College Life

Eye on the International: NAFSA


As we expand our International Division at CBT Technology Institute, we have been given the opportunity to venture out into new markets while, we explore the wonderful world of the international education industry.

We launched our international campaign in March of this year and at the end of May, we made our way to our first NAFSA (National Association for Foreign Student Advisers) Conference that took place in Vancouver, Canada.

Prior to the event, we were told that we could not miss the NAFSA conference since “it is going to be a primary network of resources.” Truth is, we really had no idea what was awaiting us; but to be frank, we thought we had a pretty good understanding of the international education industry. Later we realized that we were just beginning to know the market, in other words, we just started dating. Just to give you a glimpse on our first NAFSA experience, on the first day we wore suits and high heels (while everyone looked down at our feet thinking, oh they are definitely first-timers). On the second day, we brought sandals and on the third, we wore flats and comfy clothes. The convention center in Vancouver is huge and not to mention beautiful!!!! And NAFSA filled every room, everyday, all day with events and seminars with a myriad of industry professionals. It is truly a world unlike any other.  There are an abundance of resources including, education for the professionals and the networking opportunities are endless. We became aware that at the launch of our division, we only knew a small tip of the iceberg and now we’ve become familiar with just a cinch more.

So what did we find at the conference? There were over 9000 international education professionals that offered a number of resources. There were hundreds of colleges and universities, recruiting companies, health insurance companies,  international marketing and media sources, scholarship resources, exchange student resources, government and immigration officials, and I’m sure I’ve left out a sector, but they came from all over the world for this annual conference and they’ve been doing this for 63 years, and we were…. IMPRESSED!!!!  International education is a huge industry, and with the show of a number of first timers, this industry continues to grow. Needless to say what we learned, and the contacts we made are infinitely invaluable. We are certainly grateful to have an organization like NAFSA!

We’ve only scratched the surface but, we are truly excited to be expanding. As recognition for our college continues to grow, we look forward to meeting all the new international students and seeing all the new things they will bring to this familial institution. We are really proud to say that in just a few months we have gone from being seen in 10 different countries to having reached students from over 138 countries across the globe.  Interestingly enough, while we were at the conference, we secured our first international student from Angola, a couple days later, another from Spain and the following day, another from Venezuela.  So, we’re certainly on the right track and super excited about our growth, but we have a world to go. By the way, we look forward to seeing everyone in Houston, Texas for the next NAFSA conference and then we will almost be veterans, okay….just second timers.

Fernando Larez

Fernando is an entrepreneur, technologist and proud dad. He is an author at the Beat.

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