Kevin: International Branch Campus Director
I’m Director of the University of New Haven's Tuscany Campus in Italy. I’ve been with the University of New Haven for four years now, and I opened the branch campus in Prato.
I have been working in the field of international education for over 20 years and the EAIE has helped me grow professionally in all sorts of ways. Being part of the EAIE community allows you to acquire solutions for your daily work. I served as a volunteer for the EAIE Expert Community Mobility Advising for six years and it went by really fast! When I first started, I didn’t know anybody. I just wanted to get involved. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with colleagues from all over the world. Perspectives from colleagues who may have different roles and responsibilities, and different cultures and nationalities, are a great source of original thinking and fresh ideas.
As at many US study abroad institutions, on my campus, there is a huge risk that students will live on a kind of American island, socialising with other American students and reinforcing international preconceptions and prejudices. By staying engaged in the EAIE community, I learned about facilitating their intercultural development, and how to help them benefit from studying in an international environment. We now constantly and consciously expose them to situations where they have to interact with locals: they do voluntary work in local bookstores and charities, they have dinner with local families, and they do extra-curricular activities. It’s about really embedding the campus within the local community, and what I have learned from the EAIE about intercultural competencies and internationalisation has definitely helped us do this better.
As someone who works in a small international office that juggles marketing, curriculum development, student services, and intercultural communication, the fact that there are so many different areas of activities covered within the EAIE has been really useful to me. The atmosphere between members is so good and informal. It is a very friendly, non-competitive, collaborative environment. The community is a safe space to share personal experiences and learn from one another. I highly recommend getting involved.