International Students: From Campus to Career

International Students: From Campus to Career

As a land of opportunity where dreams can come true for those prepared to work hard for success, America’s appeal is long-standing. For students deciding which academic path will best meet their learning needs and aspirations, American institutions are respected the world over. But now students expect to see a clearly signposted path from studies to career. Increased demand from students across South Asia to pursue higher education internationally, presents institutions across America with the opportunity to diversify their student communities.

Universities that make the strongest link with employment will strengthen their reputations beyond a single or small number of countries, grow demand and build long term resilience. American students will benefit too, building cultural agility and the skills and outlooks that transcend national boundaries and are the tools required of tomorrow’s leaders.

Recognition that international students contribute enormously to the places they choose to study — and to the industries they choose for their careers — is also on the up. This was demonstrated by the strong country delegations at the recent NAFSA Annual Conference and Expo, where we met representatives from every inhabited continent keen to learn from Study Group’s near thirty years of experience in connecting international students to global higher education.

The higher education sector is deeply committed to delivering career-ready international students. It is apparent in our work with 50 partners around the world — including Florida Atlantic University, James Madison University, Long Island University, University of Auckland, Cardiff University and University College Dublin — but at the expo there was particular recognition that specialist employment support and preparation in America is crucial to helping international students navigate the transition from campus to career, with its unique complexities compared to alternative study destinations. Additionally, international students will have very different perspectives to those of their domestic peers on career options. When choosing an international study route, they will simultaneously consider potential career paths at home, their destination and in other countries too.

Our richest discussion at NAFSA had the international student voice at its heart. Convening an event with Gateway, we welcomed Dr Jang, a former international student to share her insights and experience. Our objective was to explore the opportunities for American institutions to the best support talented international students to achieve their career goals, beyond delivering exceptional teaching. It was powerful to hear from a graduate who has forged a successful career in America.

For all students taking the step into university education, a welcoming community is of course a significant factor. For the ten thousand international students we are guiding this year into global higher education courses and institutions that are right for them, that community is vitally important, pre and post arrival.

And this is a two-way process — maintaining cultural connections with home supports international students to feel grounded, reducing the potential for overwhelm in a country that will be filled with the new: language, street signs, transport, food, customs, people, education systems and so much more. At the same time, international students are excited to immerse themselves in the experience of living and studying abroad, and this too must be supported. What Dr Jang emphasized on these points was their relevance in assisting international students from campus to career.

Creating ready-made communities for international students on arrival signals support and understanding. Buddy-ups can facilitate adjustment and can be established in advance of a student’s first visit to campus. These communities may also be able to contribute to student recruitment and content that will resonate, reflecting language and attitudes at home and sharing their views on the academic and employment prospects of a global education.

From here, our conversations moved to spin-out affinity groups, such as international student career clubs where discussions of cultural differences and professional expectations can take place. These groups will deliver peer-support and shared experience, but they can also act as a sounding board for those universities looking to enhance their professional development programs for international students. Affinity groups can steer where energies will yield the best results, from guidance to address the realities of staying and working in the US, through to the skills required for any job market and an understanding of international sponsorship around the world.

If successful, there is the potential to evolve these groups further by incorporating alumni, who can offer mentoring and advice on employment searches both domestically and abroad. With co-benefits for mentors and mentees, both parties will nurture skills that can be added to their CVs and may be able to help with the formation of local employer forums, building connections between international graduates and future talent.

Meaningful engagement that responds to student expectations will evolve the environment and experience for international students to thrive, from prearrival, for the duration of their studies and beyond. In return universities can create sustainable growth and diversification of their student communities.

About the author: Steve Pinches is Chief Product Officer at Study Group, international education experts who connect students from 120 countries with 50 university partners to build their brands internationally and to grow their international student intake. Our student and academic support solutions help international students develop the key skills and behaviours needed to ace their degrees and ensure future employability. Through strong and sustainable collaboration, we support thousands of international students to achieve their international higher education goals.

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Episode 29: Cultural Lens on U.S. Higher Education: Analyzing International Perceptions of 'Anti-Woke’ Discourse

Dive into a nuanced exploration of the global discourse surrounding higher education in the United States. Join us for a panel discussion with esteemed international educators as we embark on a journey through the lenses of culture and international perspective, examining how global audiences interpret and engage with the ‘anti-woke’ discourse within the context of U.S. higher education. This engaging panel discussion will delve into the intersections of culture, ideology, and education, and the complex landscape of how international audiences perceive the ‘anti-woke’ narrative that has emerged within U.S. academia.

Whether you’re a senior international officer, or simply curious about the diverse viewpoints shaping U.S. higher education, this podcast episode will provide an invaluable space for critical analysis and insightful conversations.

Speaker Biography:

Fanta Aw is a distinguished leader in international education, renowned for her extensive contributions to global learning, cross-cultural understanding, and educational equity. With a deep commitment to fostering connections between diverse cultures and promoting educational excellence, she has significantly impacted the international education community.

Fanta Aw’s career has been characterized by her dedication to advancing global education initiatives, promoting diversity and inclusion, and nurturing partnerships that transcend borders. She has held influential roles in various organizations, advocating for the importance of international collaboration and learning experiences that empower individuals to navigate an increasingly interconnected world.

As a thought leader and visionary, Fanta Aw’s insights and expertise have shaped discussions on the future of international education, emphasizing the significance of equitable access, cultural exchange, and lifelong learning. Her work has not only elevated institutions but has also inspired countless individuals to embrace the transformative power of global education.

Date: September 14th, 2023
Time: 12 noon ET

Sponsored by:

Mark Beirn


An experienced global researcher and administrator, Mark Beirn brings a critical approach to risk management, factoring structural racism and identity-based violence into his rubric for supporting equitable global mobility.

Specialization Areas:

– Global Risk Management
– Education Abroad
– Diversity, Equity, Inclusion in International Education
– Health and Safety
– Curriculum Development


Stephen Appiah-Padi​


Stephen Appiah-Padi is an international educator with several years of teaching and administrative experience in both 4 and 2-year HEIs. An experienced global education practitioner-scholar, with a demonstrated history of success in the field.

Dr. Appiah-Padi has a Ph.D. from the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada in Educational Policy & Administration with a specialization in International/Intercultural Education.

At Northwestern College, he provided oversight in the administration of education abroad and international student services. In Lansing, Michigan, he first oversaw diversity and intercultural education at Lansing Community College, and later created the Center for International and Intercultural Education (CIIE) which merged intercultural engagement and international education programs of the institution, and he became its first director. Additionally, Dr. Appiah-Padi taught a course, “Diversity in the American Workplace”, to undergraduate management students of the College. In his current position, he provides leadership and vision in advancing strategic internationalization initiatives, including international partnerships and study abroad programs at Bucknell University.

Dr Appiah-Padi has created and facilitated several workshops for faculty and staff development in higher education and in business organizations. He has presented at several national and international conferences. In NAFSA, among several volunteer leadership positions, he has served as Dean of the Fundamentals of Intercultural Communication Workshop, the Leadership Development Committee member, Chair of the Africa Special Interest Group, and a Fellow of the Global Fellowship Program for mentoring emerging leaders of internationalization in African HEIs. He currently serves as a member of the NAFSA Board of Directors.

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Rosa Almoguera


Dr. Rosa Almoguera has worked as an international educator for over twenty years. She was trained as a Hispanic Philologist at the Universidad Complutense, in Madrid, and did her M.A. at the University of Pennsylvania. Her Ph.D., from Universidad Complutense included a field study and edition of written balladry “Romancero”. During many years Rosa combined teaching and her role as a senior administrator at the Fundación Ortega-Marañón in Toledo, Spain. At the Foundation, Rosa directed and, in many cases created, programs for the University of Minnesota, Notre Dame, Princeton, Ohio State, Arcadia, and the University of Chicago. She has also been a visiting professor at the University of Minnesota, University of Portland, and Interamericana de Puerto Rico.

Beginning in 2016, Rosa works as an international education consultant for both public and private European and US higher education institutions. Rosa has been successful in developing new partnerships and programs, as well as helping improve already existing ones.

Rosa is a member of Forum and NAFSA and has presented with higher education professionals on innovative academic and research programming, STEM in study abroad and Nationalism in Europe. Rosa is currently completing the final Professional Certification from the Forum on Education Abroad.

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