NAFSA Holds 2011 Annual Conference and Expo in Vancouver, BC

NAFSA, the leading non-profit professional organization focused on international education will be holding its annual conference and exposition from May 29 to June 3. Through a variety of services and educational solutions, NAFSA helps students from all over the world connect with educational and professional opportunities in different countries.

Both educators and related service organizations know that international experience helps make students prime candidates for broader career opportunities. And while students benefit from the experiences in other countries, employers and educators can also enjoy the unique insights students bring with them.

NAFSA stands for National Association of Foreign Student Advisers, a name established in 1948. It has since changed its name to the Association of International Educators but kept its original acronym.

The organization will meet in Vancouver, British Columbia, and “bring together education abroad and international student advisers, exchange program developers, university administrators and faculty members, service providers, and others for five packed days of training workshops, educational sessions, networking opportunities, and special events," according to the NAFSA website.

NAFSA’s annual conference typically sees more than 7,000 attendees arrive from more than 120 countries around the globe.

With the rise of the internet and the rapid advances in other forms of communication, international students and professionals are searching for opportunities to grow their experience in more than one country. With the assistance of cultural exchange organizations, facilitated internships and training programs can be easily integrated by businesses, allowing them to benefit from these candidates’ international knowledge and helping them compete in the global marketplace.

Participants in international internships and professional training programs gain essential experience while working outside their home countries as well. Not only are they expanding their expertise in specific functional areas, but they’re also learning how to operate in new environments and cultures. Businesses, too, gain insights into globalization through such exchanges. For companies who can’t afford more traditional options such as opening offices abroad, recruiting an international intern can often provide equally valuable learning while also being cost effective.

The trend toward more internationally experienced professionals seems to be occurring in parallel to companies’ interest in gaining knowledge to expand in different parts of the world. The exchange between an international intern and his or her host company can be the first step in the journey toward building greater global capabilities.