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Picking up from last month’s newsletter topic of international student enrollments, the topic of new student orientations seems to be timely.
Thousands of fresh, new international students are busily preparing for their trips to the United States to begin what they – and their families – hope will be a successful academic journey. Some may have some familiarity with their new destination while for others this is an adventure into wholly unchartered waters. You, on the receiving end, have the arduous task of orienting these newcomers to their new environment, including the classroom, the campus, the local community and the larger community (however large you choose to define it).

I must admit that it has been more than a generation since I last ran a new international student orientation. Let’s just say the Internet was not yet worldwide and phones were not yet smart. It was a daylong event with a series of presentations and talking heads. Updates or reinforcement of information occurred through the periodic printed newsletters from the international office. As today, immigration matters were the central piece of the day; and much of the cultural adaption information was similar to that of today. What seems to have changed, though, are some of the topics that must now be covered, as well as the breadth of methods and time frame in which material can be presented.

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In January 2017, Robert Rigg joined Terra Dotta as an ISSS Specialist. His daily responsibilities include Tier 3 troubleshooting of ISSS issues, QA testing of SEVIS module development tickets, assisting with round-trip data transfer jobs, ISSS client integrations, ISSS client data migrations from other batch solutions, as well as being a subject matter expert for ISSS, assisting with product development ideas, regulatory interpretations, and anything else SEVIS related.

Before joining Terra Dotta, Robert was the SEVIS Coordinator PDSO/ARO for 13 years at Washington State University. Prior to this position, Robert worked as a self-employed artisan woodworker and contractor, website designer, and small business database consultant.

Outside of work, Robert enjoys fly fishing, homebrewing, camping, coffee roasting, video gaming, photography, physics and spending time with his wife and two daughters. One vacation spot Robert has always wanted to visit is Southeast Asia, specifically Cambodia or Vietnam!

Robert says his favorite part of working at Terra Dotta is “The teamwork and collaborative nature of the job."

Next April seems a long way off, but October 15 will be here before you know it. That’s the deadline for session proposals for TDU Global 2019. One of the hallmarks of TDU Global is the slate of sessions presented by your peers who share their rich knowledge of Terra Dotta solutions and the insightful ways in which they use the software. Take that first step toward session stardom by going to the Call for Proposals. Remember, October 15, 2018, is the deadline.

Then mark your calendar for April 15-17, 2019, for TDU Global 2019. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to gather with other users and Terra Dotta staff to focus on the latest and greatest with your software. We will be gathering at the Emory Conference Center in Atlanta, Georgia, an inspirational setting inspired by a Frank Lloyd Wright design.

Check each month’s Terra Dotta newsletter for updates from the Planning Committee. There is more exciting news to come!


Between printed and online materials, it can be daunting to keep up with the professional literature. Let us help you. Each month we will list several online articles that we hope you will find interesting.

Find an article that you believe others will want to read? Send the link to! Here are some to get you started:

Belt and Road Countries Attract Chinese Students Looking to Study Abroad
From Women of China

What GDPR Means for U.S. Higher Education
From Campus Technology

Learn About International Student Trends with Mapping SEVIS by the Numbers
From the Department of Homeland Security

Megatrends Prompt Universities to Innovate and Internationalize
From The EvoLLLution

Maximize International Student Services at U.S. Universities
From U.S. News & World Report


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