Tag Archives: Tara Madden-Dent

Webinar: Discussing a Research Study about Study Abroad and Pre-departure Preparation for Internatioanl Students

Pre-departure Preparation of East Asian Students for U.S. Academic & Cultural Challenges

In our twenty-first century’s IT learning environment, how can we prepare international students for U.S. study before they arrive in the States?

This is the topic I will be discussing during Wednesday’s webinar entitled Developing Cultural Competence at the College and University Level hosted by the Berlitz Training Management Corporation on June 17 (7:00 am PST).

webinar
By helping international students develop better expectations of what they will experience during their first year at a U.S. campus, we can help them better manage cross-cultural adjustment challenges so they function as healthy and happy students whose English and social skills continuously develop as they succeed academically and  professionally.

Join the webinar and learn about how online cultural training is applied in U.S. universities.  Hope to see you Wednesday online.  ~ Tara

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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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Filed under Higher Education, International Education, U.S. Culture

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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Why study YOU before attending college?

After many years of teaching university students, the most powerful and influential lessons the undergraduates and graduate students preferred were the assignments which encompassed personal reflection and experiential learning.  These students described that studying the course’s learning objectives with personal exploration pedagogies, challenged their original worldviews, felt liberated from previous subconscious mental programs, and more confident to apply their new knowledge in everyday life decisions.  Many students reported that the self-awareness contributed to a clearer understanding of how they would move forward after the course to intentionally advance their professional and academic careers.

One student’s evaluation submission summarized the consensus nicely,

“For the four years of college courses I have experienced, this was by far, the most rewarding on every level and one of my favorites. I have never experienced such valuable information in a class that comes up in everyday life. The extremely eye-opening experiences and class material helped me stretch myself as an individual during the papers and class activities. I came out of this class with observations and feelings that I never knew I had.  I not only gained knowledge to apply to my future career, but I gained more self-confidence and really pushed myself to grow as a person.”

As an educator, there is no greater joy than witnessing my students demonstrate new skills, knowledge, and self-awareness.  Although my courses focused primarily on law, educational leadership, multiculturalism, and societal studies, many of the students reported that their experience was the closest thing they had ever had to a formal Self-Study course. 

Instead of waiting until adulthood to formally study the Self , what if actual “Self-Studies” courses were incorporated into elementary, middle and high school educational programs alongside required subjects like reading, writing, and math? Would it make a difference on the student’s development, their worldview, ethics, community engagement, health, grades, career choice, interpersonal relationships, financial stability, emotional intelligence, and long-term achievements? How would studying the Self influence the educational system, the city, state, nation, and planet?

Before we go any further, let’s understand the term “Self-Studies” to represent a formal course, grounded on legitimate peer-reviewed, tested, published research, and facilitated by well trained and highly qualified instructors whose aim is to foster individualized identity development and personal growth through self-reflection and experiential learning to encourage emotional intelligence, purposeful living, goal achievement, healthy lifestyles and interpersonal relationships, environmental awareness, and community contribution.

Based on that definition, that not one of my own alma maters had offered a Self-Studies course in my programs of study.  That’s a big deal considering that I have earned a high school diploma, college degree, and multiple graduate degrees (M.A.; Ph.D.).  How much more powerful would my academic, personal, and professional contributions be if my primary and secondary schools had offered courses like Mindfulness; Personal Habits and Behaviors; Core Principles and Values; Family and Cultural Influences; Healthy Relationships; Emotional Intelligence; Identity Exploration; My impact on Modern Society and the Environment; My Culture and how it Compares to others; and Financial Goal Planning? If I, as a young person, had studied where I came from, what I stood for, who I believe I am, how I would contribute my value to society, and who I wanted to share my life with, how would things be different today?

Only now, after 31 years, I’ve finally completed my first formal Self-Study program and recognize the tremendous power it provides.  The self-discoveries are tremendously helpful to grasp why I live the way I do and how I want to live from this point forward to achieve a clear, laser-focused goal.  We are seeing a movement across the United States of personal success courses emphasizing self-study, goal planning, networking, communication, and professional skills development to generate healthy, happy, skilled members of our society and workforce.  PSI Seminars, is one personal success educational organization that provides Self-Study courses that teach personal exploration to enable students to live with a better understanding of who they are, what they want, and how they can apply their unique abilities in daily life and achieve long-term goals.  Another organization, called One Life Fully Lived, is an example of personal development through self-study aiming to develop identify, core values, and personal life goals.

Because I’m an academic junky and educational advocate, I recommend Self-Studies as an early means to generate self-awareness that supports a lifetime of academic, professional, spiritual, social, emotional, physical, and financial successes. 

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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. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Study in the U.S.A.

Study in the U.S.A.

“미국대학에적응하고성공하기위한 10가지전략”

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

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

성공적인유학을위해대단히중요하고유용한시간이될것입니다.

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

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

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

 

 

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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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