Diversity & Inclusion in Global Education Blog
Blog Home All Blogs

Diversity Abroad Team's Advice on Working From Home (WFH)

Posted By Administration, Friday, March 27, 2020

 

Many organizations, companies, and institutions are transitioning to working remotely during the COVID-19 crisis and face new challenges managing this while remaining productive and successful. As a virtual team since Diversity Abroad’s founding 14 years ago, being remote is in our DNA. We asked our team to share their tips on how to thrive in a remote environment.

Set intentions... 

Everyone has their own methods for working from home. Many people suggest following a morning routine, getting dressed for the day, and setting aside a dedicated work area. This advice comes down to being intentional about how you organize your work-life balance. We are mindful that as many people are navigating working from home for the first time, there may be additional responsibilities to balance such as children, partners, or other family members at home.


Developing a successful routine for working from home can take some time and will look different for everyone. Set intentions about what remote work will look like for you, being realistic about what your situation allows and the unique challenges of this moment. This could be setting a time you want to be online by, how you’ll communicate needs with your family for peace and quiet, where you’ll work, whether you’ll wear full-on business casual with shoes or be more comfortable, or what time you’ll sign off. Switching to remote work is a major lifestyle change that will require some trial and error. Being intentional about your workday and routine will help take some of the guesswork out of what each day looks like. 

...but be flexible

As you adjust to this new reality, be flexible and try out new habits or techniques to see what works best for you, your team, and your organization as a whole. Try out different environments or settings to see where you are most comfortable at home. You don’t just have to be at a desk or your home office, one of the advantages of working remotely many of us have found is being able to change your location during the day. While this used to mean going to a coffee shop or a library, now it might mean moving to a deck if the day is nice or standing up at a kitchen counter for a while. 

Additionally, be open to new systems for organizing work. Whether it’s an online system like Trello or Google Keep, or utilizing video chat or a messaging platform like Slack in a new way. Working remotely necessitates communicating and collaborating differently with each other. Your team will have to set new expectations and intentions about what success looks like in this work environment. How will you manage projects, track progress, and work together?  

This is a time of great change for everyone, whether or not you have worked remotely before. Be open to your work habits changing - it’s all part of the new reality. And look at this as an opportunity to re-evaluate how you work best and discover new habits or techniques that can help you in the future. 

Communicate, communicate, communicate

Working remotely means communication happens differently than in a traditional office. You’re expected to do the same work, but in a new environment where you can’t just stick your head in a colleague’s office or have a face to face discussion. 

 

On a very practical level, you need to make sure everyone knows the best way to stay in touch and collaborate. At Diversity Abroad we have outlined which purposes or situations a communication tool should be used for. Generally, we message each other through Slack to coordinate projects, ask for help, and check-in. Email is reserved primarily for in depth project instructions or external communications and we also have standing organization-wide and smaller team calls to plan for the week, brainstorm, and provide project updates. Setting these expectations requires intentional communication, as well as discussion and re-evaluation.

 

It’s also important to work as a team to discuss what everyone’s needs are during this time. Do you need to run errands or walk the dog during the day? Or will you be starting work extra early in order to spend a few hours later in the morning with your kids or family? People’s hours may change now that they are working from home. Remote work can offer much more freedom and flexibility so people can make their schedules work to their needs. At Diversity Abroad, we keep our calendars up to date with meeting times and focused project times (Quiet Hours) clearly marked or mark off OOO (Out Of Office) so our colleagues know whether we have time to talk or if we won’t be quick to reply to a message.

 Self Care

While working from home is a highly individual experience, it doesn’t have to be a lonely or isolating one. This is a challenging time for many people, and seeking support or expressing how you are doing is important. You miss out on a lot of casual interactions and conversations when working remotely, so set aside time for checking in with each other. Many of our team members have standing one on one meetings with each other to review projects and set goals, but also to catch up and see how each other is doing. Take time to connect with and support your colleagues, while also checking-in with yourself. Go on a walk, do exercises, or just get up and walk around the house every couple hours. Make an effort to disconnect from email or Slack during lunchtime or breaks by reading a book or turning off notifications.

 

We hope these tips inspire you, as you adapt to working full-time from home and make it a successful transition in which your team can support each other. 

Tags:  career  Diversity Abroad Staff  professional development  professional skills  resources 

Share |
Permalink
 

Future Leaders Summit on Culture Participants Announced

Posted By Administration, Friday, February 28, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, July 26, 2016

 

Diversity Abroad and CIEE are excited to announce the second cohort of professionals who will participate in a day-long Future Leaders Summit on Culture! We received applications from professionals around the country interested in addressing the barrier of culture to diversifying the students who participate in education abroad programming.

The 20 participants selected to participate in this Summit will travel to San Diego, CA on Sunday, March 30th prior to the Diversity Abroad Conference. They will engage in dialogue focused on identifying the barriers that culture creates to attracting diverse and underrepresented students to education abroad, developing strategies to address these barriers, and creating action plans to take back to their campuses. 

 

Future Leaders Summit - Culture Participants


Ahaji Schreffler Drexel University Study Abroad
Ann Lutterman-Aguilar Augsburg College
Carol Larson University of Pittsburgh
Christina Dinges Susquehanna University
Darielle Horsey University of Southern California
Frank Biafora University of South Florida St. Petersburg
Jay Minert University of California San Diego
Jeffery Collins Oglethorpe University
Jessica Francis Wake Forest University
Kate Regan University of Portland
Kenya Casey Emory University/CIPA
Krista Johnson Howard University
LaNitra Berger Honors College, George Mason University
Mandy Brookins Blinn DePauw University
Melody Stratton University of Kansas Office of Study Abroad
Rebecca Bergren Gettysburg College
Robert Bennett III The Ohio State University
Russell Brodie Saint Augustine University
Thandi Dinani University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Torian Lee Xavier University of Louisiana
Uttiyo Raychaudhuri Clemson Study Abroad
William Smith University of Georgia

 

This is one of three Future Leaders Summits that Diversity Abroad and CIEE have partnered to implement in order to address three institutional barriers to diversifying student participation in education abroad. In November, we hosted the first Summit focused on Curriculum and later this year we will implement the third Summit focused on Cost.

For more information about the Future Leaders Summit, please visit the Future Leaders Summit page.

Tags:  Diversity  Education Abroad Diversity  Outreach  Resources  study abroad 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Study Abroad and Sexual Assault: What's the Connection?

Posted By Administration, Friday, January 11, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Last month Middlebury College, a small liberal arts college located in Vermont, released a study with some striking results. The study suggested that women who study abroad are more likely than their peers who remain in the U.S. to experience some kind of sexual assault while in college. There are several possible explanations as to why this may be the case: easier access to alcohol, weak social networks, and differences in cultural cues. Considering that the majority of students who study abroad are women (IIE Open Doors Report) and there is a greater push to get students to study in non-traditional (generally non-English speaking) countries, professionals working in student exchange need to take a more serious look at how to prepare young women for their experience abroad.

There are ways that institutions and study abroad providers can better prepare their female students when they go abroad, though.

Pre-Departure Training

Talking about the possibility of sexual assault abroad into the pre-departure discussion is one place to start. Discussing resources available to students while they're abroad is key, but it is also important to let students know that they have resources available in the case something does happen. Building awareness among students is imperative.

Mechanisms for Reporting Incidences

Program providers and institutions managing their own programs should also make information about the resources available to students while they're abroad more overt. If there isn't an existing protocol for handling incidences of sexual assault, there should be. The Forum on Education Abroad's publication "Standards of Good Practices in Education Abroad" offers good guiding questions for providers.

This topic is important issue because the students ultimately benefit from better preparation for their time abroad and providers and institutions benefit from students with positive accounts of their time abroad.

If you would like to share your thoughts, email us at members@diversitynetwork.org

Tags:  Resources  safety  sexual assault  Study Abroad  women 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

International Education Issues to Watch During Obama’s 2nd Term

Posted By Administration, Monday, December 3, 2012
Updated: Thursday, July 21, 2016

After nearly a year of intense presidential political campaigning, U.S. voters have officially selected President Obama for a second term in the White House. With a host of big issues to tackle, the Obama administration will not only be faced with challenges like handling an economic recovery and improving bipartisan relationships in Congress, they will also need to  manage changes in education policies, immigration reform, foreign policy efforts and more.  With so many priorities to manage, what could Obama’s second term mean for international educational professionals, especially for those interested in expanding education abroad opportunities for traditionally underrepresented populations?

Based on the most recent discussions about the impact that the election results would have on higher education, there are four areas that may be of particular interest for international education professionals to watch over the next few months. These issues have the potential to change, challenge, and improve the way education abroad experts pursue the goals of making international opportunities available to a wider audience of students and improving international student services on campuses.

Immigration Policies

DREAM Act Legislation

Maryland has become the 12th state to allow in-state tuition rates for undocumented students who qualify. This comes in the wake of the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals act that allows many undocumented young people who arrived in the U.S. when they were minors the chance to remain in the U.S. Not only do these two examples suggest that people in the U.S. are interested in a more comprehensive reform on immigration policies, they also suggest that there will be a growing number of diverse students, particularly Hispanics/Latinos, who may begin to seek out other opportunities on campus to get engaged including education abroad programming. Advisers from all departments will need to know how to access resources and information to support these students on campus, especially if the federal DREAM Act legislation is re-introduced to Congress.

Enhancements to Work and Student Visa Requirements

There has been much discussion about offering a path to residency in the U.S. for international students who graduate with advanced degrees. Though both parties favor policies that would allow these graduates to stay in the U.S. to increase the national competitiveness in research and development, passing legislation on these policies is often held up by a greater need to pursue comprehensive immigration reform. Should action be taken in this area, institutions of higher education may look to expand international student recruiting efforts and increase focus on research opportunities.

Supreme Court Decision on Affirmative Action

Affirmative action lawsuits have been around nearly as long as affirmative action policies were first set in motion in the 1960s. The latest case to be brought to the attention of the Supreme Court is that of Abigail Fisher vs the University of Texas, Austin. This case has the potential to completely eliminate race/ethnicity from consideration during the college admissions process subsequently challenging institutions to find alternative ways to recruit ethnic/racial minorities to their campuses. This is no easy feat, and should the case rule in favor of eliminating racial preferences in admissions decisions there is a strong possibility that colleges and universities will face several challenges in ensuring students of color are represented on their campuses. This may present new challenges for how international educators reach out to and retain students of color for education abroad opportunities.

Pell Grant Program

Threats to cut the existing Pell Grant Program and modifications in federal student aid in general have greatly affected the higher education community. Federal aid is imperative to making college accessible to low-income and first-generation students because it has provided the financial support needed to cover the basic costs of attending college. This has allowing a more diverse population of students to get engaged in activities outside of the classroom and limiting access to these resources could also limit the diversity of students on campus. If funding remains steady or even increases, this may mean new opportunities for education abroad professionals to get more underrepresented students involved in international programming. There are an increasing number of study abroad providers that now offer matching funding for Pell Grant eligible students and this may create more demand for additional programming.

Expansion of Community Colleges

In 2011, the Obama administration launched the Building American Skills Through Community Colleges an initiative that is intended to expand education and training opportunities for more US students. Now only has the administration committed to more support for community colleges to train students, it has places a particular emphasis on preparing the population in high demand technical jobs that are increasingly global in nature. This opens a unique opportunity not only to engage community college students in education abroad activities, it could open opportunities for STEM students to explore international programming also. Moreover, this and other federal initiatives are working on expanding opportunities to attract larger international student populations to these campuses. This not only could offer more funding opportunities for the institutions, it could also offer opportunities for on-campus dialogue and engagement between US and international students, in turn promoting more cultural exchange on campus.

These are but a few of the policies that could influence the direction of international programming and internationalization efforts on US campuses over the course of the next few years.

If you would like to share your thoughts, email us at members@diversitynetwork.org.

Tags:  community colleges  education abroad  Funding  global education  inclusion  international education  International Exchange  Obama  resources  Underrepresented Students 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Culture Shock

Posted By Administration, Monday, November 19, 2012
Updated: Thursday, July 21, 2016

“All Americans are superficial and I can’t wait to go home.” This is a popular statement made by international students during their first semester of studying in the U.S. Initially students can develop a euphoria with America and the experience may meet or even surpass their previous expectations. However, when that wears off and homesickness starts to brew it is no surprise that students who have come to the U.S. to earn degrees experience some sort of shock. They may even develop disdain and seriously contemplate going back home. The language barrier alone can drive someone crazy, not to mention the learning curve to use American slang, greetings and common phrases. Culture shock just might be the most pressing issue for international students studying in the U.S., driving students to quit their studies and give up on earning the degree of their dreams.

There are multiple facets to experiencing this shock. Some symptoms below could be the initial phase of culture shock:

  • Anxiety
  • Loneliness
  • Feeling misunderstood
  • Asking: “Why am I here?"
  • Extreme homesickness

These symptoms are all very real and could be in result of the student comparing their culture and the value system in their home country to that in the U.S. Naturally new students make comparisons, but while in culture shock most comparisons will end with negative conclusions. What is an international student to do? There are many tips and tricks that revolve around an altered perspective to help ensure that the culture shock phase doesn’t last long.

Tip #1: Try not to compare and be open-minded. There are an immense number of differences between the U.S. and any other country. Trying to embrace those differences by opening oneself up to new experiences will guarantee an awesome international experience.

Tip #2: Reach out. As an international student it is very difficult to make new friends in the U.S. without introducing oneself or making attempts at consistent social interaction. There are numerous student organizations, clubs and groups on campus with like-minded domestic students eager to socialize around a cause or interest.

Tip #3: Use the resources provided to you. Academic counselors, the international student office, admissions office and new friends will all contribute to and support the transition into the U.S. and keep culture shock to a minimum. Consistently using these resources will serve the student well.

The expectations of international students usually exclude the reality of culture shock. But in order to excel academically an international student will most definitely need to feel comfortable in their new home. Helping students overcome these inevitable obstacles will ensure a smooth transition, adding great value to any U.S. campus. With a combined effort this issue can be minimized helping international students take away an unparalleled and invaluable college experience.

The Diversity Network sends its sincere thanks and appreciation to Kala Garner for sharing her thoughts on the most pressing issue facing international students in the U.S. today.  If you would like to share your thoughts, email us at members@diversitynetwork.org

Tags:  culture shock  International Students  Outreach  resources 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 
Page 1 of 2
1  |  2