Internationalize Student Affairs Graduate Programs

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. –Mark Twain

 Graduate school was a time to explore my purpose and deepen my passions. When I moved from Los Angeles to Fort Collins, CO, I never imagined the variety of opportunities the next two years would bring. My most profound learning took place outside of the classroom, outside of the United States.  I learned from children at a school in Guatemala, from students who created new water systems in Honduras, and learned how beautiful life can be from people in Costa Rica. Some of the most critical moments of my education came from having dialogue with Qatari women in a classroom at Education City in Doha, Qatar.

I will share about my internship with Semester at Sea and study experience in Qatar but this post is a call to action. As a profession we must continue to internationalize, and a starting point is clearly our graduate programs. Some suggestions: start weaving global discussions into the curriculum, talk about how we can better support our international students, and create elective or mandatory courses about internationalization. Some programs are good in many of these areas, and my hope is more can be excellent.

If you are currently a graduate student, I encourage you to consider an international internship or study experience. Consider Semester at Sea, New Zealand, Ireland, Qatar, England… the world is open to opportunities! A handful of graduate programs are developing international courses and taking students to places around the world to further their understanding of our profession in a global context. Explore opportunities to lead and facilitate an Alternative Spring Break community service project.

I plan to collaborate with colleagues to add tips on this blog to create international opportunities for graduate students and new professionals, give examples of how technology can enhance internationalization on our campuses, and how to finance international graduate experiences. In the meantime please do not hesitate to contact me, as I am happy to give you tips!

Do you know of graduate programs focusing on internationalization? Who is doing it well? What international internship opportunities are available? How can we better internationalize student affairs graduate programs? Tweet your answers to me.

Stefanie Lucas-Waverly

Student Affairs - the First Years

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