Tag Archives: Cross-cultural Adaptation

8 Easy Ways to Prepare for Studying Abroad in the U.S.

Published on 08/11/2016 by Tara Madden-Dent at www.GoOverseas.com

8 Easy Ways to Prepare for Studying Abroad in the U.S.

Thinking about studying in the U.S.? Chances are, you’re new to its education system, culture, study skills, communication styles, and professional networking. Well, have you ever considered how to prepare for the differences between your norms and what you’ll experience in the US?

You might think,

“Well, I traveled to the U.S. one time many years ago and I plan to watch American movies. Will that be enough preparation?”

No! The first year in the U.S. is critical for international students, and if they’re not ready for academic and cultural differences, they can experience significant hardships with school as well as a loss in time, money, and quality of life.

So how can you avoid this? Prepare early for U.S. academics and culture at home.

Use these 8 preparation tips to learn about study skills, culture, networking practices, and day-to-day life management strategies to help with faster adjustment and success at your new institution.

1. Connect with Students at Your Future School on Social Media

One way for you to feel connected to your future school and new home is by joining Facebook groups and other social media. Search your new school’s website for student clubs and organizations that interest you. After selecting one or two of your favorites clubs to join, connect to their social media sites. If these are unavailable, try searching for student groups specific to your university or general social media groups in the local area.

By introducing yourself online and following the group’s updates, you can begin new friendships with others who share your interests. You can also get information on events happening in your destination city. You’ll be able to enter university with a better sense of your surroundings and have more conversation topics to choose from.

Note: It’s not encouraged to “friend” individual people that you do not know / have never talked to on Facebook.

2. Watch Videos by Other International Students and Professors

Watch free online videos to learn what other students and teachers recommend. International students in the U.S. share what they have experienced and American students and faculty share strategies to succeed at their school. Depending on where you’re moving to, these people can help you avoid problems. Watch videos fromTaraMaddendent.com, YouTube, or Vimeo.

3. Attend U.S. Study Abroad Fairs

Attend study abroad fairs

Attend U.S. study abroad fairs in your country and ask school representatives practical questions like:

  • What pre-departure preparation classes does your school provide for international students?
  • What support services are available for me after arriving to campus?
  • Who can I email at your school to learn more about day-to-day life as a student?

Follow up with the new school connections through email and social media. It’s amazing how these professionals can help you prepare for U.S. study.

4. Practice Speaking English

Become more comfortable speaking English by practicing with English speakers and American natives in your country by attending English and culture clubs. Many clubs are free and can be joined through Meetup.

Another way to practice English and to learn about American culture while in your country is by volunteering at U.S. army bases, churches, or companies. If you prefer online strategies, you can also use chat programs like Conversation Exchange or interactive English learning websites.

5. Plan Your First Three Weeks

Give yourself something to look forward to when you first arrive and plan things to do in your first three weeks. Look at your school’s event calendar and add those you want to attend to your personal calendar. Look for a new gym, coffee shop, or place of interest and make a time to go there. Sign up for a fitness class or Meetup event.

Fill up your first 3 weeks in the U.S. with these events and give yourself a busy, but manageable schedule.

6. Take a Trip Before You Go

New York

If you can, consider taking a trip to the U.S. before taking the leap to study abroad. International students who can travel to America for vacations, attend a U.S. high school, or study in short-term programs have unique opportunities to experience the country’s culture and academic systems.

Many international students who participate in summer or winter camps will be able to recognize if an American school is a good fit for their academic goals. These students are able to better prepare for language, culture, and academic differences through these prior experiences.

7. Use Free Online Resources

You can also learn about U.S. history, culture, and social norms online. Blogs and government websites are great tools for learning how to bridge differences between your culture and American culture. The U.S. State Department offers pre-departure support in their article titled 5 steps to U.S. study.

If you currently live near a U.S. Embassy, consider attending an EducationUSA pre-departure orientation where advisers and U.S. alumni provide information and resources to help you prepare for what you’ll experience in the U.S. To locate a center near you, visitEducation USA’s list of advising centers.

8. Earn Credits and Take an Online Preparation Class from a U.S. University

For the first time ever, American universities and colleges are offering international high school and undergraduate students online classes to help them prepare for studying in the US. These online university classes provide academic credits towards an undergraduate degree. You’ll learn strategies to earn higher grades, perform better in American classrooms, learn networking skills, how to bridge cultural gaps, and manage culture shock.

One class example is ELEC 110: U.S. Academics and Culture, a class offered by Sierra Nevada College, for international high school and undergraduate students. This four year private school provides international students with a letter of recommendation, certificates, and Priority Admission to their campus in addition to three transferrable credits towards an undergraduate degree. Scholarships are available for this program.

After taking this course, a high school student in Japan said, “This class has helped me prepare for the U.S. university. I have more confidence in myself because now I know what to expect in the U.S. university and cultures.”

But why do U.S. schools want international students to take online preparation classes? International students who prepare with formal training are more ready for schooling, language and communication, socialization, internships and employable positions in America. Since this option is new, here’s a basic list of what you should expect to learn in an online U.S. preparation class and the benefits you’ll earn.

What you’ll learn
  • Study skills, classroom etiquette, and presentation skills
  • How to write a college paper and take good class notes
  • How to get to know your American professor and earn better grades
  • Ways to prepare for quizzes and examinations in the US
  • US culture and communication skills
  • Time and health management skills
  • How to meet American friends and future employers
What you’ll gain
  • A competitive advantage on your school application
  • A U.S. transcript record with up to three academic credits towards your degree
  • A letter of recommendations from U.S. professors
  • A certificate of completion for your job resume and employment applications
  • Priority admission to select U.S. schools
  • Discounted online university tuition and special scholarships
  • Professional readiness for employment

Why You Should Prepare in Advance

Why prepare to study abroad in the U.S. before you go

Too many international students and their parents assume adjusting into U.S. classrooms and culture will be easy, but ultimately find that assimilation is way more difficult than they expected. In fact, research indicates that unprepared international students can experience academic troubles, misconduct penalties, culture shock, poor health, and even depression. They don’t achieve their academic or language goals, and some even drop out or transfer schools.

International students who prepare at home adjust faster in the U.S. with more confidence and skills to earn higher grades, live healthier lifestyles, develop English skills faster, and become more professionally ready for internships and employment. In fact, U.S. universities require international students to complete academic and cultural training because it’s critical for their success and well-being.

Unfortunately, most training takes place after international students arrive in the U.S., at a time when their energy and attention are split between many new responsibilities: mandatory orientations, moving in, class placement tests, joining clubs, finding classrooms, buying textbooks, and meeting new people, among many others. This is in addition to physical strains from time zone differences and recovering from international jet-lag.

Remember, the first year in the U.S. is critical for your success and health. Regardless of how you prepare for studying abroad in the U.S., it’s important that you do. Save yourself from the unnecessary hassle, time, money, and energy resulting from being unprepared.

Start preparing when before traveling to the U.S. to adjust faster with more confidence, more friends, higher grades, better communication skills, and a higher quality of life.

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New U.S. Class for International Students

Prepare for USA College and University!

young man using tablet

Take Your First U.S. University Class Online with a U.S. Professor

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

Website: www.USAclass.online

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

 

Student Quotes:

“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

“Knowing culture gave me confidence to talk, get involved, and participate.”

— Wayne L. Beijing, China

“It is helpful to learn American subjects using the class videos. I feel more able to express myself when I get to the California school.”

— Jackie Wang

“This study is helpful for me. It helped mentally prepare me studying and to meeting new friends.”

— Wei C., Shanghai, China

 

 

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WEBINAR: The Best Way To Prepare for USA Study

FREE Webinar Training + U.S. University Class Discount

With Dr. Tara Madden-Dent

Wednesday: February 24

  • 6:00PM/1800 Indonesia and Thailand

  • 7:00PM/1900 China and Taiwan

  • 8:00PM/2000 Japan and South Korea

    Don’t wait until you’re in the USA to begin class.             
    International students don’t always get the classes they want and it can delay their progress towards graduation.

Join the Free webinar to learn how:

  • To enroll in your first U.S. university class “U.S. Academics and Culture” and finish it online at home!

  • To learn western study skills, how to earn better grades, how to make U.S. friends, how to network and other professional skills for the USA.

  • To earn 3 course credits on a transferable U.S. transcript!
  • To earn a Letter of Recommendation (in English) by a U.S. Professor!
  • To earn a Certificate of Completion (In English) for their resume!
Be prepared for success in the USA by
Registering for the Free Webinar at:

https://usaconline.leadpages.co/usa-university-webinar/

____________________________________________________

Visit www.usac.online for more information about the class or contact matthew@hlslinstitute.com.

college friends using tablet computerWatch from Mac, PC, Tablet, or Mobile Phone.

HLSL INSTITUTE, USA

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WEBINAR: Three Tips for Succeeding in U.S. Universities (Jan 10)

 Strategies to Succeed in the U.S.A!

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Are you preparing for undergraduate study in the United States? 

Learn three strategies proven to increase student success at U.S. Universities in FREE WEBINAR on JANUARY 10, 2016

 

You will learn:

  1. How to Start U.S. University Early and Why U.S. Universities Want You to

  2. How to Make the Most out of Your Time in the USA and Graduate from Universities Faster

  3. How to Get Ready for Internships and Jobs as a Student

 

Webinar Times – Wednesday, January 10, 2016

Register for the Webinar that Works Best for Your Time Zone:

WEBINAR 1:

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

WEBINAR 2:

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

WEBINAR 3:

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

WEBINAR 4:

Time: Kuwait and Saudi Arabia 1800 / 6 pm AST;      Brazil 1300 / 1 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

Space is limited so register today!  Looking forward to meeting you on Sunday!

 

Helpful Resources: International Student video testimonies about U.S. study:

Many international students struggle with understanding and adjusting to U.S. academics and culture after they arrive for school.  It can negatively impact their grades, health, communication and socialization, professional development, and home country relationships (Video Example: Research).

1 (China), 2 (Graduate Student; China), 3 (London), 4 (China), 5 (Senegal) , 6 (Greece), 7 (Mexico), 8 (Japan), 9 (Congo, South Africa), 10 (Bangkok, Thailand), 11 (Vietnam), 12 (China), 13 (France), 14 (Vietnam), 15 (Turkey). See more at http://www.taramaddendent.com.

 

ABOUT HLSL INSTITUTE

HLSL Institute provides cultural training and preparation for students and scholars.

MISSION: We improve the quality of life for international students by teaching U.S. academics and culture.  By taking our class, international students are more able to navigate U.S. college and university classrooms, campuses, and social networks to achieve academic, social, and professional goals.  Through cultural education, we’re connecting the world, one person at a time.

HLSL Institute teaches the world’s first U.S. university preparation class called, “U.S. Academics & Culture

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FREE WEBINAR: International Students Earn 3 College Credits on U.S. College Transcript (September 15)

Your Opportunity to Start U.S. College Online, Prepare for U.S. Study, & Graduate Faster!

Register at http://www.thestudyabroadportal.com/hlsl-institute/earn-u-s-college-credits-online-and-graduate-sooner?w2palt=2

Are you a high school or college student preparing to study in the United States? 

If yes, you may qualify for the world’s first U.S. college preparation course: “U.S. Academics & Culture”!  Join us on Tuesday, September 15 to learn how this online, 3 college credit class can help you learn U.S. success skills before their first semester.

There’s no need to apply and wait for U.S. college acceptance… take our class and start today! Pass the class and earn a U.S. college transcript accepted at accredited U.S. colleges and universities!

Students who pass U.S. Academics & Culturewill earn:

  • Greater knowledge of U.S. success skills for study, communication, work, and socialization
  • U.S. college transcript with 3 course credits
  • Letter of recommendation from Ph.D. Professor for college applications and resumes
  • Certificate of competition for college applications and resumes
  • Acceptance into an elite 4-year private U.S. college (for high school seniors and older)
  • Entry into select scholarships (high school seniors and older)

Moreover, this course SAVES YOU MONEY!

cost comparison

Class space is limited due to high interest from students from all over the world.  Learn more on Tuesday’s webinar about the world’s first U.S. college prep course worth U.S. college credits!

During this webinar you will learn about:

  • Great benefits of passing this online, self-paced “U.S. Academics and Culture” Course
  • How to successfully enroll and pass the online course
  • Reasons why U.S. universities want you to enroll and pass this course
  • Reasons why global employers want you to enroll and pass this course
  • Ways you can help other students prepare for U.S. study and earn money

The Need for Early Preparation for U.S. Study

Many international students struggle with understanding and adjusting to U.S. academics and culture after they arrive for school.  It can negatively impact their grades, health, communication and socialization, professional development, and home country relationships(Video Example: Research).

AVOID the hardships by learning key transition and success strategies from the comfort of your home country. Our faculty (Ph.D. and MBA Professors) are the best in the world and specialize in the cross-cultural skills you need.

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

International Student video testimonies about U.S. study and transitions:

1 (China), 2 (Graduate Student; China), 3 (London), 4 (China), 5 (Senegal) , 6 (Greece), 7 (Mexico), 8 (Japan), 9 (Congo, South Africa), 10 (Bangkok, Thailand), 11 (Vietnam), 12 (China), 13 (France), 14 (Vietnam), 15 (Turkey). See more at http://www.taramaddendent.com.

HLSL Institute is an international education service providing pre-departure cultural training and preparation for international students and scholars.

MISSION: We improve the quality of life for international students by teaching U.S. academics and culture.  By taking our class, international students are more able to navigate U.S. college and university classrooms, campuses, and social networks to achieve academic, social, and professional goals.  Through cultural education, we’re connecting the world, one person at a time.

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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”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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For more information, contact:

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

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

HLSLinstituteLOGO

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Shanghai Ocean University Workshop at Sierra Nevada College

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.

合影 Group Shot

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!

Dr. Dent Team D Dr.Dent Team Work

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:

Study in the U.S.A.

Study in the U.S.A.

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Happyschools.com Featured “My Work, My Life Series” with Dr. Madden-Dent

Cross Cultural Competence is More Important Than Ever with Dr.Tara Madden-Dent

After Raghuram Sukumar, founder of happyschools.com, and I discussed international student preparation and the importance of cultural competency in today’s competitive global economy, we began an introductory interview.   I describe my work, life career, and motivational tips below so that readers may better understand why I serve in my educational capacity and how I plan to use my research-driven instructional pedagogies around the world to prepare international students for successful U.S. studies.  Thank you Raghuram for your dedicated and valuable work in our increasingly popular field.  I look forward to working with you to help international students become healthier, happier, and more successful in the U.S.

 

tara madden dent

Dr. Tara Madden-Dent

Personal

  • Name – Tara Madden-Dent
  • Occupation – President & International Speaker at HLSL Institute (How Leaders Should Lead Institute)
  • Life Purpose – To teach my research and knowledge with others so they may have a higher quality of life in the United States.
  • Location – Lake Tahoe, Nevada, USA
  • Best Place Visited – Lake Tahoe, Nevada (That’s why I choose to live here)
  • What kind of books do you read? — Culture, travel, spiritual, entrepreneur, and language books
  • Your Blog – www.taramaddendent.com

 

Career

What is your 1 Year Goal?

I will offer my classes and workbooks to those studying, working, and living in the United States as I teach on my “2014 International Education Tour” in China and South Korea this August, September, and October.

 

What is your 2 Year Goal?

I will travel to India in 2015 to teach workshops to prepare those planning to study, work, and live in the U.S. so they can learn the “10 most effective cultural strategies to transition and adjust in U.S. colleges, universities, and work environments”.

 

What is your 5 Year Goal?

Expand my educational services into other countries to help as many people as possible around the world prepare for study, work, or life abroad.
What do you like most about your work today?

The clients (i.e. students, expatriates, their families). They are wonderful people who enrich my life and make me a better person. We become life-long friends.

 

What do you hate the most about your work today?

The hurtful stories I hear from new international clients (i.e. students, expatriates, their families) who don’t know how to get help and suffer from intense culture shock. I got my Ph.D. to stop those stories.

 

What is your dream job?

My current job. Teaching about successful relocation strategies to achieve academic, professional, and personal goals in the U.S. is the most rewarding job I could have since I see the positive benefits in my students’ lives.
What is your dream salary?
Enough money to support annual travel so I can learn about other cultures. It’s easier to combine work and play by teaching around the world. An example of this is in the featured online article.

Motivation

How do you stay motivated?

I thank God for the blessings and people in my life. Even when life is difficult, there is always good in the world and when I appreciate and acknowledge those positive blessings, I feel joy.  The joy turns to hope, and hope turns into strength, and the strength allows me to continue sharing my unique values to others.

 

What is the Best advice you have ever received?

The best advice came in the form of a question, “Why are you alive and what is your contribution to the world?” I knew then, I would contribute love through education.

When would you say you are successful in life?

I am successful when I see others applying my research and teachings to their lives or when they tell me they feel happier, healthier, and more successful because of me. That’s when I feel successful.

 

Any other suggestion, tips for HSB readers?

Regardless of language, color, gender, or nationality, one universal energy connects us. Let’s learn from each other and create better connections through education.

 

Most Memorable moments in your life.

The most memorable moment in my life is the day I got married in Rome to my amazing husband who also has an unquenchable thirst for travel and learning.

Cross Cultural Competence

Cultural competence can be understood as: An evolving capacity to interact and communicate with others having different cultural backgrounds built on foundations of cultural awareness, sensitivity, knowledge, and skills.

A person’s cultural competence determines their ability to navigate within a new culture.

Cultural competence is a set of skills needed for effective communication and collaboration amongst people from various backgrounds. It is essential to closing  academic achievement gaps, creating quality education systems, being competitive  in the 21st   century job market, creating sustainable environments and global allies.

The good news is, cultural competencies can be learned. Culturally trained international students, expatriates, and their families can experience more successful academic, professional, and personal lives in the Unites States.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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