Tag Archives: USAC

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.

fratiStock_000017830214_Small

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

gradiStock_000020829404_Small

 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.

expatiStock_000013404888_ExtraSmall

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.

3 Comments

Filed under Higher Education, International Education

What Makes a Successful Expatriate or Student Traveling Abroad?

As I research and develop new strategies to increase USAC student, US expatriate, and transpatriate success rates, I realize that job satisfaction and mission achievement are dependent on two things: the caliber of early training/preparation and the clear expectations of individual performance.  These are the essential elements that students and employees must have in order to accomplish their learning or working objectives abroad.

Regardless of the reason for international travel, certain levels of preparation and study are required for optimal success overseas.  In the last few months, through interviewing transnational companies and researching study abroad programs, I have found that intensive international training models are lacking.  A successful trip overseas should include pre-travel assessments, continuous evaluation while abroad, and post-travel assessment in addition to supplemental cross-cultural sensitivity and customs training.  As digital citizens, communication is made easy and bimonthly updates should be protocol for every student and employee.  Dependable liaisons in both parent-country and host-country should be provided as well. Commitments to host-country relationships should be made far before the student or employee leaves the US and should be sustained while living in the host-country.  Practicing the language and using local resources while participating in internships or volunteer positions can help speed through transition stages.  Also, membership in community clubs, churches, and organizations should be considered to fast-track assimilation, strengthen relationships, maximize opportunities, and take advantage of time spent overseas.  A clear understanding of host-country cultural dimensions should prepare the traveler for the new region’s values and customs.

Did you know that the US is known for having the highest expatriate failure rates?  Research shows that this is largely due to family member cross-cultural inadaptability (not able to transition beyond culture shock stages).  Often, US expatriates travel overseas with their spouse and children but companies underestimate their influence on employee performance.  Companies should recognize the importance to thoroughly prepare family members as well as the employee.  An unhappy family can lead to an unhappy expatriate; thus a lower return rate on company investments.  Personalized training models that provide adaptation shortcuts will significantly help reduce periods of frustration and homesickness.  Mentors and SykpePals (like pen-pals) will also encourage a faster transition even before the student or employee leaves America.

As we continue to notice the impact of world staffing for global operations, we witness the development of global citizens or third country nationals (TCNs).  The amount of international accomplishment and job satisfaction presupposes the amount of time and money invested into overseas preparation.  Increase your success rate while studying or working in a foreign country by being honest with what you are expected to achieve and what you must do in order to achieve it. Visualize yourself in the new living environment and make local mentor connections to guide your transition.  Finally, dedicate sufficient time preparing for the language, cultural, and logistical differences abroad. For tricks, tips, and training, email me at tara@taramaddendent.com.  We can discuss the newest model of cross-cultural adaptation I am currently researching, designing, and testing to increase student, US expatriates, and transpatriate success rates.

1 Comment

Filed under Higher Education, Leadership

USAC Increases Student Competitiveness

Interview with Monica Robertson about how USAC (University Studies Abroad Consortium) can help college and university student be more competitive in today’s international market.

Monica is the Manager of USAC Publications and Marketing, based at University of Nevada.   Some benefits & skills that  USAC provides students with during a USAC college experience include, but are not limited to:

• Academic Credit

• International travel

• Cross-Cultural Communication skills

• Leadership skills

• Real world experience

• International internships and volunteering opportunities

• Problem Solving Skills

• Language proficiencies

5 Comments

Filed under Higher Education, Leadership