars
“Knowing culture before coming to U.S. decreases anxiety for adjusting to new country. Just for my culture, I think it’s really mandatory, before.” — Minjae L., Seoul, South Korea
“This study is helpful for me. It helped mentally prepare me studying and to meeting new friends.” — Wei C., Shanghai, China
“Knowing culture gave me confidence to talk, get involved, and participate.” — Wayne L., Beijing, China
FREE WEBINAR – Wednesday, January 10, 2016
Register for the Webinar that Works Best for Your Time Zone:
Time: (Japan 1900 / 7 pm JST; South Korea 1900 / 7 pm KST; China 1800 / 6 pm CST)
Registration URL: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/9134209712079716610
Webinar ID: 101-847-563 United States: +1 (415) 930-5321 Access Code: 337-877-485
Time: (Colombia and Peru 1800 / 6 pm COT; USA 6 pm EST & 3 pm PST)
Registration URL: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5194110893457792258
Webinar ID: 113-033-235 United States: +1 (914) 614-3221 Access Code: 239-072-648
Time: (Western Europe and Central Africa 1800 / 6 pm CET, UTC/GMT +1 hour)
Registration URL: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5892876921188446210
Webinar ID: 112-670-603 United States: +1 (562) 247-8422 Access Code: 166-492-316
Time: Kuwait and Saudi Arabia 1800 / 6 pm AST; Brazil 2000 / 8 pm BRST
Registration URL: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/187050389286685954
Webinar ID: 111-060-659 United States: +1 (415) 930-5321 Access Code: 267-977-595
We improve the quality of life for international students by teaching U.S. academics and culture. International students can more easily navigate U.S. university classrooms, campuses, and social networks to achieve academic, social, and professional goals.
Since 2010, our team has been on the forefront of pre-departure research and instruction to support students pursuing study abroad. We teach pre-departure and post-arrival classesthat help international students manage cultural and academic challenges associated with adjustment in new schools.
Through curriculum design, international teaching and presentations, online webinars, research, and publications, we provide international students with early, effective, and practical education so they live healthier, more successful, and happier lives.
I know it’s been a few weeks since the last post but this is why…
I had an AMAZINGLY successful educational tour throughout South Korea and China promoting the world’s first online university course for international students worth 3 course credits on a U.S. transcript.
International students take the online course to:
- Learn U.S. university study, work, and communication skills
- Earn 3 academic credits on a U.S. university transcript
- Experience their first U.S. college course
- Save time and money compared to traveling to the U.S.A. for class
- Earn a Letter of Recommendation to strengthen U.S. university and travel visa applications
- Earn a Certificate of Completion to strengthen job applications
INTERNATIONAL TOUR STOPS
Locations: Seoul, South Korea; Daegu, South Korea; Shanghai, China; Beijing, China
Organizations: U.S.Embassies; EducationUSA; Fulbright; International Schools, ICEF Monitor; AIEF Conference; Student Recruiting Agencies
We’d like to thank everyone we met and worked with along the tour for introducing their students and friends to the class. Our new school and agent partners are helping us to improve study abroad and international education through early college-level education.
Pass on the online class, “U.S. Academics and Culture” to international students and their parents.
Higher Education Tour Partners
Webinar: Discussing a Research Study about Study Abroad and Pre-departure Preparation for Internatioanl Students
Pre-departure Preparation of East Asian Students for U.S. Academic & Cultural Challenges
This is the topic I will be discussing during Wednesday’s webinar entitled Developing Cultural Competence at the College and University Level hosted by the Berlitz Training Management Corporation on June 17 (7:00 am PST).
Join the webinar and learn about how online cultural training is applied in U.S. universities. Hope to see you Wednesday online. ~ Tara
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 study abroad prep-classes.
First tested at a U.S. research university, then applied to HLSL Institute’s 2014 International Education Tour in South Korea and China, and now offered at U.S. schools, “U.S. Academics and Culture”, is an online or hybrid pre-departure school readiness class that strengthens academic performance, communication skills, and cultural adjustment. This student support effort also helps international students be healthier, safer, happier, and more professionally prepared in the U.S.
Because this classes teaches international students more accurate expectations about study, life, language, and work during first year experiences in the USA, high schools and universities can provide it simultaneously address recruitment, integration, and retention issues. Research findings indicated that international students are more confident (less stressed) to leave home and study in the USA, gain U.S. cultural knowledge and U.S. academic skills, better communicate with US natives and build more U.S. friendships, gain networking and small-talk skills, and better understand the importance for campus engagement and support resources.
U.S. institutions are now offering and/or requiring this class to prospective and newly admitted international students and domestic students before study abroad. Sierra Nevada College was the first private college who made the online class available to any international student in efforts to welcome and encourage them to the USA.
P.s. This class can also be effective for first-year international students who are already in the U.S. to aid with their transition, adjustment, and integration.
Contact me to learn how your U.S. high school or university can offer a pre-departure class like “U.S. Academics and Culture”.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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!
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.
The excitement for this fall’s 2014 International Education Tour has now intensified after I taught international students from Shanghai Ocean University at Sierra Nevada College. These students are visiting Nevada, USA for three weeks to get a feel for the U.S. educational system and learn professional development skills.
For two hours, I had the pleasure of teaching these students for their first U.S. college class. The lesson focused on entrepreneurial strategies to brand themselves or a product using social media platforms (AKA: Social Business). The cross-cultural instruction and learning was accomplished through student surveys, reflections, lecture, demonstration, and activities. Although language was an initial concern, the international students surpassed all expectation and showcased amazing talent to adapt to the U.S. learning style and apply their new knowledge in small group activities. It was a lot of fun!
As an international speaker, I’ve developed curriculum for Eastern Asian students to learn cultural knowledge and skills so they can adjust faster during their transition into the U.S. culture and succeed in U.S. classrooms. I look forward to traveling to China this fall (after a 16 day stop in South Korea) to teach U.S. college success skills and cultural competencies. I invite other Shanghai and Beijing schools to contact me via Twitter (@DrTaraMDent) or in the comment section below to collaborate while I’m visiting abroad.
Here is one example of an upcoming U.S. College Student Success seminar held in Seoul, South Korean on Sept. 15:
Student: “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.
이세미나는학생들이미국대학에서또는다른교육기관에서공부할때미국의문화로적응하고, 건강, 안전, 성적, 전문적기술, 영어능력등을향상시키는것을준비하도록도와줍니다.
학생들은연구조사, 시범설명, 강의, 활동, 인터액티브워크북(Interactive Workbook), 초청연사, 학생, 학생경험담, 질의응답의순서로세미나를접하게됩니다.
Visit www.studyusaseminar.eventbrite.com 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit hlslinstitute.org to learn more.
Welcome & Introduction Video: Dr. Tara Madden-Dent
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
(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?
(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 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.
(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?
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.
Thanks to my UNR student Laura for conducting an interview with Julie about her international transition from El Salvador. Julie revealed many interesting 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.
Thanks to my UNR student Brianna Muse for conducting an interview with Ali Fall, an international student from Senegal, Africa. Ali 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.
Thanks to Trudy, my UNR student, for conducting an interview with Alex Ngo, an international student from Vietnam. Alex 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.
Thank to my UNR student, Ariel for her wonderful final project interviewing Stelios Papafloratos. The transition into a new culture can be very challenging. Stelios introduces us to his cross-cultural experience.
Thanks to my UNR student Jessica for conducting an interview with Alexandra who came to America from El Salvador. Alexandra revealed many interesting 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.