“Each man is a diplomat for his people.”
Diversity brings a lot of cache to a city, country or enterprise. I worked as an Administrative Assistant to Dean of Multicultural and International Affairs at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. I was in the position at Sarah Lawrence College confronted with a variety of issues that students from diverse backgrounds face. It was challenging to make sure that all of their needs were met, that they were welcomed and made friends. Diversity for me is always an asset. I am personally a woman who was born in Michigan from a Ghanaian father and American mother. I have traveled as much as possible. It’s fantastic when cities plug into the world and form sister cities and nations befriend. It means something every relationship that is formed.
By: Afua Serwah Osei-Bonsu
Area of Experience: International Students and Visitors
Name a Process or Activity in that Field: Emergencies including financial, housing, loneliness, paperwork, navigation of international social systems to find work, finding and paying for health problems while overseas, providing a kind of concierge and welcome, making calls and writing letters on behalf of internationals to open doors for them in their new host country
Title: The Great Welcome
Orientation of Internationals to a host country or university represents a wonderful opportunity for exchange and national growth. Internationals are faced with unique problems, bewilderment and excitement as they traverse their new land. It is up to hosts to prepare on many levels to host an international visitor who may even one day become a citizen. A host may need training in preparing specific cultural or local dishes, how to sing or play music, special historical knowledge, will need to plan dinners, events, outings, will need to be an example and make gifts. Every encounter with an international community requires one to engage in diplomacy.
Communication Moment #1 “I’m Lonely”
While working with international guests, who arrived to the college where I previously worked, meant providing opportunities for them to meet and make friends in clubs and groups, enrichment activities such as round tables or lectures and providing an internationals concierge where students are guided to interesting locals and diplomatically shown a good time. Students can be hosted for dinners and introduced to local art, culinary, and adventure. It’s important to make sure students have friends, a good time and happy memories of their time in your country. It is imperative to make introductions for friendship and to initiate your own introduction.
Communication Moment #2 “I am short on Tuition”
Traveling and studying overseas is very often extremely costly. People often arrive with few belongings and maybe even a few suitcases. Many parents have a hard time fronting costs in metropolitan cities where even exchange rates may impact a visitor. One may accept a personal challenge to call around or search online, write emails and letters on behalf of a student. Getting an education can be a small but potent campaign to ensure that a student graduates or a visitor meets their necessities. One may have to make international calls to governmental organizations on behalf of a student or to school Presidents to ask for endowment funds when few scholarships may exist. Internationals are a cosmopolitan force for a University or city and represent value. The more diversified a country is or schools population the more value or charm it may possess. Many great cities built cache around attracting internationals.
The Particular Tribe
The Particular Tribe that often engages with this brand of diplomatic activity are often found in Consulates, Diplomatic Offices, Offices of Multicultural and International Affairs at Colleges, International Institutes, United Nations, Embassies, Ambassadors, Leaders, Presidents of Countries or Universities, Governors, Mayors, Host Families, Friends of Internationals and travelers, Tour Guides, Visitors Offices, hospitality locations including lodging, Tourism, Universities, Admissions Offices, Events and Attractions, airlines, all those who guide, direct, and welcome. This tribe may deal with starting points, transportation, itinerary, relations, language, wonders, beauty or distinction. Many travel to experience a variety of cultures which in turn impacts the visitors culturally based personality which may be extended.
The unique problem of Internationals is how they come to know people in new places and how they plug in and have a real life experience and a loving experience. Some travelers may arrive with a few phone numbers from their circle of friends. Social Media now provides a range of international connections, but people still need hospitality and to build trust and familiarity.
Based on “cultural intrigue” a traveler may end up a guest in a home or with an invitation for dinner or outing. What could be nice for internationals could be a better way of host or invitation. There are many details that could be compiled to make a guests experience well informed, richer, adventurous or unique. Perhaps a good Social Media could be one that charted a unique course via a database for a visitor. Wouldn’t it be interesting if while traveling to collect cook books or books in a language or textiles or go on culinary tours or to vintage stores? Some may find it compelling to engage in studying while traveling to ensure they make lasting relationships. While still others may compile historical data and blow up some dot for research while a guest in a country.
Orientation may even be a counter terrorism vehicle in the future that is a unique opportunity for diplomacy and fostering friendships between countries. Many international travelers and guests face a variety of obstacles they must surmount in order to achieve their precious memories. Particular tribes and citizens can be trained to offer a warm welcome and host international guests who may in turn welcome visitors to their countries. Cultural Design and Cultural Branding often impact a nation’s prosperity and popularity in the world. Many people travel and study abroad to enhance their personality and extend their cultural repertoire. Culture could be broken down into a specific system, in fact. Perhaps in the future university offices of admissions may be key locations where diplomats hone their skills.