|Posted by Nnwoods02 on December 10, 2012 at 1:15 AM||comments (0)|
Academic institutions can facilitate and encourage employee and engagement by first creating a culture of continuous improvement. Employee buy-in is essential in any organization that wants employees to be actively engaged and function as a team. The employees must feel that the company belongs to them and that the image of the institution is a reflection on them. Academic institutions may improve teamwork by first improving hiring policies and seeking out individuals who would best fit a culture of being active and working with others. This could be done through screening processes by strongly emphasizing this and making it a vital part of training for new employees.
Second, academic institutions can utilize the various types of trainings to improve teamwork. The trainer may be someone who was hired for that position as an employee or an organization that specializes in training, such as Center for Management and Organization Effectiveness. However, the best teamwork builders are those that happen in the office usually in secret. According to Gary Vikesland, MALP CEAP, “Conduct a search on the Internet, and you will quickly realize just how ridiculous team-building exercises are becoming for both employers and employees…First, employees are human, well most of them anyway, and humans are social animals that gravitate to work in groups versus individually if given the opportunity. Therefore, employees are already naturally geared to work in teams (groups), and making them swing from ropes will not add any more "group behavior" to their genetic makeup. Secondly, since employees are already geared to work in teams, your primary goal is to integrate teamwork practices into everyday work patterns. It is up to the leaders within the organization to integrate teamwork practices, not the employees.” Forcing employees to participate in trainings may take away much needed time from an already tight schedule and cause resentment and prevent employees from learning in that environment. By supporting and encouraging teamwork in the environment that employees work in,teamwork becomes a part of the job description. Vikesland has put together thefollowing steps to Team-Building in the Office:
1.) Define your teams. Most large organizations will have one main team with numerous sub teams. A sub team may be composed of just one employee and employees may be on several different sub teams.
2.) Setup a meeting and ask each sub team to define their goals, and what would be helpful for them to have from the other sub teams within the department. You will need to prepare your employees for this meeting by letting them know ahead of time what they will be asked, so they can prepare proper responses. End the meeting after all participants have reported to each other their goals and needs. Do not mention the words teamwork or team building.
3.) In future meetings, ask employees to report what assistance they are receiving from other sub teams. Focus only on the positives, and applaud those sub teams that have assisted other sub teams. It may take a few meetings for employees to pick-up on the trend of asking how other sub teams are assisting, so don't give up if your employees are slow to report.
4.) Incorporate sub team assistance as a performance review item during employees' performance reviews. Be direct by asking employees to report how they have assisted other sub teams while they met their own goals.
These are the basic skills necessary to build teamwork within your organization's various sub teams. Remember that your employees are already geared to operate in groups; all you need to do is integrate teamwork practices into your organization's operations. So, please cancel the inflatable-sumo-wrestling team-building exercise you have planned for next week.
|Posted by Nnwoods02 on November 28, 2012 at 1:55 AM||comments (0)|
This year, I was interested in putting my educational program development skills to good use abroad. I began by looking for opportunities to volunteer and get involved with organizations. I found several options. One was new to education and the nonprofit seen. Unfortunately, the founders had no background experience in education. They had ambitiously opened a school, no easy feat. The organization advertised that they needed help, but they weren't sure with what. They wanted a teacher, cook, personal shopper...they knew they wanted someone for 20-40 hours but they weren't sure what the person would do. After several unreturned emails about a start date, I decided to look elsewhere. After talking to several, organizations I saw a common thread. Everyone needed someone, but no one knew for what. I was not interested in doing busy work, but wanted to make a genuine contribution. I jokingly though for all this trouble, I should just create my own project. I mentioned my dilemma to my friend and Spanish teacher in Guatemala. She insisted I come to Guatemala and suggested, I create my own program. It was all the encouragement that I needed. I landed a week later, and after anouncing the program in her church and through word of mouth, I ended up with over 40 students.
In a developing country your expectations for a classroom have to be flexible. Fortunately, someone offered a space in their two story restaurant. Although this may not sound like a great classroom, it turned out to be wonderful. Was it my ideal classroom? No, but the room checked all of the important part for me. The room had picnic tables which made great desks and allowed students more students per table than chairs. I also had a wall at the front to use for my projector. I showed videos, worksheets, and PPT games (see below for more info about resources and curriculum). The class was divided and had an aisle allowing me to walk down the middle and make eye contact with all of my students. Additionally, their was an outlet in the front allowing me to plug in all of my equipment, that was really a luxury.
Steps used to develop project:
1. Identified country to host program
2. Began developing curriculum
3. Developed a list of necessary supplies
4. Determined level of interests
5. Located place to host program
6. Offered sign-in sheet the following week
7. Started course
8. Offered midterm for students interested in receivinga certificate (30% of the students took the first exam, 20% took the secondexam).
9. Ceremony for students and parents (food providedby parents, but was prepared to purchase cake)
Povertyis a reality that you have to consider when creating a similar project in adeveloping country. While some of mystudents were quite well off, others were not. For this reason, I provided all supplies needed.
Mobile Teaching Kit
Projector - any wall can be your TV screen. Videos, English clips, slideshows, and more.
Handheld scanner – I scanned all students work into my computer since I am unable tostore it or take it back to the states. Additionally, I used their work in a video for the ceremony.
High-powered mini laptop
DSLR camera (older low end model)
Mini speakers (tiny with big sound)
All supplies outside of the mobile teaching kit were purchased in Guatemala. This cut down on shipping cost. Additionally, most of the typical school supplies where significantly cheaper. This may have also been due to the fact that the items were purchased out of season.
6 reams of printing paper for worksheets, letters to parents, etc.
12 boxes of crayons
4 boxes of 12 pencils
3 pencil sharpeners
40 sheets of special paper for certificates
Spy pen for technology class
3 memory cards
|Posted by Nnwoods02 on January 31, 2012 at 7:20 PM||comments (0)|
Many of you may have mastered the art of scanning QR Codes, but do you know how to create them? Some may have never seen or heard of QR Codes and wouldn’t know what to do with them if they had. That’s okay, today you will have a chance to learn what they are and how to create them. QR Codes have the potential to help you take your marketing plan to the next level. First, let’s explore what a QR code is then you can learn how to create them…for free.
QR Codes first became popular in Japan. QR stands for Quick Response because of how quickly they can be read by PDA’s, cell phones and computers. QR Codes can contain more information than a simple barcode. Cell phones and computers that have a camera and the proper code reader can scan and read these codes. Hidden away in the QR code is a url, an article, a photo, or just about any other information you want to use. The only thing you need is a code reader.
So what does this have to do with marketing?
Imagine that you are blogging about great places to eat in your city. You have hundreds of readers who view your blog. Your reader can read your blog on their home computer and if it is interests them they can scan the barcode in your article and download the page to their phone no searching or typing necessary. That page is now portable. That portable page still contains your QR code which allows them to share the article with others who have a camera phone/PDA/Computer. Giving your article the potential to go viral or at least get a few more hits.
Recently, a trend of placing QR codes on business cards has become popular. Now instead of just handinga card out and wondering if it will be lost or even forgotten, people can take your business card scan the QR code on it and download your Vcard or even yourresume or both. You can create a free Vcard and develop a QR code for it for at GoQR.ME.
On a Resume
QR Codes are not widely used on resumes and there seems tobe some debate about the value of having them on a resume. However, some job hunters feel strongly aboutmaking their resume flexible and QR codes have the potential to do this in theWeb 2.0 era. If you are emailing yourresume a QR Code at the end of the email shouldn’t be a problem and it givesthose in the know the option of downloading your resume to their phone forportable viewing.
This is one of the industries that probably has thepotential to most benefit from the use of QR Codes. Adding QR Codes to your listings allowscustomers to download information about properties they are interested inquickly and efficiently. Potentialclients can simply scan a code on their computer screen from a website, on aprintout, or an email, and download the information into their PDA/phone. This allows the information on properties tobe portable and easily accessible.
You can create QR Codes that link to a specific photo or a photo album
Social media sites
You can create a QR code for your social media sites such as your Linkedin profile. So that other scan download your profile to their phone and pass it on or save it for later viewing. A simple scan of the code takes viewers to a profile, a post you want others to read, an article you have written, or any other page/website. You can also list QR Codes for all of your social media sites on your blog so that readers can quickly link to your other sites and profiles.
Creating QR codes
To a create a QR Code you simply go to a QR code generator copy the url you want to create a QR Code for, click the url tab and paste the url address. A QR Code will appear and you have various methods of copying and saving it. I like to use open which opens the QR code in another window where I can use the url to insert an image into my blog or save image. You can exit all of the pages once you save the code.
Creating a Vcard
Click the Vcard tab on qrme.com type in your information and submit your QR code will appear.
Creating QR code for documents
Theoretically, you don’t want to use more than about 350 characters in a QR code. It makes it difficult for some phones to scan the code as it will have many small details in it. For that reason, you need to store documents online that you want to link. There are many sites that provide this service. However, I use Google documents and change the share settings so that anyone with a link can view the document. In Google Documents, each document has its own url so you can copy and paste the same way you would any other url.
For blogs and websites
After you have created your page open another tab in your browser and type in your website address for your blog and navigate to the page you want to use to create a QR Code. Itis important that you are not on the dashboard or editing page of your website or blog because your readers can’t access this page and it will not take them to your blog page. You need to view the page the way your readers do. Copy the url and paste it into the url tab on GOQR.me. You will then go to your website dashboard or edit page and add the QR Code to your site and save or publish the page.
QR Codes can also be designed to have images in them and be a variety of colors. There are some pretty amazing designs. The Louis Vuitton design has gained worldwide notoriety.
Mark Lyne at Searchengineland.com gives some other great ideas on other ways to use QR Code adding them to print advertising, flyers, posters, invites, TV containing:
There is still some controversy about the usability of QR Codes. They have great potential but are not currently being used to their full capacity. Though they have been popping up everywhere, there have been no studies about how many people actually scan or use them. Many people in the technology field argue that QR Codes are nothing more than trendy badges. Read the article about whether or not we are really ready for QR Codes here. Ultimately, you will have to decide if QR Codes are a good fit for your business and clientele.
QR Code Generators
My favorite QR code Generator
Other great information on QR Codes
|Posted by Nnwoods02 on January 28, 2012 at 5:50 PM||comments (0)|
Thanks to technology you can make connections all over the world without ever leaving your country or your house. However, there is still nothing as powerful as a face to face meeting. Because of that, first impressions are of the utmost importance. You will need to balance your time on a Western college campus with making connections with your classmates (who will soon be the CEO’s, entrepreneurs, and department heads of the future) with making the kind of connections that can result in stellar recommendations and internship opportunities in the more immediate future. The information below is meant to help you utilize the tools to do that here in the U.S. and beyond.
Creating an online presence to connect withothers: Social Media and Social Media Marketing
Why creating an online presence is so important?
"Job seekers aren’t the only ones who need to maintain a positive Web presence; it may become more important for high school students applying to college. At Tufts University, for example, high school seniors were allowed to submit one-minute videos along with their application packages" (Brondou). Colleges and companies are looking for people who are at the top of their game. They are looking for people with an expertise, leadership skills, quality communication skills, and a global perspective. Crafting a powerful online presence can support your claim to all of these. "By the time students are in ninth grade, they should be actively creating and sharing content online; to learn to do so well and safely by then, they must start earlier" (Brondou). Additionally, the more people who follow you or respect your expertise online the easier it is to network for jobs, recommendations, and opportunities. If you have crafted your online expertise you may find that people will contact you for opportunities. This is partially how recruiters both collegiate and corporate locate talent, they monitor online presence.
Of late, colleges and universities have begun to experiment with these social media networks, hoping to find ways to use them as a recruitment marketing tool. But little serious or reliable research existed to indicate whether these networks were an appropriate or effective tool for colleges to communicate with prospective students. So we decided to devote an entire studentPOLL study to this question. This issue of studentPOLL reports the results of that study. Our findings are based on a national, online survey that explores the influence, use, and importance of social networking sites to high school seniors who registered for the SAT this fall and are planning to attend college in the fall of 2009. Specifically we explored: how and why students use social networking sites; how much time they spend visiting these sites; what if any concerns they have about privacy issues and the possibility of parents and others having access to their site profile or page; and what effect these sites have had on their college search. Our national sample included 960 students from a representative cross-section of students of different racial and economic backgrounds and academic abilities. The survey was fielded October 2008.
Given the choice between an applicant that has no visibility and one that has maintained a blog, has followers, understands social media marketing, and can network with other experts in the field, which would you choose?
One of the simplest ways to capitalize on your time abroad is to write about it. You can do this by blogging. If at all possible, you should write in your native language and in English. You can have two separate sites or one site and double post in multiple languages. Below is a list of some of the places you can create blogs for free.
Facebook is a social networking service and website launched in February 2004, operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc. Facebook is a social networking service and website launched in February 2004, operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc. As of January 2012, Facebook has more than 800 million active users. Users must register before using the site, after which they may create a personal profile, add other users as friends, and exchange messages, including automatic notifications when they update their profile. Additionally, users may join common-interest user groups, organized by workplace, school or college, or other characteristics, and categorize their friends into lists such as "People From Work" or "Close Friends". You can add your blogger to Facebook and then update your blog directly from Facebook.
Benefits: Facebook was not created for blogging but has grown to include blogs and pages. Facebook is one of the most used social media tools in the U.S. and in the world. If you are an avid Facebook user it is simple to add to your blog. All of your Facebook friends can easily follow your blog.
Downside: Most people use Facebook for socializing with friends this means that there is often content on your Facebook account that you wouldn’t want potential employers or contacts to read. Posting your blog there, may bring unwanted attention and scrutiny to your profile. Additionally, Facebook is not permitted in many countries so it may limit the coverage you will get from your blog.
Note: If you are from a country that does not permit Facebook, a Facebook account is still recommended for communicating and socializing with friends in America and other parts of the world. Please understand that many employers will check your Facebook page and other social media sites before hiring you. Depending on your field and the competitiveness of the job you are applying for, they may request access if you do not have a public profile, so you should be careful what you post. Most of the social media marketing books recommend maintaining a professional demeanor on all of the major sites and using them as part of your social media marketing plan to further your career. Facebook recently released a new format, the Facebook Timeline. You can read one of the many articles about the Timeline here. There will be a review in a future article.
Tumblr is a microblogging platform and social networkingwebsite that allows users to post text, images, videos, links, quotes and audio to their tumblelog, a short-form blog. Users can follow other users, and 'reblog' their posts, or choose to make their tumblelog private. The service emphasizes ease of use. As of January 5, 2012, Tumblr had over 39.5 million blogs.
Tumblr.com states, ”Tumblr lets you effortlessly share anything. Post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos, from your browser, phone, desktop, email, or wherever you happen to be. You can customize everything, from colors, to your theme's HTML.”
Tumblr is new to the social media scene. However, it is shaping up to be one of the best. One of the biggest benefits of Tumblr is that you can link it to your other social media sites. Such as facebook, Twitter, and more.
Benefits: Blogger is the mother of all blogs. It is the birthplace of blogging. Creating blogs on blogger.com is simple and free. Furthermore, it will be indexed by blogger.com. With other social media tools you can post by sending an email to your site.
Downside: There are many bloggers on Blogger.com. It is easy to get lost in the shuffle or outshined by others using the website.
Benefits: Webs.com offers free websites with hosting. It is simple and easy to use and reasonably customizable. If you want a full website you can purchase better applications and options for a monthly fee. This site is of course hosted on webs.com. It allows video and photos tobe directly posted. Unlike some othersites which require that you load video onto another site and embed it. You can also allow people to sign up as members to your site for free. There is a “Contact Us” page, a blog page, newspage, photo page, and video page all free. You can add a Twitter widget which posts your recent tweet.
Cons: Advertising will appear on your free site. If you do not want the ads on your site you will need to get a upgrade to a paid service. The ads are reasonably placed and do not typically interfere with the use of the site. You can’t link your other social media accounts if you are using the free site. That’s a big thumbs down, but considering the amount they offer for free it is hard to beat.
What should I blog about?
You can blog about anything. However, it is strongly recommended that you blog about the industry/field you want to work in. You can also blog about your experiences in the U.S., U.S. etiquette, tips for studying abroad, U.S.universities. It is recommended that you consider blogging in English if you plan on working in the U.S. and your native language to craft an expertise in your home country as someone knowledgeable indealing with the Unite States. Many people may be interested in learning more about your country. You can blog about necessary etiquette, ways to make connections, doing business, important issues, trends, and people from your home country to help others.
Other Social Media Tools
Ning became very popular but appears to be fading in popularity now. The site is not free but is only 2.99 a month for a site. Members can join your site, start their own blogs, post pictures, and more. It is like creating your own mini-social media site.
Cons: I have a Ning site and was on a monthly plan, then suddenly I was charged for theentire year without warning. I tried towork it out, but some plans offers very limited customer service and I got the thank you for your business remark. I did not mind paying for the year, only that they decided for me despite the monthly charge agreement. Additionally, despite the charge, you don’t get anything you can’t get for free on webs.com. In fact, you cannot upload video directly. You can only embed it. This means it must be uploaded to another site first. You cannot link Ning to your other social media accounts unless you purchase their $29.99/a month.
Hootsuite is one of my favorite sites. It allows you to link all of your social media sites. Including multiple Twitter accounts. It installs a Hootsuite widget or button in the toolbar. You just click it when you find something interesting and decide which sites you want to post to. I have two professional profiles I manage Naomi Woods (Twitter, Facebook, Webs.com) and another travel site (Ning and Twitter). I can manage all but the Webs and Ning accounts (only because I don’t want to pay for the more expensive versions) through this site. Additionally, I can schedule tweets and posts in advance. This means if you can research posts when you have time and still give the appearance that you are tweeting or posting everyday.
Youtube is a fantastic tool. A few people have even posted video resumes, but this is not advised. It is better, to create content that will attract a variety of users than a video geared toward employers. One major reason is that these videos rarely do the person justice. It is better to create a video blog (Vlog) or journal to document your experience, or start an online show.
Benefits: Youtube allows you to upload video free ofcharge. You can find video on just about everything including how to use Youtube.
Cons: It isn’t easy to create quality video, so you must focus on quality content. Be aware of your presentation and run several tests. Be careful not to come off to scripted or to sound like you are reading. It helps if you have someone behind the camera but it is not necessary. Use presentation tools such as photos, PowerPoint, screen shots, audio, interviews, and even Skype can be used to conduct interviews. Be careful not to say, uh, or have extended pauses. Watch other Youtube videos and shows to get an idea of how you want to present yourself. You don’t have to wear a suit and tie or be formal. You should be yourself and focus on the content.
Note:You can create a Youtube Channel. Where you can run different programs. This means you can get others to post content as well. You can collaborate with other international students, students, or people from your home country.
LinkedIn is probably the single most important social media tool you can use as a professional. It is a must to do business in the U.S. It can land you a job, offer opportunities to network with people in your industry including game-changers, it is how you maintain contact with professional contacts you meet while you are here, and it is your professional image/face to the world. Craft your LinkedIn account with care. There are entire books on how to use LinkedIn. However, LinkedIn is easy to use, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your homework. Don’t wait to start your LinkedIn profile. Many students start a profile when they are in their final year and looking for a job. It is too late then. You need to build your profile and your contacts way before you start looking for a job. In fact, many companies allow you to apply for a job using your LinkedIn profile. Your LinkedIn contacts can also leave recommendations on your profile, which can prove beneficial if you use it to apply for a job. Many job hunters include a live link to their LinkedIn account and their blog or webpage. A recent addition to the LinkedIn profile is a photo. It doesn’t have to be a professional shot photo but you should look professional. The photo should be a clear picture and you should be dressed appropriately (there will be an article on professional attire soon). It is suggested that you join groups in LinkedIn that are in your industry and your interests. You can start by joining the LinkedIn groupfor your university.
RSS Feed is a way of syndicating new content on your site for detailed information click here
A multimedia digital file made available on the Internet for downloading to a portable media player, computer, etc.
Benefits: For those who are a little camera shy, audio podcasts are a great way to distribute content. You can record content and turn it into a podcasts. You don’t need to worry about looking professional for an audio podcasts.
Downside: There are many podcasts out there. The content has to be engaging since there isare no visuals.
You can use your Youtube content to create podcasts. If you have a Youtube channel you already have the content. You will need to find a podcasts host. For more info click here.
Making the Most of Your Time in Abroad in the United States: Making Connections ( Networking Face-to-Face)
Making the Most of Your Time in Abroad in the United States: Making Connections (Tools and Resources)
Making the Most of Your Time in Abroad in the United States: Etiquette in the U.S.
Making the Most of Your Time in Abroad in the United States: Dress to Impress
Making the Most of Your Time in Abroad in the United States: Surviving College in the U.S.
Making the Most of Your Time in Abroad in the United States: Traveling (Must-see Attractions)
Making the Most of Your Time in Abroad in the United States: Health, Insurance, and Diet Restrictions
|Posted by Nnwoods02 on January 19, 2012 at 5:10 PM||comments (0)|
If you are an international student in the U.S. or UK, you have likely chosen to study abroad to improve your competitiveness in the global job market. Though success does not require that you study in either country, international experience is becoming a prerequisite in nearly every country. In fact, as you are studying abroad, you will meet many students and professionals who are anxious to get to know you to expand their knowledge about the world and your culture. One of the keys to making the most of your time in America is understanding why universities want to attract international students. The reasons are multifaceted and some are more noble than others. The reasons often fall into four categories:
1. Creating diversity in the student body
2. Keeping up with or ahead of trends in higher education
3. Attracting highly qualified students from around the world to maintain competitiveness
4. Financial benefits of students who pay higher tuition
Diversity has become a buzz word in education. Schools that place more importance on diversity have programs, mentors, and advisors that help students adapt to their new environment and encourage domestic students to learn about other cultures. Unfortunately, because diversity is trendy there are
schools that are interested in looking diverse only on paper. In some schools students may find that they are an outsider and have difficulty making the transition to American life and culture with little assistance from their university. It is important when researching a school that you investigate the assistance and programs they offer international students. The absence of these programs doesn’t mean you will not be embraced or will have a difficulty. However, it can mean that the school is unaware of the challenges international students often face and are therefore unequipped. If they do not have programs to assist international students you should ask yourself the following questions:
Being the first or one of few international students isn’t always a negative. This is particularly true if the situation will provide more one-on-one time with professors, department heads, and administration that may be heavily invested in having their limited number of international students succeed, but don’t have the budget to dedicate funds for a separate international department.
There are many top notch universities that have long seen the value of attracting students from around the world. These schools big and small are trendsetters. They value preparing students for success. These schools do not wait for trends they set them. Whether it is ensuring that all students have adequate use to technology, implementing new degree plans, or finding new ways to challenge students, they stay ahead of the game. Such an environment is ideal, but there are other universities that function more like clubs. They leap onto and off of whatever trend may pass. International education has becomea trend and more than a few schools have jumped onto the bandwagon with little concern for the would-be international students. There will be little offered by way of quality services. They will offer you the platform to obtain education and the rest will fall on your shoulders. Most schools are somewhere in between. They are not ahead of the pack, but they do understand the value of international students and if a trend proves valuable to trendsetting schools they will eventually adapt to it.
There are many highly competitive schools which have a history of attracting the best from around the world. These schools are referred to as Ivy Leagues in the U.S. Only top notch students attend and many of those have a hard time getting in. Click here for a list of some of the top Ivy League Colleges in the U.S.
The final reason many schools are interested in foreign or international students is that they pay a higher tuition. Public institutions of higher education are suffering from budget cuts not just in the U.S. but around the world. Attracting students from abroad can be seen as an answer to budget problems for many schools. Foreign students pay much higher tuition rates than citizens even when they are offered scholarships. If you are a top ranked student you may be able to get better scholarships from midrange schools who are more interested in attracting talent than getting tuition from you. Otherwise expect to pay high price tuition. Still, if your goal is simply to study at an accredited university in the U.S., there are many options and schools who have lower tuition rates and may offer scholarships to international students. One such school is Grambling State University. The Center for International Affairs department is headed by Mr. Mahmoud Lamadanie. Under Mr. Lamadanie the University has set out to develop a heavy hitting international department offering scholarships on tuition that is already one of the lowest in the country. The school is a Historically Black College/University (HBCU). HBCU’s are traditionally accredited public colleges that offer lower tuition and easier admissions process, though some are high ranking with competitive admissions such as Howard University, Morehouse, and Spellman. State funded schools traditionally offer lower tuition than private schools.
Community colleges or two year colleges have some of the lowest tuition rates and the highest attrition rates in the United States. The majority of community colleges do not offer dorms. However, a few such as Vincennes University offer the best of both worlds. Vincennes offers community college tuition, dorms, and transfer agreements to complete your degrees at a university. Beginning your academic career at a community college can save you thousands. Vincennes states that attending their school versus going straight to a four year university can save as much as $20,000 during your two years there.
Now that you have an idea of some of the common reasons colleges and universities have for being interested in international students. We can talk about how to make the most of your time in the U.S. If your plan is to just attend college and return home, you may miss out on the most important opportunities that studying abroad provides. College offers only one aspect of American culture. It is up to the student to ensure that they receive an experience that can translate into better employment opportunitiesby crafting their international expertise. Sadly, college is not always the place to learn more of the soft skills necessary to do business with or in the U.S. Things like etiquette, public speaking, negotiation skills, social media marketing, job hunting or career mapping, and professional attire are rarely discussed in enough detail to prepare even American students for local job markets. Unfortunately, this means that like many college graduates in the U.S., foreign students are still unsure of how to survive in the U.S. economy. This series will discuss what skills you need and how to find the information to ge tthem. Furthermore, we will discus scrafting your expertise so that you can be a resource for other students.
Making the Most of Your Time in Abroad in the United States: Making Connections (Social Media)
Making the Most of Your Time in Abroad in the United States: Making Connections ( Networking Face-to-Face)
Making the Most of Your Time in Abroad in the United States: Making Connections (Tools and Resources)
Making the Most of Your Time in Abroad in the United States: Etiquette in the U.S.
Making the Most of Your Time in Abroad in the United States: Dress to Impress
Making the Most of Your Time in Abroad in the United States: Surviving College in the U.S.
Making the Most of Your Time in Abroad in the United States: Traveling (Must-see Attractions)
Making the Most of Your Time in Abroad in the United States: Health, Insurance, and Diet Restrictions
|Posted by Nnwoods02 on January 10, 2012 at 3:10 AM||comments (0)|
When I decided to spend time in China, I researched every article I could find, read hundreds of posts on the experience of other travelers in regards to Chinese culture, racism, food, and much more. However, after I did my research I made up my mind that I wouldn't let others opinions and experiences color my own. I did not want to experience China through the eyes of others. I hoped to form my ideas and opinions after getting some insight on the way Chinese see themselves. Striving not to have judgments, I believe, allows me to see more than simple differences. I had the opportunity to find out what many Chinese wanted me and the world to know about them. Oddly enough, it is not so different from the message I want the world to know about my culture and my country. No, we are not perfect but there are many great things about our nations. We have things that we are proud of and things we wish we could erase. We have dreams and hopes for our children and the generations after us. We want to be involved in the world, but we do not want to sacrifice our values and culture to do so. We are interested in learning about other cultures and we are proud when others want to learn about ours. We hope that we can build relationships based on mutual respect for our differences. We struggle to leave the world a little better for our children. We have poverty but we also have great successes. We strive to leave a legacy for our families and our country that will make them both proud and respected by others.
As hard as I tried, I still had preconceived notions about who or what China is. Although a few weeks is hardly enough to become an expert on a culture, I did learn a tremendous amount not just about the Chinese but about the nature of human beings. It is easy to stereotype a group of people and never look any further than the label. Certainly, we have all been guilty of doing so. We are all at some point the unwanted target of stereotypes and labels. I have experienced this in China, the U.S., and many other countries. However, what I have experienced more consistently is that when I take the time to learn about someone else, when I am willing to look beyond the label, more often then not, they are willing to do the same. I carried with me to China the desire to look beyond the label. Consequently, what I found were people who embraced me, invited me to their homes, went above and beyond to lend a helping hand, and openly shared their stories and their hearts. I found this in the taxi drivers, in the shop owners, in the people on the street, in security guards, and many other strangers. All of whom helped me when I was lost many (many) times, when I could not count the change correctly, and even when I simply did not have enough. So what I learned from China, is that it is full of human beings not perfect but still quite a few of them happen to be great people, just like you and me.
|Posted by Nnwoods02 on January 10, 2012 at 3:05 AM||comments (0)|
It is 6:00 am in a small village in Costa Rica and six year old Ricardo has just been awakened by his mother. He lays in bed for a while ignoring his mothers calls, but eventually pulls himself from the comfort of his bed and begins to get ready for school. First a shower, then dressing under his mother’s watchful eye as she instructs him to straighten his uniform shirt and make sure his belt is in all of the loops on his pants. Several hundred miles away in the U.S., six year old Shaun is following the exact same process, uniform and all. Both children woke up at the same time, both wear uniforms, both are on their way to school.
Ricardo will arrive at school 30 minutes earlier, he will leave school two hours earlier. In this small village resources are difficult to locate. The school has done anamazing job navigating the resource shortage. With more students than there is space, the school is open from 7:00 amto 5:30 pm. The school day is divided into two shifts, morning and afternoon. Ronald attends the morning shift from 7:30 to 12:30 Mondays, Wednesdays,and Fridays. He attends the afternoon shift from 12:30 pm to 5:30 pm. This allows the small school to manage its growing number of students without having to expand. The small school situated on the corner of the main road is only a few feet from homes on all sides, making expansion impossible.
Ricardo celebrates his 7th Birthday
The little school is one of the best in a string of small villages. The students are sharp and Ronaldo is at the top of his class earning high marks in all his subjects including English. However, absent from Ricardo’s education is an opportunity work with technology in school at the elementary level. In Costa Rica, Ricardo’s school struggles not only for funding for computers, but space. This lack of early exposure to technology could prove to be a disadvantage in the long run as many schools work to integrate technology into education as early as kindergarten.
Shaun attends a school in the U.S., a charter school. Part of her weekly kindergarten curriculum involves use of technology, including use of the computer lab once a week for 45 minutes to an hour. It is a small amount of time, but it has already provided a big payoff. The use of computers and the internet has increased her desire to read and greatly improved her ability to do so. She is currently able to use a computer independently. Her older brother, who transferred to the charter school from a school that did not regularly use computers, struggles to adapt to computer use. The question is whether or not Shantae will have a long-term advantage over Ricardo and her older brother for her early exposure to technology.
“It is known that information technology plays an important role in employment and productivity of current U.S workers and will do so even at a faster rate in years to come. Yet, the exposure of pre-college students to the technology has been very slow. This is even more evident in some of the major city school systems where inadequate facilities, poor infrastructure and ill trained teachers have contributed to further deterioration of any planned educational activities in this area” (Varde). As schools around the world try to produce a workforce that can meet the global demand for technologically advanced workers, it is becoming increasingly apparent that an understanding of the need to improve the use of technology in education is not enough. Some schools lack resources but others struggle to grasp just how technologically advanced we have become. It may no longer be adequate to simply use technology in education. The appropriate perspective may now be to use technology to educate. According to Varde:
It is true that more and more U.S. schools are equipped with computers and associated facilities compared to the scenario that existed in the mid-1990 (National Education Association Homesite, 2004). However, the utilization of computer technology has been limited. A recent study of utilization of computer technology in high schools showed that the primary use has been for word processing and Internet access (Gupta and Houtz, 2000).The study also revealed that students seldom use the technology for learning or developing skills in area of programming, information storage, data manipulation and retrieval, web page development, and for communicating through graphics. Graphical communication is a concise language used by scientists, engineers and technically skilled personnel. The lack of properly developed technology education and utilization, combined with a lack of interest on the part of students to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) based career, has been a national concern in the U.S. for quite sometime (Varde).
Other countries face a similar challenge with many teachers unable to utilize technology themselves even when they have access to it. Still the issue for many schools around the world is limited access. With the push for early exposure, many schools simply are not capable of providing access to technology beyond the occasional opportunity to email or surf the net.
In Costa Rica, Ricardo is more fortunate than his classmates. His older brother, Andrew, was accepted into one of the premier colegios in the area, a specialized school for the best and brightest. Adrian has full access to computers and is receiving training to work on them so that he is ready for the workforce after graduation. He has a laptop and works on graphics. He and his peers will have a huge advantage over students in other colegios (high schools) with their education in technology. At this specialized school the students have an opportunity to learn and use the best software and technology available. It is a rare opportunity indeed. In the U.S. access to the best software is typically reserved for use at the university level. This gives Andrew and his peers a distinct advantage on the global job market as high school graduates. However, the advantage may be lost as many of the students his age continue to college and he continues on to work. The cost of attending Universidad (university) in Costa Rica is prohibitive and thus excludes many of the brightest from attending. Andrew plans to take his technological skills to the job market in hopes of earning enough to support himself, help his family, and save for Universidad. Statistically, the chances of him returning to University are small.
Andrew’s hardwork, determination, and intelligence has provided access to a computer for the family and Andrew is also a valuable resource on technology. This means Ricardo is exposed to technology much sooner than many of his peers. In addition, Ricardo also has an Xbox and video games. These are luxury items in the small village. Though his parents have to deal with Ricardo’s pleading to play one more game before starting his homework, it is an exposure to technology few of his peers have.
The Panamanian school system functions significantly different from Costa Rica and the United States. School is not a requirement in Panama, though that may be the unofficial stance. Students must have a uniform in order to attend school, as well as pay for books and provide their own lunches in many parts of Panama. These prohibitive costs prevent many children from impoverished families from attending school. In families with more than one child, parents must often choose which child will have access to an education. Costa Rica, who boasts a high literacy rate, has implemented programs to assist its poorer families in attending school, though the quality of these programs are a bit harder to verify. Panama with a much lower literacy rate, has struggled to make education accessible to its more impoverished citizens.
Funding issues and lack of access to education aren’t the only issues schools face in Panama. Technology is not easily accessible in or out of the classroom in many areas. Few families own computers or have internet access at home in the small town of Tijera de Boqueron, Chiriqui, Panama. However, that doesn’t mean there is no exposure to internet. Young people (mostly teenagers) flock to the local Café Internet where they email, Facebook, SmugMug, download music legally and illegally, Skype, and more. Though they lack some of the early exposure that their international peers have had, they seem to be up to par at least in terms of using social media. The issue is whether or not this is enough exposure to compete with those who have been exposed to technology in school at an early age. Additionally, at $0.75 an hour, the cost of internet can be steep for impoverished families and jobless teenagers in Panama. Many of the small outlying areas of major cities have no café internet and young people must bus into town to get access. This increases the cost and decreases the access.
All three countries have room for improvement. Technology is still largely viewed as an addition to education. Schools still focus on teaching subjects in traditional ways. Students may not be adequately prepared until technology is more intergrated into teaching as a whole...regardless of the subject. Information without application will lead to a lack of preparation. It seems that districts, schools, teachers, parents, and even the students themselves understand that in the coming years those who are better able to utilize technology in multiple ways will have an advantage. Still, there is a struggle to turn the theory into something more concrete, something that legitimately prepares students. Amongst traditional and nontraditional teachers, exist stories of many schools having amazing technology locked away in storage rooms or collecting dust in classrooms as educators struggle to adjust to technology themselves or figure out ways to integrate it into the classroom. We must find a way to reinvent the educational process so that technology is not a class taken once a week. We must utilize technology in the classroom the way we use it in the workforce and in our daily lives…with everything. At the moment, it seems that schools are some of the most technologically challenged places to be. On a daily basis we are surrounded by technology that is integrated into every part of our existence from cars to refrigerators to televisions. Computers are the newbooks, they are the new mail, the new stereo or Walkman, and the new pencil and pen. The days for once a week visits to the computer lab are over.
Varde, K. Retrieved from http://www.hbcse.tifr.res.in/episteme/episteme-1/allabs/keshav_abs.pdf
|Posted by Nnwoods02 on January 10, 2012 at 2:55 AM||comments (1)|
As we hopped the city bus carrying school supplies, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Would the kids be friendly? Would they be scared? Would they be excited about their foreign guests? As we got off the bus and began the two block hike to the shelter, my compadres appeared to be as anxious as I was. We suddenly stopped in front of a massive brick wall with doors. As our guide, Anna Maria, knocked the group began to look nervous. Some moved about anxiously, others smiled to themselves, and still others showed no emotion. But it was obvious we were all thinking the same think. "What is waiting on the other side of that wall?" As the door opened a small lady stepped out in a habit and modest dress. She greeted us with quiet enthusiasm. This helped the group to relax a little. As we stepped in there were various groups of children. We walked to the cafeteria and discussed our game plan. To my shock, the sister wanted us to have our own groups. We would divide the children up in to groups according to their age and do activities with them. “Oh no!” was my first thought. Why? Well, my Spanish is less than impressive and children can be very unforgiving.
While, I wasn’t sure what Iwas going to be doing, I was sure that at the very least it would beinteresting. We called for our group to line up. They were bubbling over with energy and excitement. They were completely aware that something new was about to happen. A little girl, perhaps overwhelmed by the excitement began to quietly cry upon seeing my face. As we lined up and began to walk toward our classroom. One of the leaders of the group, a little girl all of six years of age, cut to the front of the line. She crossed her arms and eyed me suspiciously. “Por que, tu es negra?“ (Why are you black) she asked. “Porque mis padres son negra.” (Because myparents are black), I answered. “Hmm,”she said looking me up and down trying to figure out if there was more to the story. Finally, content with my answer she smiled to herself and got back in line.
What did I learn in this service learning project? I could list all of the socially correct reasons why the service learning project was important. I could easily discuss the positive impact on the children and the community. However, having participated in many, many service projects in the past, I find myself asking the question, “What makes this experience stand out from the others?” and even more so “What, if anything, made this experience special or different?” It was not repainting the playground, or the doors. While I am certain the home, the children, and the community appreciate the work that we did, I have repainted and rebuilt many playgrounds. Certainly, it was not the supplies we carried on our backs on multiple buses. Although, they needed them, they will eventually run out. After pondering, I would have to say the thing that makes this project special is the children themselves. Why? Their resilience, their unbridled enthusiasm, and their unconditional acceptance had a tremendous impact on me. The experience challenged my thoughts and expectations about service learning. While seeing visible positive changes no doubt left us feeling a since of satisfaction, I think the most powerful impact is on the changes that are less visible, such as the opportunity to give something that is more than just material and the chance to share a piece of yourself. The children were no doubt excited about coloring books and a deck of cards, but what they were most excited about was spending time with us. They laughed until they were red in the face at my misuse of Spanish verbs, they wanted me to listen to them count to ten in English, taught me how to play “Duck, Duck, Goose” correctamente, and they reveled in the chance to have someone listen to them talk about themselves. More than that, they accepted us unconditionally Spanish-speaking and non-Spanish speaking; black, white, and brown.
|Posted by Nnwoods02 on January 8, 2012 at 2:00 PM||comments (0)|
A few months ago President Obama had to make a decision about how to react to Egypt and all ofits unrest and just as the clouds seem to part in Egypt problems in Libya beganto rise. Obama was faced with a tough decision and sent yet more troops out to Libya. Though most people have their own opinions about the decisions of our leaders, few of us have access to the information presidents do. I often wonder what it must be like for one person to have so much riding on every decision. Bush having to make decisions as planes crashed into our financial center, Obama as the economy crumbled, and so many other presidents before who have faced uncertainty as they struggle to make tough decisions that will be scrutinized for centuries. How they lead during these times of crises, will determine their place in history, and have the power to alter the path o fAmerica and all those who are associated with America.
While few of us will be faced with decisions that will affect millions or be written in thepages of history, in times of crisis even the most basic of decisions can feel just as serious. The outcomes undoubtedly have the power to affect our careers and lives as well as others. The authors of the book Leading in Times of Crisis seek to equip leaders with skills thatmay help in those times of crisis, however, it makes no promises. As history has taught us the right decision today can be the wrong one tomorrow.
All around the world businesses are in a state of crisis as economic problems beginto trickle down to areas that were once considered safe. Stories of triumph and tragedy that have resulted from the global economic crisis can be found in every newspaper and are abundant online. For the people in positions of leadership this is a time when they will either rise to the occasion or find themselves joining the ranks of the unemployed. Make it or break it decisions are always waiting around the corner and must be made at lightning speed. However, with this struggle comes opportunity. The opportunity here is for leaders to reinvent themselves and their companies, for those who desired to lead to have a chance to do so, and for the innovative to identify markets old and new that are directionless and makes their mark.
At the height of the world financial crisis Mike Luibinskas (2008) wrote an article titled “It’s the Right Time to Start a New Business”. Mr. Luibinskas (2008) says, “It may be true that it’s easier to start in a boom ,but it’s not required. You’d much rather be growing or selling/profiting in a boom because that’s when you want to accelerate. But establishment is different. Establishment is setting up a base. A base isn’t about millions of dollars or millions of users. It’s more in your ball court.” I recently helped a family member who is a well-trained project manager prepare to launch their business. We reviewed all of the necessary items and they were confident that they had everything lined up, and ready to go. As a precautionary measure they decided to have a mock opening complete with customers who were friends. The mock opening shed light onsome major problem areas that sent the new business owner back to the drawing board. While many people may find this book useful if they are in an existing business or company, as I read this book, I couldn’t help but think that much of what the authors have covered would be helpful to this new business owner and would be business owners.
As a would-be business owner, I found the information in this book to be a useful tool in creating a foundation for a business that can adapt and navigate future and potential crisis. At the core of this is one of the most important lessons which can be found in Part 2 of the book, the ability to change your business model. This is no tonly important for companies who have been around a while it is important for new and young businesses as they try to adapt to markets. The authors identify seven-step process to destroying your business model which can be utilized for new and emerging businesses (Dotlich, Cairo, & Rhinesmith, 2009):
1. Use your guts to confront the reality of the current situation.
2. Use your head to reinvent the future go-to-market model.
3. Use your heart to align your top management team and levels.
4. Use your head to prepare for the unexpected.
5. Use your guts to pull the trigger and monitor through metrics.
6. Use your heart to acknowledge that turmoil, change, and growth can take their tollon people.
…Fear, anxiety, fatigue, letting go, clinging to control – these are the emotions that underlie most resistance…Good leaders use their heart to acknowledge and not deny this basic reality of change management, and excellent leaders know how long to tolerate it before it begins to impede performance.
7. Use your head to continually redesign and realign your organization.
…Most organizations and leaders don't get it right the first time, or even the second time. Customers are disappointed, people must be changed out, and churn is inevitable. (p.40)
These seven steps can prove helpful to the new business owner who often times believe that the only requirement to do well is a good idea. It is important to be realistic about the current situation and determine whether there is a market for your goods and services, whether you can break into the market, and what itwill take to do so. The benefit of starting fresh is that you do not have to destroy an older model. However, you do have to overcome some of your prejudices and preconceptions. A new business owner is well suited for coming up with a model that could change the way business is done. Most new business owners are already following a passion and new perspective, but often times they are thinking solely with their heart because of their emotional attachmentto their ideas. This is a time when using your heart and your passion can pay off if used appropriately. However, one of the most important things in creating a business plan or model is to anticipate potential problems. This is a combination of head and guts. You can study other businesses and do test runs to shed light on any future or potential issues. This means you may have to let go or destroy some of the ideas and models you started with in order to adapt to the changing markets or maintain a competitive edge. The authors state that, “Fear, anxiety, fatigue, letting go, clinging to control – these are the emotions that underlie most resistance” These are the same emotions many new business owners must deal with when needing to make changes.
In Chapter 6, the authors discuss differentiating and integrating markets. The discussionis focused on technology and the impact it has had on how business is done globally. "The interaction of rapidly changing technology and increased global diversity means it is no longer possible to win today as companies have won in the past” (Dotlich et al., 2009). The global perspective on business speaks to my personal and professional interests. I am at the moment in Panama, in hopes of getting a better understanding of how schools,governments, and organizations around the world are preparing the next generation to compete in the global economy. I believe that adapting models that address globalization is one of themost important changes businesses and organizations can make. Even companies that deal with customers locally have to be aware of the global perspective their customers may have and how that affects the way they do business.
Never has this need become more evident than in the case of the education industry. Education industry has struggled to make anadaption that encompasses skills that have global application, destroy its oldand outdated models, and recreate models that will produce students who will meet the demand of the globalized job markets. Educators with an understanding of global demands and businesses who provide services that can fill the current gap have access to fertile ground to build on.
Statistically, the U.S. continues to fall behind in acquisition of a second language. One of the contributing factors is the way language is taught in schools. Educators all over the world are struggling to create an innovative approach that will give their students a competitive edge. Even at the university and graduate level, schools struggle to provide more than a nod to the new more globalized perspective and it can be challenging for students to gain the necessary international or multinational exposure within the confines of the educational process. During my degree program at Our Lady of the Lake, I have studied abroad twice but been unable to do so through the school. There were no outlets or opportunities to do so in the Leadership Studies program. This means that students desiring a global perspective on leadership must find alternative means to do so. In my case this means, classes and outside coursework in addition to my studies at OLLU. Not always an easy balance. That said, the advantage of the program has been that I can participate from anywhere in the world. However, I am hoping that in the future the program will grow to integrate more international perspectives and opportunities in Leadership, as few leadership positions are out of reach of the effects of globalization. In the no tso distant future, schools who are unable to adapt or recreate a global model for education will risk not only the future competitiveness of the school but of those who attend. In today’s job market you compete not only with local and national talent, but with international talent. As companies open offices, manufacture products, and outsource work the need for the globally savvy worker continues to drive recruiters beyond the boundaries of the United States where educators are still adjusting to the ideas of being multilingual.
For the new business owner, a global perspective may put them ahead of slower industry regulars who are hesitant totake an innovative approach or differentiate. Businesses offering goods and services that speak to the new need have an opportunity to develop a competitive advantage, just as more developed companies have an opportunity to expand their competitive advantage into global markets. To do this successfully leaders must balance priorities that often conflict. In my case, it is the priority of helping prepare students for a global job market that might otherwise be unprepared due to socioeconomic status, generate enough income to pay staff well and achieve someof the personal goals I have set for myself. As I build my business plan/model,I am frustrated by the question of how do I follow my heart and help others,while following my head that desires personal achievement, and my guts that says I can attract better talent with better pay. Can I make money and still help those in need or is social entrepreneurialism still just a theory? Many of the business owners I have consultedwith are of the opinion it cannot be done. The authors (Dotlich et al., 2009) outline six steps to addressing paradoxes such as these that new business owners may face:
1. Use your head to clarify your long term vision and values for the organization.
When your headand heart cancel each other out and there’s no way to know for certain what to do, rely on your vision for the future.
2. Use your head to determine your overarching priorities and make them clear to theorganization.
…Good leaders communicate over and over the key success factors around which the vision willbe measured…Poor leaders take the priorities step further, telling people what they should be doing rather than encouraging them to figure it out based on the established priorities.
3. Use your head to demand other perspectives to test your vision and question your assumptions.
…No matter howuncertain the future may appear, you may be able to discern useful patterns ifyou change the way you look at things.
4. Use your heart to open people up to the larger enterprise view.
…The enterprisevies that good leaders creatively convey in many different ways comes down to‘we’re all in this together’
5. Use your guts to create a social process for balancing conflicting perspectives andinterests.
…Social processes must be designed to engage stakeholders, explore related issues, reevaluate a problem’s definition, and reconsider traditional assumptions.
6. Use your guts to optimize rather than maximize your own interests over time.
"…In the long run, to balance two conflicting positions of equal importance, one must commit to not winning every confrontation…you must determine which battles you have to win and which ones you are prepared to lose." (p. 147)
The sixth step maybe one that is most difficult to adapt to, accepting a loss. “Navigating the Perfect Storm” is the final chapter in the book and is probably the highlight of the book. The perfect storm is a combination o fsituations and complex circumstances that put the leader in a make or break situation. A new business is in a constant state of crisis, with few to no existing or loyal customers and often times more glitches than can be solved immediately. New business owners often spend their early stages of business ownership in the perfect storm. Dotlich and his associates summarize the key issues on the horizon. It would greatly benefit would be business owners to keep these in mine as they build their business models (Dotlich et al., 2009):
· Technology versus ethics.
· Micromarketing versus the soul of the brand.
· The changing nature of diversity.
· The paradox of analysis.
· A never-ending series of surprises. (p. 201)
Technolog y has made many things once thought impossible, possible. However, with these amazing leaps intechnology comes access to do harm in new ways. With person information becoming more accessible, with medical breakthroughs that can be used to do as much harm as good companies must waynot only the risk to their bottom line but their individual customers, society,and in some cases mankind. Companies must seek a fair and balanced approach to protecting those who will be affected by their business. That is no easy tasks. This is a particularly difficult balance for a new company, who may be in the red, and in need of cash flow to stay afloat. However, it cannot be ignored.
Micromarketing and the changing nature of diversity are closely linked. The authors discuss the buyer’s ability to find a product specifically customized to their preferences. These smaller markets are micromarkets. With more diversity, more micromarkets emerge. Diversity no longer refers specifically to race, religion, and culture but to many things that makes people different from each other. Understanding how diversity is changing and adapting can lead to better insight on micromarkets and markets as a whole. However, like other leaders new business owners must remember what it is they want to say about their product, in the book this is referred to as the soul of a product. It can be difficult to stay true to that soul and not lose sight of it.
“As the world’s complexity increases, organizations are going to become more reliant on analysis…however, in the future the astonishing complexity of things will defy analysis, at least to a certain extent” (Dotlich et al, p. 203). The authors goon to say that future leaders will require a balance of analysis and instincts(Dotlich et al, p. 203). This will largely be due to the conflicting results of analysis or even the current trend of misusing data to imply things that are not completely true.
As business professionals have recently learned markets and economies can quickly change. We have witnessed some of the more devastating effects of those changes in recent years as industry powerhouses crumbled. Even without these more devastating changes or perhaps in spite of them, nothing is written in stone. Those corporations and industries that have survived the still ongoing process will get no guarantees. As Dotlich et al. (p.204) states, “A ten-person company may come up with a technological innovation that renders your billion-dollar business obsolete.” For new businesses that means you could have everything in place only to find out, your goods or services or no longer needed. Having a model in place that allows you to make quick changes could be dire. However, these never-ending surprises could also mean that anyone could be that ten-person planning with some foresight.
In the final pages of this book, the authors leave us with a message from the heart, one that speaks to leaders young and old. The final message is one that has reoccurred in the many books on leadership one of authenticity, balance, and the importance of making connection with people (Dotlich et al.p.204). This can be summed up as a message of leading with conviction orpurpose. As those who lead without purpose have no foundation to build on and nothing to rally their followers. The result is a leader without direction and a leader without direction inevitably will lead to a crisis.
|Posted by Nnwoods02 on January 8, 2012 at 1:40 PM||comments (0)|
I had high expectations for the University of Antioquia. The Colombian culture is one that is both warm and well-mannered. My expectations were based on the high level of importance Colombians place on education and the fact that Colombians tends to be well organized. In the larger cities there is a feeling that people are very modern and sophisticated. My expectations were that this would be well reflected in the higher education system.
When I entered the campus the security guard was so friendly I forgot I was being profiled. The friendliness is not fake or ingenuine. Instead, Colombians give you the sense that you are a guest and they are your host. This was my experience throughout Colombia; I was treated like a welcomed guest. She asked me how my trip was going, how I liked Colombia and if I planned to return. It is just that etiquette that seems to be prevalent in my experience and the University was no different. People went out of their way to be helpful.
The University of Antioquia is a beautiful campus. You could spend a great deal of time wandering the campus just admiring the artwork or go directly to their museum. Few campuses can boast a museum. However, few cultures have such a pure appreciation for esthetics. The Colombians love of art and esthetics envelops the campus. It is both modern yet, distinctively Colombian. It has been wonderfully designed, unlike some campuses that seem to have been built as an afterthought. The University of Antioquia campus flows. It has thousands of places for students to sit gather and study. Likewise, faculty can be seen enjoying the campus eating meals outside, preparing work.
The University hosts Safe Sex Ed. Fair (above)
The University of Antioquia is ranked number 2 in all of Colombia. With a campus that is easy to navigate and handicap friendly it is obvious that the school values its students and reputation. Those who use a wheelchair may still find themselves facing the challenge of locating a wheelchair accessible entrance into some buildings, but most of the buildings are accessible.
One of the things I like to look for is the time it takes to locate information on a campus. This is directly linked not only the organization of the physical campus, but the knowledge and helpfulness of faculty, staff, and students of the school. This usually reflects the culture of the university. I have visited universities where there is a haughtiness, a strong suspicion of newcomers/outsiders, and simply a lack of knowledge of those who work and attend about the school. On these campuses it is difficult to find out any information. Either you spend your time explaining why you need it, you are dismissed, denied access, or you simply find people who do not take ownership of the place they work and attend. At the University of Antioquia, I was instantly struck by one thing, the clear role of the student. It was clear that the students took both pride and ownership in the school. There was a sexual Education Fair going on, and many students were both participating and leading. The presence of student leadership was very evident throughout the campus. Student workers were engaged and professional. When I entered the campus, I stopped a young college couple (Spanish dictionary in hand) and asked for to the office I was told gave tours. They walked with me until the office was in clear sight. I went to the office and realized that there were two offices with similar sounding names. The security guard sensing I was lost asked me what I was looking for and stopped a passing student who happened to be from the tour office. He knew the student worked there because all of the students who give tours or provide information wear a standard issued shirt so they can be easily identified by visitors and new students. The student to me to the office and I was signed up for a tour with other visiting students. I did not make the tour, as the location got lost in translation. My Spanish is still not very good, and I waited at the incorrect location. That said, every person I met was patient with my poor Spanish and very professional.
What I loved about the Universidad
Aesthetically pleasing and beautiful campus, professional/ helpful staff, many student activities, appreciation for the arts are visible, approachable/friendly students, visible student leadership (students took ownership in the university. Overall, this university felt like a high quality learning environment with a perfect mix of academics and student activities.
What was missing
There was no hard copy of the degree catalog available. This is a book or list of the degrees offered and the requirements to earn them as well as definitions of the courses offered. This is extremely important to a foreign student who may have to show proof that a class is similar to one he would earn at his home school. Additionally, students will want to ensure that a school offers the kind of classes he can use toward his degree in his home country/school. The absence of a catalog extends the time and effort on the part of the student who must go to each department individually to get information on degrees and requirements. I can imagine if a school successfully attracts foreign students this can translate to lost dollars as faculty and staff continue to replicate information on a as needed basis. This will also affect the consistency or quality of information students receive. Some schools may be able to handle the demand one on one. However, in a large school it is counterproductive. A few schools offer the information online and for most this will be sufficient, as long as there is an accessible list of degrees and courses. However, students who do not have internet access will not have the opportunity to view this information. A hard copy is also a perfect opportunity for schools to showcase unique educational opportunities that others may not offer such as specialized courses and certificates or degrees.
Why study in Colombia?
Colombia has a rich history from literature to art. The major cities are very modern and you have access to all of the amenities you would have in developed countries. One of the biggest reasons to study in Colombia is that there is no longer a reason not to. While Colombia works like any country to reduce crime, what Colombia faces now is more of a negative perception than a reality. It is like any country, crime ridden neighborhoods and good ones, places that are dangerous and places that are safe. The attraction to Colombia would be it’s culture, history, and people. If you have been looking for a Spanish speaking place to study abroad, Colombia should make the list.
Education in Colombia
Colombia is a place that takes its education seriously. Men and women attend university and while other countries struggle to attract women to STEM majors Colombia has no such problem. It may be surprising to find women at the head of software engineering firms, managers of departments and heavily represented in the STEM Fields. The Colombian culture is one that puts a high value on education. In Medellin alone there are nearly twenty schools and universities. The University of Antioquia is ranked number 2 in all of Colombia.
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