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How an Academic Advisor became the “Tokyo Guy”

Global Temple Conference

Mon, February 8, 2016
Academic advisors in front of Azabu Hall on TUJs campus

Education Abroad Sends Advisors to Tokyo and Rome

by Zachary Martin

During freshman orientation, we introduce ourselves by giving a fun fact, an icebreaker, like how Ruth, the director of Honors, had a cake delivery service via motorcycle in college. Such amusing trivia allows students to connect with us. This year, my fun fact was that I recently got back from TUJ, Temple’s campus in Tokyo, Japan. Students haven’t stopped asking me about my experience. It worked.

In line with Temple’s support of the professional development of academic advisors, the Office of Education Abroad initiated a program last summer to send advisors to our international campuses, Temple University Rome and Temple University Japan. The idea is that through our firsthand experiences, advisors, like me, can give students important cultural insights that will encourage them to carve out time for study abroad.

Since returning from the advisors’ trip, I have seen a noticeable increase in the number of students interested in studying at TUJ. I have become the “Tokyo Guy” in Honors, helping students understand the things they could experience, from what the campus looks like to what it’s like riding Tokyo’s quiet, spotless public transportation.

Other advisors who travelled to TUJ agree. “Having this experience has enabled me to use my own experience to help students understand the importance of embracing the unfamiliar, learning to connect with people despite language barriers, and respecting social norms on the opposite side of the world,” said College of Liberal Arts Advisor Jocelyn Tutrani Henssler.

According to Leanna Arnold, an academic advisor at the Academic Resource Center, the same holds true for the advisors who traveled to TU Rome. “I always knew that Temple Rome was a great fit for art and business majors, but when I visited we talked to professors, administrators, and students who showed us the countless opportunities they offer for a wide range of students. We spoke to a Criminal Justice major who had an internship with a law firm in Rome and an Education major who was volunteering at a local high school. ”

These interactions between student and advisor make for a more authentic student experience. After our visit, we are excited for students, want to make it happen, and will do anything to help because we know that education abroad is a worthwhile venture.

Zachary Martin is an academic advisor in Temple’s Honors Program.

More about the benefits of the advisors’ trip

To Temple Japan

 “Visiting TUJ illuminated a new type of partnership for me between TUJ and Career Services.  Understanding the complex layers of job searching in Japan, the pride our TUJ colleagues have in their internship program, and the unique Japanese workplace culture is helping me reach more students about the importance of being global citizens. Since I’ve returned, I’ve also been working with TUJ Career Development staff to improve assessments and optimize job posting.”

-Laura Craig, Assistant Director for Internships and Experiential Education, Career Center

“I’d never been to Asia before, so in the past, it was challenging for me to describe what a semester abroad at TUJ might be like. Being afforded the opportunity to travel to Japan this summer and experience everything that Tokyo and TUJ has to offer has allowed me to authentically speak about the opportunities available to my students. When students ask me about Tokyo and TUJ, they see the excitement on my face as I recall my trip and it piques their interest for a destination they may not have previously considered.”

-Lauren Nicholson, Academic Advisor, School of Tourism and Hospitality Management

To Temple Rome

“While the Education Abroad office provides very thorough information to help advisors guide students on these programs, I feel that my firsthand experiences in Rome have helped me to better understand the entire study abroad process. This has enabled me to have more meaningful, in-depth, and genuine conversations with my students interested in studying abroad and specifically at Temple Rome.”

-Angela Ondik, Academic  Advisor, College of Science and Technology

“After meeting the professors and staff at Temple Rome and learning about the program in depth, I am able to confidently relay the support students have while in Rome and ease any nerves students may have about spending a semester in foreign country. I am also able to describe the campus and my Rome experience to students. As I do so, students become more enthusiastic about the program and want to go to Rome themselves.”

-Dina Maslennikova, Academic  Advisor, College of Liberal Arts

“Before I visited Temple Rome, I had no clue they offered so many internship and volunteer opportunities. The internships are open to a wide variety of majors and they really encourage students to think outside the box. The most unique opportunity students have access to is volunteering at local schools and community centers to connect with people who want to learn English. These personal connections and the relationships that are formed in these settings are so valuable and really help ground the student experience of studying abroad and broadening cultural horizons.”

-Leanna Arnold, Academic Advisor, Academic Resource Center

This article will appear in International Insight, a publication produced by the Office of International Affairs, later this spring.