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The most recent Terra Dotta article opens with this sentence: “College students increasingly look to study abroad programs not only for pleasure and enrichment, but also to better prepare themselves for future employment.” We can say this about all global student mobility; students look to study outside their country for a mixture of reasons based on “pleasure and enrichment” as well as “future employment.” The weighting of pleasure vs. employability varies from country to country and student to student, but the two general factors remain the primary driving force.

As the article goes on to discuss, finances then impact whether and how students respond to those driving forces. For advisors this means educating students on not only the benefits of an education abroad experience but also on how to make it happen. For most students, the choices revolve around where they would like to go, how will the opportunity impact their academic program and future job prospects, does the timing fit, can they afford it, and will the destination be a right fit for them.

It is this last consideration that can be a challenge for advisors. The other considerations are mostly external, based on stated preferences, academic majors, curricular and extracurricular activities, and finances. The right fit? That is often a discussion of more internal factors, and one which may require information a student is not willing to provide. These can include physical and emotional health matters and matters of personal identity. These can be difficult topics for advisors regardless of whether you are sending or receiving students. During this LGBT History Month, it is timely for advisors to reflect on the following ways in which they can assist LGBTQ+ students to consider, plan for and experience successful education abroad opportunities.



In June 2017, Natalie Shane joined Terra Dotta as an ISSS Client Support Specialist. Her daily responsibilities include: assisting new and existing ISSS clients with implementations; Administrator Service work; managing support cases; maintaining subject matter expertise on SEVIS regulations, and conducting policy analysis of U.S. immigration regulations and SEVIS reporting. Natalie works from her home office in Michigan.

Before joining Terra Dotta, Natalie worked in international education for nine years as an ARO/DSO at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Natalie earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Marquette University and a Master of Education in Educational Leadership from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Outside of work, Natalie enjoys watching live sporting events, such as baseball in the summer, college football games in the fall, and college basketball games in the winter. She also loves to travel and will not turn down an opportunity to explore a place she’s never been before. Natalie wants to visit every continent, and she only has three left to go: Africa, Antarctica, and South America!

Natalie says her favorite part of working at Terra Dotta is “The people. I love working with people who have international education backgrounds and a passion for the field. Not a day goes by that you won't hear a Dottan say ‘when I was in our clients’ shoes.’ I believe it is rare for a company to have such strong ties to the client experience and it gives us the opportunity to take our solutions in the direction that our clients need and want."

International educators are known to be a collegial group. Need help, ideas, or referrals? International educators are there for you. We frequently see this collegiality in conference sessions where presenters willingly share their knowledge, as well as their tips and best practices. TDU Global, Terra Dotta’s annual user conference is no different. Our client-led sessions are some of our most popular sessions! And they are terrific professional development opportunities.

But the window in which to propose a session for TDU Global 2019 is quickly closing. Session proposals close Monday, October 15. If you would like to present, but are looking for a topic, here are some general ideas:

  • TD as an enterprise solution
  • Case studies
Study Abroad/Agreements
  • Enhancing the applicant experience with the Program Wizard and Program Discovery
  • Employing Process Element Tags
  • Using Custom Email Templates with Query Watches
  • Accepting and onboarding new students and scholars
  • Immigration best practices in TD
  • Using TD for international student and scholar support
Travel Risk
  • Using TD to provide duty of care and to mitigate risk
  • Best practices for increasing compliance

We look forward to reviewing the great proposals so be sure to get yours in. And we look forward to seeing you next April 15-17 in Atlanta for TDU Global 2019. Registration is now open!


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 or reports 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:

Why Is College in America So Expensive?
From The Atlantic

For International Students, Shifting Choices of Where to Study
From Inside Higher Ed

European LGBTQ+ intled taskforce established
From The PIE News

Recalibrating value for money for international students
From The PIE News

Investing globally for knowledge
From China Daily


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