There is an incredible amount to be said for the small difference educators make daily in the lives of students and colleagues, but many of us don’t realize how easy it can be to expand that difference to a global scale.
Countless organizations and individuals across the world are involved in an international education movement that brings communities and cultures together in the name of human progress.
Whether you have a treasure trove of lessons you think might benefit IT students in India, or are interested in joining a virtual discussion group on exchange programs for students with disabilities, there is a niche out there for you – and a high demand for your contributions.
Below are 11 strategies for increasing your global presence as an educator and 34 resources to get you started.
1. Become an advocate: Educate your government and the public about the important role of international education in fostering peace, security, and well-being around the world.
2. Join a global partnership program: Many of these programs offer direct opportunities to present your products, programs, or services to international education professionals worldwide.
3. Volunteer for an international education group: Step forward for a unique opportunity for personal and professional growth by serving in a leadership position for an association.
4. Become a guest speaker: Share your knowledge and best practices with an audience of higher education professionals by giving a talk or leading a workshop at a conference.
5. Contribute to a publication: You don’t have to be a member to contribute to various journals and forum magazines on international education.
6. Join a special interest group: Receive the latest news and participate in discussions surrounding your topic or region of choice.
7. Share your blog with foreign communities: Obviously there is going to be a language barrier at some point, but try to expand your audience to teachers and administrators from other countries as much as possible.
8. Start conversations on Twitter: You can keep up to date with foreign trends by following institutions and groups from other nations. Start conversation threads with education leaders and invite others to join.
9. Become Pen Pals with a foreign instructor: There are a few good sites designed specifically for teachers who want to correspond with other teachers and exchange ideas.
10. Request Skype interviews: One of the best ways to connect with an educator from a foreign nation is to request a Skype interview. You don’t have to be an education journalist to do thisâ€”simply explain that you are trying to incorporate a more global perspective into your lesson plans, or offer to share your own pedagogical innovations.
11. Teach abroad: Live and work anywhere in the world and share your knowledge and vision with a foreign culture. You can also do an international Teacher Exchange through organizations like the Fulbright Foundation.
12. The Association of International Educators: Called NAFSA for short, this site features various ways to get involved in international education, from advocating or volunteering to attending regional conferences and networking with fellow educators.
13. ChildFund Connect: ChildFund Connect is a global education program that connects students in communities in Australia, Laos, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam with the aim of exchanging cultures and learning about each other’s lives. Â Using a range of multimedia tools, the program facilitates class-to-class exchanges and collaborative education projects.
14. Teachers.net: If you want to set up a pen pal exchange and don’t already have a teacher friend to work with, try the teachers.net pen pal message board. It’s basically a classified ad page for pen pals. You submit your ad and contact others about their ads, entirely through the site. If you find a teacher with a compatible group, you can exchange emails and take it from there.
15. My Language Exchange: This is a useful site for individuals to find conversation partners from around the world. When you sign up with My Language Exchange, you create a brief profile that includes your name, city, age, the languages in which you are fluent and the languages you want to practice. Or, if you already know a foreign language well, contact a native speaking teacher to discuss topics in education.
16. Edmodo: If you are a teacher who happens to know a teacher in another community, and you want to set up a pen pal exchange online, Edmodo is the place to do it. Edmodo is an educational website that is structured like Facebook (or like Facebook before Timeline), designed for teachers to use with their classes.
17. ePals: One of the most well-known pen pal sites for teachers, ePals is a website that helps teachers find other classes around the world to collaborate with. Teacher profiles are reviewed by the site and must be approved before you can interact with others.
18. Africa Special Interest Group (SIG): Founded in 2006, this group serves as an information resource and repository of advice and aims to increase the visibility of African educational issues through events as well as raise awareness of and advocate for issues related to Africa.
19. Canada Special Interest Group: The Canada SIG serves and supports Canadian international educators’ professional entry and development through partnerships and affiliation with other associations.
20. China Special Interest Group: The China SIG promotes exchanges between China and NAFSA members; shares information about US/China Education programs and new development; learns from the best practices of US/China exchange programs; and serves as a resource center for US/China programs.
21. Francophone World Special Interest Group: This group promotes, encourages, and supports the multicultural, multiethnic, and multilingual aspects reflected by the 68 countries of the Francophone World.
22. Japan Special Interest Group: The Japan SIG serves as a forum for those interested in furthering educational exchange with Japan and as a working group to develop resources, exchange ideas and information, and network professionally. The Japan SIG welcomes all who are interested in Japan and international education.
23. Latin America and Caribbean Special Interest Group: The purpose of the Latin America and Caribbean SIG is to raise the visibility and coverage of the Latin American and Caribbean area as a means of promoting and supporting international educational flows between Latin America and the rest of the world and of enhancing international and intercultural understanding and cooperation.
24. Middle East Special Interest Group: The mission of this group is to see that sessions are provided on topics related to the Middle East (and North Africa) at NAFSA events. This SIG strives to be informed on developments in the Middle East (and North Africa) and share such information with NAFSA members to support their professional endeavors.
25. Black/Multicultural Professionals in International Education: Black & Multicultural Professionals in International Education (BMCPIE) is a membership interest group representing professionals from all facets of international education with specific emphasis on individuals of color from diverse ethnic backgrounds.
26. Foreign Born International Educators: The FBIE SIG provides a forum for those interested in advocating policy and regulation changes to remove obstacles for current and future foreign-born international education professionals.
27. Global Nomads Special Interest Group: The Global Nomad SIG’s purpose is to provide formal recognition of global nomads as a unique group within both the international student community and the association membership; to establish a forum for global nomads and SIG members to discuss the benefits and challenges of an internationally mobile childhood due to a parent’s occupation; and to provide a network for sharing resources and ideas encouraging optimum use of the knowledge, skills, and awareness of students who are global nomads.
28. International Education for Persons with Disabilities: The mission of the IEPD SIG is to increase awareness of the need to include students with disabilities in international exchange programs; to promote the exchange of information on best practices; and to advocate for regulatory and policy changes to remove obstacles to the participation of students with disabilities in international exchange.
29. NAFSA Collegial Conversations: These live, online conversations cover a variety of international education topics. They are free of charge and generally last one hour. A login is not required for participants to join the conversation.
30. Today’s Chinese Student: Learn how to collaborate across your campus to successfully recruit and integrate undergraduate Chinese students academically, socially, and within the broader local community.
31. Education Abroad Knowledge Community: The Education Abroad Knowledge Community Network (EA KC Network) provides ONE location for the best resources needed to successfully manage education abroad programs and actively engage with colleagues across a range of topics from advising to managing an education abroad office and everything in between.
32. International Education Leadership Knowledge Community: Leading internationalization as a senior international officer (SIO) or experienced international education professional requires a number of skills; knowledge of a broad range of trends, data, and information; and networking with colleagues. LIZN, the network of the International Education Leadership Knowledge Community (IEL KC), serves your interests and needs by providing helpful resources and a discussion forum to actively engage with colleagues.
33. International Student and Scholar Services Community: This knowledge community provides professional development opportunities for international student and scholar advisers and for those who work or volunteer in campus- and community-based international programming.
34. Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship Knowledge Community: The Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship knowledge community (TLS) fosters connections among scholarship, policy, and practice in international education.
35. European Association for International Education: The EAIE is the European center for expertise, networking, and resources in the internationalization of higher education.Â Join this non-profit, member-led organization serving individuals actively involved in the internationalization of their institutions.
36. International Education Association of South Africa: The International Education Association of South Africa (IEASA), a non-profit organization, was established as a result of the need for universities and universities of technology in South Africa to respond to international educational trends. Join the community, attend events, and participate in online discussions.
37. Mexican Association for International Education: The Mexican Association for International Education (AMPEI), founded in July 1992, is a nonprofit association whose mission is to contribute to strengthening the academic quality of Mexican education institutions through international cooperation.
38. International Education Association of Australia: The International Education Association of Australia (IEAA) is Australia’s leading international education professional organisation. Its mission is to enhance the quality and standing of Australian international education by serving the professional needs and interests of its members and by promoting international education within Australia and internationally (www.aiec.idp.com).
39. Association of Indian Universities: Association of Indian Universities (AIU) is an organisation based in Delhi India to evaluate the courses, syllabi, standard and credits of foreign Universities and to equate them in relation to various courses offered by Indian Universities (www.aiuweb.org).
40. Association of African Universities: The Association of African Universities (AAU) is the apex organization and forum for consultation, exchange of information and co-operation among institutions of higher education in Africa (www.aau.org).
41. Asia Pacific Association for International Education: APAIE is an international non-profit organization whose goal is to activate and reinforce the internationalization of higher education in the Asia-Pacific region and around the world, and to engage the professional challenges of individuals in international education.
42. International Educators’ Association of Canada: IEAC serves practitioners in international education through networking, training, communication and research activities and provides leadership to enhance the quality of the profession in Canada.
43. Institute of International Education: Founded in 1919, the Institute of International Education (IIE) is the world’s most experienced global higher education and professional exchange agency and administers over 250 international educational exchange and development training programs around the world. Over 20,000 men and women from over 175 countries come to the United States or go abroad for study, research, and training annually (www.iienetwork.org).
44. Association of International Education Administrators: The Association of International Education Administrators (AIEA), a membership organization formed in November 1982, is composed of institutional leaders engaged in advancing the international dimensions of higher education (www.aieaworld.org).
45. CIEE Teach Abroad: CIEE offers paid teaching positions in seven countries (Chile, China, Dominican Republic, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, and Vietnam) for university graduates looking to teach English abroad and immerse themselves in a foreign community.
image credit: avenues: the world school. previously posted on informED
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Saga has built her writing and editing career at Tin House Books, Night Owls Press, and Dancing Moon Press. Along the way, writing education and education reform have become two of her primary interests. She earned a B.A. in Creative Writing from Oberlin College and lives in Portland, OR.