Learning the Field of International Education: The NAFSA Academy

NAFSA (Association of International Educators) is running the Academy program again in 2010.  For those of you who don’t know NAFSA, it is one of the primary professional associations for international educators. Headquartered in Washington DC, it offers a massive national conference that attracts educators and 3rd party providers/partners from around the world.  NAFSA also offers regional conferences each fall, which are more intimate gatherings with colleagues from a several state region.

The Academy is the training program for those who are interested in exploring the field of international education. This is an excellent opportunity for those who are relatively new to the field and who would like exposure to various career tracks under the umbrella of international education.  Those who are accepted into the Academy must commit to a 9 month program and develop learning goals. They will be paired with a seasoned mentor who will work closely with them to work toward their learning plan goals and to assist in networking within the field so that they are pulling from the most appropriate resources for their own learning paths.  Having served as a mentor in this program,  I have seen the added benefit of Academy participants bonding with a cohort of peers who will become friends and “go to” colleagues down the road.

Academy participants learn the basics of International Admissions, International Student Advising, Education Abroad and Management. They are expected to attend a training in the Spring in Atlanta, Georgia (US)  and then to attend the national and their local regional conferences. Membership to the organization is given for up to 18 months as part of the program and mentoring is continuous throughout the 9 month period, although it typically takes place by phone and email during the bulk of the program.  Participants will also have access to NAFSA’s online manual during this period.

Applications for the Academy are due by December 1st, 2009.  There is a fee of $1649 to participate, but this typically  includes membership and registration fees for the 3 face to face meetings/conferences (although the region determines whether to discount or waive the regional conference fee).  Travel costs to conferences are additional, but many employers will contribute to the program fee and travel costs.

If you know anyone interested in the field of international education, please do tell them about the NAFSA Academy. And if you’re a seasoned professional and would be interested in volunteering your time as a mentor, it is a very rewarding experience and offers a tremendous opportunity to give back to our field, which has given us so much.


  1. Alvaro H. Franco says:

    I live in Miami, Florida and have experience on teaching in Colombia, South America and Approximately 2 and half years experience at trade Schools in Miami an Fort Lauderdale, Florida. At this moment I am unemployed and would like to engage on An International Teaching and I would like if possible more information on the NAFSA Academy Program. Thank you

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