You might have read Radhika’s article back in April 2014 about four Clark students, one alumni and two staff members that attended NAFSA’s Advocacy Day conference in Washington, D.C. If you did, you’d know that the students learned valuable lessons in advocating for something they truly care about and directly relate to (immigration reform and the Paul Simon Study Abroad Act) to their representatives on Capitol Hill. If you didn’t already read the article, I suggest you check it out for a more detailed explanation of the experience!
I had the pleasure of being one of those students to attend Advocacy Day, where I advocated for the Paul Simon Study Abroad Act. My study abroad experience in South Africa was so meaningful and I wanted our representatives to understand that we need to prioritize and support study abroad for more American students in order to make us a more globally conscious country. Our advocating didn’t stop in D.C.—when we came home, we presented on our experience at Clark University and then visited Congressman Jim McGovern at his office in Worcester. Then just two weeks ago, we presented once again, this time in Albany, NY at the NAFSA Regions X & XI conference.
At the Regions X & XI conference this October, Oscar Zapata, Eliana Hadjiandreou and I joined Patty Doherty, Constance Whitehead Hanks and a panel of NAFSA members from the two regions to give a presentation about Advocacy Day 2014. As students, we brought a unique perspective and shared our thoughts on why it’s important to make students a part of Advocacy Day. There weren’t too many NAFSA members that brought students along with them in D.C., but the many departments and offices at Clark were supportive enough to fund a few students (including myself) to attend with NAFSA member Patty Doherty and Constance Whitehead Hanks. The experience was so great for all of us students as we gained valuable skills, advocated for issues that matter to us, and had the opportunity to interact with some incredible people. We talked about this during our presentation, emphasizing that bringing students to Advocacy Day is a great learning opportunity for them and encouraging other NAFSA members to take the challenge to bring students with them also. The presentation was a great success and the audience seemed to be really interested in what we had to say about the skills we learned, how attending Advocacy Day can help a student’s career, and how advocacy is important for both domestic and international students.
But this wasn’t the only great presentation by Clarkies at the Regions X & XI conference… The next session featured an informative presentation by Amy Daly Gardner, Michino Hisabayashi, and Farrah Weannara on Supporting Your Third Culture Kids/Global Nomads. They talked about their unique Third Culture Kid (TCK) student conference at Clark where TCKs can come together and share their experience while professional staff learn more about the challenges that some of those students experience. This group of Clarkies really got the audience intrigued and engaged in conversation as part of their presentation. Attendees in the room discussed what it means to be a TCK, the benefits and challenges, and how to support those students in their own colleges and universities. I hope this conversation can continue on our campus and on many others across the US! For more information about TCKs and this year’s conference, visit the International Students and Scholars Office on Clark’s website: http://www.clarku.edu/offices/oia/tck/index.cfm
An excerpt from the TCK page:
Have you ever had a situation when you’re asked “WHERE ARE YOU FROM” and it is actually quite difficult to say a one-word answer? Well, you’re not alone. Clark University is home to a vibrant community of Third Culture Kids and Global Nomads!
A Global Nomad or Third Culture Kid (TCK) is:
A person of any age or nationality who has lived a significant part of his/her developmental years in one or more countries outside his/her passport country because of a parent’s occupation. Children raised as global nomads can be the offspring of diplomatic, international business, government agency, international agency, missionary, or military personnel, or indeed of people living internationally mobile lives for any professional reason. Typically, global nomads share a unique cultural heritage.
The International Students and Scholars Office offers support services for Clark’s TCK community. Every year we have a TCK Student Coordinator who holds regular meetings and social activities with TCKs. We also have hosted the first ever TCK Conference at Clark in March 2013 and are in the process of planning our third annual conference on February 21, 2015.