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 tara@taramaddendent.com or visit hlslinstitute.org to learn more.

Welcome & Introduction Video: Dr. Tara Madden-Dent

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Dr. Tara Madden-Dent prepares you for life in the U.S.

Transitioning and adjusting in the United States culture may be more difficult and costly than you realize. 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 to achieve your professional, academic, and personal goals.  She will help you save time, money, and energy when relocating to a new U.S. city, in addition to helping you develop professional skills required to succeed in today’s competitive work environment.

To avoid common negative acculturation hardships that most newcomers usually experience, contact Dr. Madden-Dent to personally guide you as your American Ambassador.  Feel safer, healthier, more connected, and more confident at work, school, home, and in your community.  Contact Dr. Madden-Dent at tara@taramaddendent.com or visit hlslinstitute.org to learn more about how you can strategically adjust and succeed in your new U.S. city and lifestyle.

Welcome & Introduction Video: Dr. Tara Madden-Dent

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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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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: TeachingTraveling.com features HLSL Insitute

TeachingTraveling.com features HLSL Insitute

Lillie Marshall (@WorldLillie), creator of www.TeachingTraveling.com 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? 

* So far, this article has been read by 573 fans, with 1 visits today. Share it around!

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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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Video Interview: International Transition

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.

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Video Interview: International Student from Senegal

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.

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Video Interview: International Student Transition

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.

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Video Interview: Greek International Student

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.

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Video Interview: International Transition

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.

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Video Interview: Korean Student Transitions to Reno, NV

Thanks to my student Yujin Kwak for conducting an interview with Woong Kim, an international student from Korea. Woong 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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Video Interview: International Student from France

Thanks to Brit, my UNR student, for conducting an interview with Victor, an international student from France.  Victor 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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HackSchooling – Educational Leadership Issues

Logan Laplante, a 13 year-old boy, spoke at a 2013 TEDx talk about his experience with the educational system, home schooling, tailored education/learning styles, and “HackSchooling”.  How can this young student’s new perspective encourage educational leaders to improve our current and future educational systems?

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Video Interview: International Student’s Transition (Vietnam to U.S.)

Thanks to my UNR student, Nicolette Rizzuto, for conducting an interview with Autumn , an international student from Vietnam.  Autumn 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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But I Have A College Degree….

At the closing of my office hours, a college student asked, “How can I become more professionally competitive before graduation?”.   When I inquired about her unique skills and experiences, she simply responded, “Well, I’ll soon have a college degree. Isn’t that enough?”.

Unfortunately, her response is quite common among college students.  Why do they think that a college degree equates to being valuable in the job market or even entitles them to a job after graduation?  IT DOESN’T!  Passing a class does not mean you have the qualifications to lead and administer many jobs. If fact, I would not hire many of my graduating college students.

A University colleague had mentioned that a basic college degree is just that, basic. He noted that many employers complain about how their new college graduate employees lack basic skills and struggle keeping up in today’s evolving business climate.  An increasingly popular expectation is that job applicants should have at least a college degree which makes other applicants with a unique skill, an advanced or professional degree, or some leadership or professional experience more valuable.  Having a mere college degree doesn’t mean you’ll be competitive in today’s job market and certainly doesn’t guarantee anyone a job after graduation.

I recommend that students develop and demonstrate unique skills before or during college that make them more competitive in our international job market.  So what does it take to stand out from the thousands of job seeking applicants?  I note a few key skills that can significantly make your resume shine in our globalized economy.

The first skill is to learn a second language.  (Many people outside the U.S. are laughing right now since it’s common for them to be fluent in two, three, or four languages). But for U.S. college students, learn a new language.  Bridging multiple languages is a true asset in almost all job markets and as globalization increases mobility, you can work in any location that you want, presupposing you have the ability to effectively communicate with the people in that area.  If you want to be highly competitive and a desired applicant, know at least a second language.

The second skill, is customer service communication skills. Regardless of your occupation, you most likely work with people in some degree.  Think of everyone you work with as a customer and provide your value to satisfy your responsibility to them.  As our planet blends into one big melting pot of nationalities, ethnicities, languages, religions, and life styles, you’re ability to work with diverse groups will make you a true competitor in the job market.  Operate from a server’s frame and practice interpersonal skills to be an effective communicator.

The last skill I recommend you consider having is social network skills.  This skill can be scary and intimidating for many but it’s an increasingly important skill for job seekers.  Even basic social networking skills can increase your worth as an employee if you market yourself professionally.  In the next few years, our world will experience significant dependency on technological applications.  So if you haven’t already, get in on the action by learning how to professionally use Facebook, Twitter, HootSuite, blogs, etc. and market your skills to future employers.

If I could go back in time to relive my college experience I would acquire all of these skills by committing to one academic and professional activity: Study Abroad.  Living in a non-English speaking country would help me learn a new language, effectively work with diverse groups, build leadership skills, and because I’d want to document my experience while sinuously communicating with family and friends back home, I’d also learn social media and technology communication skills.

When I read a college graduate’s application who has international experience on their resume, I see a competitive applicant.   For other helpful tips to increase your competitive edge, check out Social BusinessStudy Abroad or Skype Tips.

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Video Interview: International Student from Japan in Reno, NV

Thanks to my student Kristen VanCitters for conducting an interview with Moe Orihara, an international student from Tokyo, Japan,.  Moe 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 Ph.D. Student Talks About Transition into Reno, NV

Filiz Gozenman, a Ph.D. student from Turkey shares about her transitional experience into Reno, NV.

3 short videos:

 

 

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Can a hug discriminate?

Students at the University gave free hugs to strangers throughout Reno

 

Hugs on campusStudents from the University’s College of Education dispersed throughout Reno with “Free Hugs” signs to study preconceived prejudices and confront their fears. More than 700 voluntary hugs were given to strangers.What if a stranger offered you a free hug simply as a gesture of love, connection and comfort? What factors would impact your decision to accept or deny the embrace? Would it make a difference if the hug came from someone who looks like you instead of being a different race, age, weight, social class or culture? If so, why does it matter?

Students at the University of Nevada, Reno set out to personally experience this interaction through a Free Hugs activity that investigated the demographics and reactions of random strangers who accepted or denied a free hug. Students held a sign that stated “Free Hugs”, and waited for volunteering strangers to participate at various Reno locations.

The purpose of the assignment was two-fold.  First, students observed the behaviors of strangers’ who participated in the hug, avoided or dodged the hug, and those who only watched curiously from afar. Second, students reflected and analyzed their personal experiences before, during and after the activity including any concerns, prejudices or feelings.

The analysis resulted in several conclusions, including the acknowledgement of apprehension and identification of prejudices.

“There was a man that came up to me who wore a turban,” one student who conducted her activity at Truckee Meadows Community College said. “He asked if he could get a hug with his arms stretched out wide. I was nervous, but pushed that aside and said yes. The hug was normal like if I had hugged a friend. That surprised me. My rush of nervousness left as he walked away, but that’s when I felt bad.  That was the first time I had ever hugged someone wearing a turban and it was then, I was aware of my bias.  Seeing the turban made me think of September 11th and terrorism, because that’s all I’ve seen portrayed on the news.”

All students who participated experienced fear, anxiety or prejudice. As strangers approached for a free hug, students became aware of their apprehensions connected with certain groups of people, took note of how they felt and what they thought, and then reflected on why they experienced those effects. Students identified that most of their ingrained fears stemmed from ignorance about the stranger’s culture. Additionally, students mentioned that their prejudiced thoughts linked back to negative images they had seen on television news stories and movies. These unwarranted fears contributed to why students may have been divided from the strangers their whole life.

“I thought he might be a homeless guy,” another student recounted. “He got up and started to walk toward me.  My heart started to pound because I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Would he smell bad or say something inappropriate? Surprisingly, both answers were no.”

Free Hugs

This activity also required students to identify their own prejudices and make a choice: allow their fear to control their actions before denying the stranger’s hug, or decide to expand their cultural awareness by “embracing” the moment and experiencing a heightened sense of vulnerability and inclusiveness.

“As a visitor from Pakistan, this may have been the only hug I would ever receive my entire life from a stranger, especially a female stranger, since it is not allowed where I’m from,” a man who chose to accept a student’s hug said.

All students reported feeling excitement, joy, connection and/or accomplishment by the end of the activity.

“I’m going to save my Free Hugs sign and use it again, not for an assignment, but just because it made a difference in my life and many other lives,” one student said.

“Even after I had more than enough hugs to write about my experience, I wanted to stay out longer because it felt good,” another student said. “I could tell by strangers’ hugs, smiles and words of encouragement that others were feeling good too.”

By the end of the exercise, 700 – 800 hugs were exchanged around Reno.

This College of Education multicultural capstone course taught by Tara Madden-Dent is highly innovative and effective to incorporate empirical research with personal reflection. Students reported they had never taken a cultural studies course with such personal conviction and enlightenment as they studied similarities and differences between cultures. Tara Madden-Dent teaches Human Development & Family Studies and Education courses at the University of Nevada, Reno. Her educational blog can be found at https://taramaddendent.com/.

Original Article posted on UNR’s news website Nevada Today.

 

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My Interview with TeachingTraveling.com about HLSL Insitute

How fun is it to participate with Lillie Marshall (@WorldLillie) on www.TeachingTraveling.com?!!  It’s a blast!

As a featured guest, my interview discusses how I can teach from anywhere while expanding How Leaders Should Lead Institute. We discuss how HLSL Institute helps people from all around the world, how educators can become more culturally competent, and introduces cultural education.

Check out A Job Teaching International Students About American Culture to read the interview and share your thoughts.

As an international educator and University Instructor, I’m thrilled to be a part of the diverse global dialog about culture and education.

 HLSL Institute Featured Article

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What is Cultural Competence?

A student of mine shared a link to the State of Washington’s Superintendent of Public Instruction website during a discussion about cultural competence.
The website shared the following definition of what cultural competence is and what it is not.

“…cultural competence goes beyond memorizing a checklist of surface-level customs and cultural differences.
Cultural competence allows educators to ask questions about their practice in order to successfully teach students who come from different cultural backgrounds.

Developing skills in cultural competence is like learning a language, a sport or an instrument. The learner must learn, re-learn, continuously practice, and develop in an environment of constant change. Cultures and individuals are dynamic — they constantly adapt and evolve.

Cultural competence is:

•Knowing the community where the school is located.
•Understanding all people have a unique world view.
•Using curriculum that is respectful of and relevant to the cultures represented in its student body.
•Being alert to the ways that culture affects who we are.
•Placing the locus of responsibility on the professional and the institution.
•Examining systems, structures, policies and practices for their impact on all students and families.

Cultural competence is not:

•Good intentions.
•Cultural celebrations at designated times of the year, in designated ways.
•Kumbaya diversity.
•A list of stereotypes about what people from a particular cultural group do.
•Assumptions that all students from one culture operate in similar ways and have had similar experiences.
•The responsibility of children, their parents or the community.
•Color-blindness (treating everybody the same).
•Simple tolerance.”

As future educators and school administrators, we need to identify how intercultural and cross-cultural competence influences teacher preparation, student development, curriculum design, and educational policy.

“As educators, we want the best for students and seek ways to meet the needs of all learners in our classrooms. We sometimes find that this requires skills and knowledge far above and beyond the content area we are teaching…
Cultural competence provides a set of skills that professionals need in order to improve practice to serve all students and communicate effectively with their families. These skills enable the educator to build on the cultural and language qualities that young people bring to the classroom rather than viewing those qualities as deficits.

Cultural competence training asks educators to confront the stereotypes held both consciously and unconsciously about students. Bias affects the way that we perceive and teach students and has the potential to negatively affect student achievement.

Teachers who aspire to become more culturally competent can build relationships based on trust with students and their families, even though they experience the world in different ways. This is essential to closing academic achievement gaps and to fulfilling all students’ civil right to a quality education.”

My students are primarily future teachers and administrators. Read the comment section of “Cultural Studies & International Education” for a very interesting dialog about how they perceive the roll of multicultural, intercultural, and cross-cultural K12 education.  Other resources are introduced such as a great video: Why We Need Multicultural Education and a helpful webpage: Building Culturally Competent Organizations.

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Cultural Studies & International Education

Middle school

What impact does cross-cultural and international education have on the individual, the U.S. and the world? What are some benefits that come from cultural education and self-reflection? Is there any relationship connecting cultural awareness to personal development, social justice, international business, environmental sustainability, and world peace? If so, should more K-12 curriculum introduce multicultural studies and international education?

These are a few questions I challenge you to consider and then share in the comment section below. Feel free to provide resources that stimulate thought about this subject. We can all learn something from others. This is your opportunity to discuss an increasingly important and popular subject in the educational system.

Interesting resources include:

Programs like The Global Classroom in Portland, Oregon and the K-12 Global Education Outreach at Texas Tech University suggest that cultural studies are critical elements to well-rounded educational programs.

The short videos, Education: Culture Matters, Multiculturalism in the Modern World, and The Audacity and Beauty of Multi-Cultural Education also share the importance about culture based education.

Thank you for taking the time to invest in this subject matter.

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Study Abroad in the U.S. with HLSL Institute

Did you know that the United States continues to be a top study abroad destination for international students?  There have been significant enrollment increases of international students in the U.S. higher education system over the past six years.  In fact, there was a 6.5% increase in 2012 from the previous year reaching a record high of 764,495 international students studying in the United States.  Overall, by 2025, more than 8 million students are projected to be studying outside their home country.  The largest international student population studying in the U.S. is Chinese students. Twenty-five percent of all international students studying in the U.S. are from Mainland China and Taiwan.  Research suggests that this increasing trend will continue.

Middle school

But does this matter and is it this trend a good thing?  Yes and yes.  International students heighten global diversity awareness on campuses helping colleges and universities achieve their diversity missions, contribute to high quality research, and provide significant financing to institutions and to the U.S. economy.  Did you know that international students are a foreign policy asset contributing almost $22 billion annually to the U.S. economy?  Yes, I said $22 billion.  

But in order to maintain status as a top study abroad destination, the U.S. needs to begin investing in intercultural and cross-cultural research as well as specialized cultural services to address international student needs.

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You see, there’s a large array of transitional difficulties  impacting international students’ academic, social, and  professional success.  These students often struggle with language barriers, transportation challenges, social relationships, cultural differences, healthcare options, work (or lack thereof), life planning skills, new living conditions, and other cultural stresses. Many international students have described their campus’s services as limited and often inconsistent in helping with their cultural adaptation.  In fact, most cross-cultural competency training only begins after international students arrive to their U.S. campus during their stressful first semester.

Cultural competence training does contribute to greater intercultural sensitivity and cross-cultural adaptation. In fact, cultural preparation and training supports student academic success and their overall wellness. 
In addition, earlier cross-cultural preparation and more experience with or knowledge about a foreign culture, can help international students transition into the U.S. culture faster.  So, we know what needs to be done, what are some ways to implement earlier and more effective cultural preparation for this emerging student population?

HLSLinstituteLOGO

There is one academic pedagogical model, grounded on cross-cultural adaptation theory and student development theories, that prepares international students for successful cross-cultural adjustment and academic success: How Leaders Should Lead Institute (HLSL Institute).  HLSL Institute has studied the unique needs of international students as well as campus best practices to address their unique transitional needs.  Its programs are organized in three cross-cultural phases to meet this demographics unique academic adjustment needs:

  1. Predeparture cross-cultural training before international students come to the U.S.
  2. Post-arrival cross-cultural training during their studies abroad
  3. Repatriation preparation and/or professional development

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 Becoming a significant resource to improve study abroad, HLSL  Institute works with public or private, two-year or four-year,  traditional or online institutions to attract, recruit, retain, and  graduate successful international students.  As study abroad  enrollment steadily increases, so too will the demand for higher quality cross-cultural student services.

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In addition to students, HLSL Institute serves all  new international travelers, expatriates, or persons relocating to  a new culture in the U.S.  To contact a program director or learn  more information about HLSL Institute, visit www.hlslinstitute.org.

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College Students: Degrees, Employment, & Preparation

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Getting a college degree is no longer enough to land a job after graduation.  Today’s students must take into account not only what they would like to to with their academic training, but what employment opportunities will be available by the time they graduate and how to promote their skills to attract future employment.

According to Celine James in a recent article, Who Should Decide Your College Major, there is strong need for academic programs to better reflect job market trends and for students to be aware of which academic programs will satisfy economic demands by the time of their graduation.  The article states, “As a student, your potential earned income and long-term job prospects should weigh heavily in the decisions you make about majors, degrees and programs… and to weigh the research with your own personal interests and needs”.  In addition, the article introduces some federal funding efforts and legislation intending to incentivize specific degrees in order to help satisfy future employment needs.

Deciding on a college degree or major can be a process to which requires significant consideration.  Pennsylvania State University has shared that 80% of college students are undecided about their college major during their first semester and that 50% of college students switch majors at least once during their academic career.  Penn State recommends that students begin to investigate their academic/professional interests early and provides helpful resources to do so.  One example includes “Major Decisions” written by Michael Leonard.  Remember, while deciding on a degree or major, be sure to balance your academic interest with its practical application in the job market 4-6 years for now.  The next step is to begin marketing yourself for that employment during your college experience.

Two previously discussed examples of how students and faculty can increase their attractiveness for employment include College = Employment and Social Business in Higher Education.   Students must now more than ever, build a professional profile marketing them as a viable job candidate.   Teresa Crane discusses a few strategies that students can practice during and after their academic career to increase professionalism and stand out from their competition.  In her recent article, Career Skills You Won’t Learn in School, she shares the following strategies to become more professionally attractive:

  • Identifying Potential Employers
  • Establish Your Online Presence
  • Develop A Job Search Strategy
  • Networking Skills
  • Job Searching Skills
  • Resumes
  • Cover Letters
  • Job Interviews
  • Job Offers
  • Persistence Skills
  • Future of Work

Finally, if you’re an international college student in the U.S, it can be more difficult getting a job after graduation.  These students often struggle with additional challenges including language, legislative, and cultural barriers.  In response, many of them are now outsourcing new resources that link academic preparation with professional development to enhance their likelihood of post graduation employment.  One educational service includes How Leaders Should Lead Institute (HLSL Institute) which specializes in cross-cultural adaptation in the U.S. International students receive help before, during, and after graduation through an individualized academic plan to manage academic requirements, professional goals, and the skills needed to achieve those goals.

CRUX: Getting a college degree is no longer enough to land a job after graduation.  Today’s students must plan ahead for long-term employment trends, create a personal brand to market their qualifications, as well as consider new professional development options.

I wish this fall semester’s students much success.

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Filed under Higher Education, International Education