NAFSA Poster Proposal Success!

I’m more than excited to have gotten word that my poster presentation for the NAFSA national convention this summer in Houston, TX. This will be my first time going so having a poster to boot will definitely make this a memorable experience.

My poster will cover social media and mobile design and how their uses can be applied to international education. This is going to be a little different from your standard poster presentation because I’ll be part of the Technology fair on Friday June 1st. I honestly need to follow-up and get some confirmation on what the over all style of “poster” I should put together, and I plan to send out an email about that today. But in the mean time, I’ll just continue to be excited.

I look forward to this whole experience!

A Change in Japan’s Higher Education?

While watching NHK World the other day a news brief came on stating that Tokyo University, Todai, on of the most prestigious higher education institutions in Japan was considering a move to an academic year that would begin in the fall. Both NHK and the Wall Street Journal referenced that Todai was examining the issue with an “international outlook” in mind.

International Education implications

By starting in the Fall it would allow Todai students greater opportunities for international exchange and study abroad programs.  This is very good news to hear as according to a news report from last year the number of Japanese students participating in study abroad programs had been decreasing. This change would make it possible to study abroad for a semester and return not missing much of their core classes. This is also is positive news to hear for students looking to study in Japan.

One of the biggest challenges for education abroad programs currently are faced with is the face that Japan functions on an entirely different school year than many of its contemporaries. The differences are not as simple as credit transfers between semester vs quarter school systems we have here in the US but in that it starts and ends in vastly different times of the year from our own. The Japanese academic year runs from April to March. This is a challenge for many institutions hoping to have Fall term study abroad programs in Japan. What makes it hard is that for the program to start in September the program would then end in February or March. So for a student to study abroad for fall semester they would end up missing the second semester or their home institution. This results in how many Japan programs are year-long endeavors.

While the articles only refer to Tokyo University at the moment this is noteworthy because Tokyo University is the best, top of the top, amongst Japans universities, part of Japan’s ivy league with others like Waseda and Keio. Thus when they are discussing such a large change we need to take notice.

Yet with a possible change in academic year this could open up a whole new number of education abroad for Japan and other countries for international impacts in both directions. It’s certainly something I will keep an eye on for both my interests in Japan and International Education.

The non-traditional path to Student Affairs

I can’t say I’ve chosen the easiest path for my career in terms of education. My BA was in International Studies and my MA will be in Asian Studies. More and more I see jobs that would fit me but they require degrees in Education, Higher Ed, or Student Affairs. So why have I made things harder for myself by not going with a degree like that? Simply put, I lacked information.

Well first I’ll say that I didn’t know what I wanted career-wise when I entered my Master’s program. I simply felt I wanted something to do with Japan. But I truly enjoyed my time working at the Study Abroad Center at UH that it cemented that it was the job for me. And secondly I didn’t even know that such majors existed. My only knowledge for advanced degrees in education were for either teachers or people who wanted to become principles. I had no clue that Student Affairs was even a degree. In my case I had a very valid reason for my thinking.

When I studied abroad in Japan the program was run by my mentor at OU and he was a Professor. So while I knew that the study abroad office kind of existed it wasn’t a real thing in my mind. So I felt that if I wanted to work in education abroad (with Japan) I would have to be a professor. Another addition would be my former boss was a Political Scientist and one of my co-workers was formerly in banking. So the whole student affairs education path was not clear to me.

I have since come to realize that this is not the case. But I feel that I still want to follow my career dream.  I really wish I had landed my dream job already so that I could give advice to others who are still hunting but I’m in the same boat as them still.

So here I am applying for every job I can find hoping that the next app will be the one.

Writing and Hunting

I have really gotten into this Nanowrimo thing. Yesterday I wrote 5k and that put me at over 20,000 words today. I know I should be putting that much effort into my thesis work but it’s a different writing style. BUT! I have found that by actually taking the act of writing and staying with a set goal for daily writing it actually is helping me get into writing overall. I mean I wrote my papers conclusion yesterday. I just need to sit down and put the body together.

Honestly though, I really wish my job hunt comes to an end soon. I have been checking out webinars and podcasts, and reading many blogs to help improve my ability to sell myself as a professional. I have to say that HigherEdLive and Student Affairs Live are great and anyone interested in higher education should check them out. I think one of the hardest aspects of my search is that I’m limited by location. It’s hard to be told that I would get a job easily on the mainland when I’m committed to Hawaii. Hopefully something will work out. I had an interview but that didn’t pan out but it was interview experience and every little bit helps.