International Educator - July/August 2014 - 44

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International Priorities
Michael Kowolik, associate dean for graduate education
and professor and director of graduate research at Indiana University School of Dentistry, says international
education goes two ways at his university, with students
traveling to Indiana from other countries and vice versa.
"We started a program for international students who
already have a dental degree from another country but
do not have qualifications to practice in the U.S." he says.
While there are several universities with similar programs,
most only accept students who are U.S. citizens. Indiana
University will accept green card holders, and in some
cases, overseas applicants as well.
"For the most part, these are people already domiciled
in the U.S.," he says, explaining that the typical student is
a dentist from another country whose spouse is working in the United States "The dentist comes here only to
discover he or she can't practice here," he says. "They're
looking for those qualifications." And looking, he says, in
large numbers. "We get a lot of applicants."
But the university is looking to expand its globally focused options for students and reaching out to establish
programs in other countries as well. Any program has to
meet three criteria: it has to have scholarly value, it has to
work politically, and it has to make financial sense. "The
combination of all three," he says, "becomes the driver."
And any program has to be reciprocal.
"When I was a dental student on the other side of the
Atlantic," says Kowolik, who's originally from England,
"the books we read were written at Indiana University,
which was probably one of the preeminent dental schools
in the world. They were writing the textbooks everybody
else was reading. There is a tremendous tradition at this
school, and that attracts foreign graduate students. But
at the same time, it can lead to a sense of security. We
need to be ahead-as our dean says, 'If you're not moving
forward, you're standing still, which really means you're
going backwards.'"
Having students from so many countries also presents
its challenges, he says. "Some years ago when the Gaddafi
regime fell in Libya, we had several students here," he says.
"Because of the skirmish, the banks shut and nobody was
paying their fees, and students pay hefty fees here. We had
to make accommodations for that."
There was more, too. "The financial side was way out
of their control, and at the same time, they had personal
concerns-family members who might have been in big
trouble. We had a student who had a family member
killed. These things come up and bring with them whole
new sets of issues."

44

INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR J U LY + AU G . 1 4

As a result, he says, the students have developed a very
strong support network of their own that helps get new
students assimilated, but also offers benefits when things
go awry later.
"We get students who come from China and who have
never been outside of their tiny village in rural China," he
says. "They're brilliant young people, but they come to
the center of Indianapolis and they're completely homesick and can't find any food they like, and it takes time to
get adjusted. These are things you don't have to deal with
when you focus on domestic students. All of these human
things come with the academic things."
That, he says, is actually a benefit to the U.S. students
at the university as well.
"We are talking about people who were at the top of
their class at home-bright, well-educated, and understanding the way things are and how to adapt," he says.
"They have very few problems that can't be resolved. In
the end, our American students learn a lot from them,
especially those who have very little experience outside
this country. It helps deal with some inherited prejudices."
For their part, U.S. students who've traveled as part of
their dental studies say the experience can't be matched
any other way.
"We stayed in what was basically a treehouse," says
Wyatt Traina, a fourth-year dental student at Boston University who traveled to Guatemala last January. "It was
very basic-we had no hot water except electric heaters on
the showerheads and we had to troubleshoot equipment
when it broke down."
He says parts were hard, especially turning people
away at the end of the day. "It's not easy," he says. "But at
the same time, you have to realize you're doing what you
can and the best you can. You have to work through it."
Traina says he definitely wants to do more work
overseas after he finishes a three-year residency in San
Francisco after graduation this year. "It was very fulfilling," he says. And it presented a crash course in cultural
literacy.
"I don't speak Spanish," he says. "But after a few days,
I'd learned the important words that were necessary to
do the work. It was a great learning experience. But there
were times that were difficult-kids would be crying and
we couldn't reason with them because we didn't speak
Spanish. We had to figure out how to work through it." IE
KIM FERNANDEZ is a freelance writer in Bethesda, Maryland. She
also wrote "Alternative Solutions" in the international enrollment
supplement in this issue. Her last article for IE was "New Tools of
the Trade" for the intensive language supplement in the March/
April 2013 issue.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - July/August 2014

Revitalizing Education in Afghanistan: Overcoming Decades of Devastation
All Smiles
In Brief
Voices: Kakenya Ntaiya: Founder of the Kakenya Center for Excellence
Education Abroad
Forum
In Focus
International Educator - July/August 2014 - Cover1
International Educator - July/August 2014 - Cover2
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 1
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 2
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 3
International Educator - July/August 2014 - In Brief
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 5
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 6
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 7
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 8
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 9
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 10
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 11
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 12
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 13
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 14
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 15
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 16
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 17
International Educator - July/August 2014 - Voices: Kakenya Ntaiya: Founder of the Kakenya Center for Excellence
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 19
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 20
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 21
International Educator - July/August 2014 - Revitalizing Education in Afghanistan: Overcoming Decades of Devastation
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 23
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 24
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 25
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 26
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 27
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 28
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 29
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 30
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 31
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 32
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 33
International Educator - July/August 2014 - All Smiles
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 35
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 36
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 37
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 38
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 39
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 40
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 41
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 42
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 43
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 44
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 45
International Educator - July/August 2014 - Education Abroad
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 47
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 48
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 49
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 50
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 51
International Educator - July/August 2014 - Forum
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 53
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 54
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 55
International Educator - July/August 2014 - In Focus
International Educator - July/August 2014 - Cover3
International Educator - July/August 2014 - Cover4
International Educator - July/August 2014 - SCover1
International Educator - July/August 2014 - SCover2
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S1
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International Educator - July/August 2014 - S9
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S10
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S11
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S12
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