I just returned from a jam-packed week in Boston and another NAFSA national conference is in the books. Equal parts networking, continuing education, and socializing (yes, parties), this international education conference has ballooned in size. This past week over 11,000 international educators convened from around the world.
You definitely can't do it all, so it's important to know what to expect.
Investing in attendance at a national conference can help you:
My first NAFSA national conference was in Baltimore (2004). It was intimidating at first. No one knew me. There was a sea of thousands who looked like they knew what they were doing. Although NAFSA holds a newcomers reception, my 2-day pre-conference workshop on study abroad advising turned out to be the perfect venue for meeting others in the field. By the end of the week I'd collected dozens of business cards, learned about best practices, and heard about all of the hot topics. I felt energized about my new study abroad career.
Now when I attend NAFSA it is so much more... reconnecting with old friends, pushing myself to explore new areas, going outside of my comfort zone socially, and trying to score hard-to-get reception invites (Ireland, anyone?).