Tag Archives: Culture

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

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

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

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

Pic V picpic III

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

 

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

 

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

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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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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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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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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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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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