International Educator - May/June 2019 - 51

Now a senior at TCU, Maria Alzaga
took Williams's course after studying in
Madrid, Spain, during her sophomore year.
"It helps you a lot to talk it out, and also
just to apply what you learned abroad to what
you do in your life here at home," Alzaga says.
Among other takeaways, she says her study
abroad experience helped her become more
outgoing and meet new people.

Engage Program Alumni
Alzaga also joined VISA Corps, TCU's
club for veterans of student abroad. (The
acronym stands for "Veteran International
Student Ambassadors.") TCU education
abroad advisers train club members to serve
as peer mentors and informal advisers for
students who are planning for, involved in,
or recently returned from study abroad.
During these peer mentoring sessions,
returning study abroad students are able
to look at their time abroad from a fresh
perspective and articulate the outcomes.
TCU's VISA Corps exemplifies how
institutions can engage study abroad alumni
to extend the reach of education abroad
professionals on campus. By mobilizing
returning students and capitalizing on
their enthusiasm, such programs create
the helpful byproduct of generating more
awareness about education abroad among
the student population.
The University of North CarolinaWilmington (UNCW) has had a similar
initiative-the Study Abroad Ambassadors
program-in place for more than a
decade. The more than 200 students in the
program share insights about study abroad
with peers through emails and face-toface events like the school's study abroad
fair, classroom presentations, individual

meetings, and the predeparture orientation
for students about to embark. Participation
in the Study Abroad Ambassadors
program gives returning students a
positive outlet and captive audience for
their new global knowledge, which further
helps them to process their experiences.
"Our office could not do what we do
without our returnees," says Kara Pike
Inman, director of education abroad
programs in UNCW's Office of International
Programs. "They really help us spread the
word about education abroad and help also
with a lot of promotion and outreach."
One strength of the program, Inman
says, is that student ambassadors can speak
to their peers about what to expect during
their time abroad-what to wear, which
coffee shops to visit, and tips for making
friends-while she and her colleagues
concentrate on logistics like health care,
safety, and academic programming.

Serve Students' Interests
Boston University's Study Abroad Office
is piloting a dual-purpose ambassadors
program that draws on the talents of students
with study abroad experiences. Returning
students are encouraged to simultaneously
reflect on their experiences and develop
skills they can use after graduation.
BU wants to make sure that study
abroad students aren't used as "promotional
pawns," but that they reap personal and
professional benefits from their study
abroad experiences, says Ilse Damkoehler,
senior manager of university relations and
campus outreach in BU's Study Abroad
Office. The ambassador programs provide
opportunities for students to pair their
international experience with their career

NAFSA Resources
FOR ADVISERS:
Guide to Education Abroad for Advisers and Administrators, Fourth Edition "Post
Study Abroad" chapter: bit.ly/2QVa78T
Facilitator's Guide to Making Meaning of Education Abroad: bit.ly/2Y4u4xH
FOR STUDENTS:
Incorporating Education Abroad into Your Career Plan: bit.ly/2W8SPXI
Making Meaning of Education Abroad: bit.ly/2Y8zrfr

interests to produce relevant outcomes.
Damkoehler recently worked with
an ambassador who wanted to create,
promote, and deliver a public event from
scratch to help her land a job after college
that included meeting planning. That
process, Damkoehler says, gave the student
"very concrete experience" to list on her
résumé and discuss in interviews.
Damkoehler finds that sometimes
institutions think about reentry
programming largely in theory, and thus,
often place it low on the list of office
priorities. Instead, education abroad
professionals must "be persistent, and
remember that reentry and [closing the]
reflective loop is a part of the experiential
learning cycle," she counsels. "As much as
you can, as best as you can, make it a priority
just as much as the predeparture phase."

Emphasize Value
No matter what approach is taken, effective
reentry programming emphasizes the benefits
students can gain from the experience.
"What doesn't work is having an
afternoon activity where you tell everyone
who has studied abroad, hey, come and tell
us about your experience or come show us
your photos," Williams says. "You've got to
frame it in terms of something bigger or
more important."
Amplifying that point, Inman says,
"students have to see the value in what
they're doing, in terms of professional
development, social networking, or just
in terms of an opportunity for them to
be able to share their experience with
somebody who wants to hear it."
Fundamentally, the inherent value of
reentry programs is clear. "One of the
things we always emphasize is helping
students articulate the value of their
experience, whether that's to parents
or faculty or their peers," Inman says.
"Sometimes, they need a little bit of help
in terms of figuring out how to do that.
I think providing students with that
guidance is important." n
STEPHEN G. PELLETIER is an
independent writer and editor who
specializes in higher education.
M AY + J U N.2019 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR

51  


http://www.bit.ly/2QVa78T http://www.bit.ly/2Y4u4xH http://www.bit.ly/2W8SPXI http://www.bit.ly/2Y8zrfr

International Educator - May/June 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - May/June 2019

From the Desk of
In Brief
Global Spotlight: Iran
Quick Questions
Feature: Africa’s Education Evolution
Feature: Mental Health: At Home and Abroad
Feature: The Faces of International Education
Education Abroad
International Student Affairs
International Enrollment Management
International Education Leadership
Forum
Take 5
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Cover1
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Cover2
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 1
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 2
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 3
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 4
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 5
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 6
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 7
International Educator - May/June 2019 - From the Desk of
International Educator - May/June 2019 - In Brief
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 10
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 11
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 12
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 13
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 14
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Global Spotlight: Iran
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Quick Questions
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 17
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 18
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 19
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Feature: Africa’s Education Evolution
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 21
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 22
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 23
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 24
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 25
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 26
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 27
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 28
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 29
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 30
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 31
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 32
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 33
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 34
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 35
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Feature: Mental Health: At Home and Abroad
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 37
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 38
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 39
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 40
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 41
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 42
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 43
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 44
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Feature: The Faces of International Education
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 46
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 47
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 48
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 49
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Education Abroad
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 51
International Educator - May/June 2019 - International Student Affairs
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 53
International Educator - May/June 2019 - International Enrollment Management
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 55
International Educator - May/June 2019 - International Education Leadership
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 57
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 58
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 59
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Forum
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 61
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 62
International Educator - May/June 2019 - 63
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Take 5
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Cover3
International Educator - May/June 2019 - Cover4
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