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Keeping Up With TBC: Spring Conferences

If you ever wonder what staff at TBC are up to when it’s summer break and there’s no students, the answer is easy – talk about our students! These past two weeks I had the opportunity to talk about our Virtual Internship Program with an audience of international educators at NAFSA’s conference and with our fellows in the Jesuit community at a conference hosted by Universidad Iberoamericana and the AUSJAL (Association of Universities Entrusted to the Society of Jesus in Latin America).  

Nothing says talking about a virtual program than doing it virtually, but I wish I would have been able to travel to these conferences. Of course, health and safety are very important, but TBC has had several alumni from the Colorado area in the USA and Mexico in Latin America that I would love to see again.  

Throwback to the Fall 2019 students!

For the AUSJAL conference, which was on May 25, the topic was The Future of Internationalization. TBC fits perfectly in that category! We’ve always had to adapt and change to improve education as the world gets more and more globalized, even before the pandemic.  

After a really interesting roundtable on communication technologies and telecollaboration with educators from Venezuela, Mexico, Ecuador, and the US, I gave a presentation on TBC’s Virtual Internship Program and why it still matters. In fact, as some parts of the world return to ‘normal,’ TBC and I argue that virtual opportunities are more important than ever to bring underrepresented and underprivileged students and their unique knowledge to the table.  

One thing I really liked was that AJUSJAL conference provided a great opportunity for virtual exchange on the topic of the future of technology in communication and gathered experts from all over the world.  

Two other TBC staff, Queenie and Sylvia, joined in the conference as well. Both of them shared with me that she really thought the keynote speech by Dr. Francisco Marmolejo was quite inspiring, applicable to all people, not just educators. Dr. Marmolejo spoke on UNESCO goals such as inclusion, equity, creativity, integrity, sustainability, and academic cooperation, urging conference participants to reframe international education as something we can plan for, not just adapt to. Queenie found the community and reconnecting with fellow programs a highlight as well. Sylvia noted that one of the last presentations, on education for social development at a high school in Japan, really impacted her because of how their programming makes a real difference in how students think about social responsibility and social inclusion. TBC already works with many local Beijing charities and volunteer networks, but who knows – maybe soon we will expand this even further and take it to a whole new level. 

The NAFSA conference was on June 1, and I was really impressed by the amount of knowledge and diversity of virtual programs my fellow presenters shared. I spoke alongside Loyola Marymount University, IAU College, and Absolute Internship representatives on the global programming we offered during the pandemic and still to this day. In fact, we extended the deadline for our Summer 2022 VIP, so if you’re interested, you have until June 15 to apply on our website! 

It was very interesting to participate in the presentation preparations because our team delivered a similar presentation about virtual education during IC3 conference in August 2021. Gathering together almost a year after IC3, we had a unique opportunity to track our progress and reflect on the prospects we had last year. The biggest difference is that this year the presentation actually happened in person in Denver for most of our team, but I still had a chance to join them virtually.

Talking about our Virtual Internship Program and hearing from others in similar situations to TBC made me think about the importance of technology, flexibility and adaptability in post-pandemic international education. If you are curious and want to learn more, feel free to reach out! 

 By Veronika Kotova, Project Assistant at TBC