Alaska’s First Northwest Returnee Conference (NWRC)
By Marsha Squires, Coordinator, Academic Exchange and Study Abroad.
With financial support from statewide and all three MAUs, 52 individuals participated in the first NWRC on Feb. 9, 2013 on the Juneau campus. The mission of the conference is to strive to cultivate and support the growth of global citizenship by encouraging participants to reflect upon and understand their recently acquired international experience. The conference provided re-entry support, networking opportunities, skill building workshops, and professional development training.
Workshops included discussions and activities surrounding reverse culture shock, meaningful articulation, travel writing, internationalizing a resume, and obtaining strategies to work and volunteer abroad after graduation. Throughout the day returnees learned to identify and articulate the skills gained and noted how their international experience has enriched and can foster their future careers, educational endeavors, and community involvement. Simultaneously, a modified version of several sessions was offered to 12 American Field Service (AFS) students to prepare them for their return home.
Fifteen UAS study abroad returnees participated in the event. Ellie Sica, a former UAS graduate and study abroad returnee (Italy and Cuba) stated that “the Alaska NWRC was very stimulating and helpful. The conference taught me important skills in order to deal with reverse culture shock, and cross-cultural communications as well as resume-building and interview-strengthening skills. I am so thankful that the UA system and the NWRC Alaska committee provided us with such a wonderful professional conference.”
The event was organized through the UAS Academic Exchange and Study Abroad office with support from colleagues in the study abroad offices at UAA and UAF, and the NWRC Portland committee.
Attendees at Alaska's First Northwest Returnee Conference ham it up for the camera. Glacier View Room, February 9. 2013