Getting Involved - Thoughts & Tips on 2020 Elections

Getting Involved - Thoughts and Tips on the 2020 Elections

By: Aaron Andersen
Past President & Chair of Governance Nominating Committee
Director, International Recruitment, University of British Columbia 


My daughter is twelve, in grade seven, which here in Canada, is the last year before she heads to high school.  Last week, as our family was going through the regular hectic morning activities – making lunches, last minute homework, finding socks, and eating cereal she thrust a scrunched up paper into my hand and said “Sign this, Dad … Please.” 

Read More

President’s Corner: The Gift of Our Time


President’s Corner: The Gift of Our Time


Hello from California,

After an early season of reading and committees on applications, I find myself appreciating the gift of time—time to read for pleasure, catch up on Netflix shows, exercise, or gather with friends. As I try to reaffirm self-care, a significant part of my energy comes from giving back. The various volunteer roles in which I have served International ACAC community have been a way I enjoy spending my time. It has deepened friendships, strengthened skills, and honed my understanding of our ever-evolving profession. I give my time now as President, as many members have given their time to me over the years, and it feels rewarding to build upon the legacy.

Our organization is strong and supportive because of the many members who volunteer. The season of submitting a conference session proposal or chat, joining a conference committee, or applying for a committee or for the Executive Board is upon us. I recognize these are more formal ways to get involved, and perhaps you are one of our many members who stays involved through our Facebook group or encouraging others to submit a session or apply for a leadership role. 

Read More

Member Spotlight: Sarah Loring de Garcia

Member Spotlight: Sarah Loring de Garcia, GEM Award Winner

Name: Sarah Loring de Garcia

Title: Independent Educational Consultant (but hopefully soon I’ll be a Certified Educational Planner… just waiting for my exam results!)

What drew you to the world of international admissions?
I moved to Mexico in 2002 as a science teacher at the American School Foundation of Monterrey, and met my dear friend Monna McDiarmid (currently at UWC ISAK Japan) who later became my roommate. She was the College Counselor, and I remember thinking that her job looked so interesting! When she left ASFM, I applied for the position and was hired in 2006. I did all six courses of the UCLA College Counseling Certificate program in seven months, and did my practicum on the job. It was a huge change, but I’ve never looked back. I love this work. 

Read More

Advocacy Meeting 2020



Advocacy Meeting 2020

NACAC Volunteers visit Capitol Hill

In my new role as Vice President of Advocacy and Outreach for International ACAC, I am thrilled to participate in the NACAC Advocacy Meeting 2020 held on March 8-9, 2020 in Washington, DC.  We are living through some incredibly turbulent times in global politics, and therefore the opportunity to voice our perspectives with members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate has never been more valuable.  As International ACAC members, we can educate US lawmakers about the importance of international students to our educational environment – essential to the experience of higher education in the U.S.


The Advocacy Day program offers International ACAC members the opportunity to network with representatives from NACAC affiliates around the U.S. during the educational sessions held on Sunday, March 8.  International ACAC will provide resources to measure the economic impact of international students on a local level, and organize meetings with individual offices to speak directly to the impact of international students.  Additionally, members will receive training for their meetings with Senators’ and Representatives’ offices during these sessions. The meetings will take place on Monday, March 9, and participants will have direct interactions with representatives from congressional offices to advocate on behalf of international students.

Read More

Apply for 2019 Opportunity Grants

2019 Opportunity Grants


Do you have an idea you wish you could execute but you don't have the funding? 

Consider applying for an Opportunity Grant from International ACAC! Grants are available up to $3,000 USD to support projects, programs, or proposals that bring resources or professional development to students, families, teachers and counselors around the world when perhaps they would not otherwise have access. 


Read More

2017 Scholar Story from Mabadjam Katawa

How the International ACAC Scholar Program Influenced My Life
and Facilitated Opportunities for Togolese Highly Talented Students


As a high school English teacher in northern Togo, my main job has been to teach the English as a second language to Francophone high school students. My journey to counseling and career guidance began when I started looking for ways to bring my support to highly talented, low-income students who often end up dropping out or sometimes attending universities not up to their caliber because of the lack of financial support. I have personally experienced how hard it is to access higher education. I had to stop my studies from time to time to work and get money before going back to campus. And after finally completing my Bachelor’s degree in English with a focus on African literature, I wanted to continue for Master’s and doctoral studies, but was quickly impeded by the lack of financial resources. The little money I could make from my hard work outside school, which I used to pay my school fees and university tuition, could no longer cover all the other expenses (books, room rental, mobile phone airtime and data, etc.). 

I became an English language teacher because I wanted people in my community to learn the English language and be exposed to many opportunities around the world. After I had become a teacher, I looked for ways to help the highly talented students access higher education. I started looking for opportunities online. It took me lots of time and money to buy internet connectivity every day. At first, I had no idea about how the university application processes worked outside of Togo, nor about the different requirements for accessing universities in the USA, UK, Canada, etc. I did not know how to write a strong letter of recommendation or how to guide my students when it comes to writing a good application essay. Google was my teacher and trainer. I downloaded and read sample recommendation letters and sample application essays, I read about the processes and tried to write my own essays, and then coached my students. 

Read More

NACAC - What’s Happening ? Questions and Answers.

NACAC - What’s Happening ?  Questions and Answers.

At the National NACAC Conference at the end of the month several major issues are at  play that will impact the National Association - and has the potential to alter the Admission landscape.  The following is a break down of the issues as outlined by Past President and Chief Delegate to the NACAC National Conference, Aaron Andersen.



Read More

Member Spotlight: Claire Wilkins


Member Spotlight 

Claire Wilkins
Director of International Admissions
Temple University

What drew you to the world of international admissions?
Serendipity and a desire to prevent others from experiencing what I experienced. I was a third culture kid and an international student who went to three high schools in three cities across two countries. From a Canadian curriculum to an IB curriculum (in two separate countries) to university in Wales, Canada and England, my educational path was riddled with obstacles, changes and people who didn't understand who I was, where I was from and what I'd studied. I, like many others, fell into admissions after other careers as I was always drawn to education and the chance to be able to be someone who could help international students like myself overcome those obstacles, prepare for those changes and be understood was something I couldn't pass up. 

What is your favorite part of the job?
Seeing the light turn on for a student once they realise their potential and their own agency in the process. 

Read More

Diversity Initiative Update


As many of us begin our academic year (or prepare for summer break depending on your hemisphere!), it seems like a long time ago that we were gathered on the campus of Western University in London, Ontario Canada, learning and growing as an international family. One of the moments where you saw candor and honest conversation was during the diversity and inclusion workshops conducted by trainers from the Council of International Schools (CIS). Part of a larger Diversity Initiative undertaken by International ACAC, these workshops aimed to push the conversation of equity and inclusion to the forefront by having members reflect on their own held biases and speak candidly about how these affect members.

It’s clear that these conversations around equity and inclusion cannot be concluded in one simple workshop. Indeed, a sequence of three workshops were held during the summer Conference - for the Executive Board, Pre-Conference attendees, and for Committee members and the general membership.  They were not always easy conversations - they never are. But they are important to have and the leadership at International ACAC sees this need.

So what’s the next step for these necessary conversations?  As we are all in various parts of the globe, our work will move on-line. International ACAC will be offering Global Diversity and Inclusion webinar training sessions developed from the sessions given at the July Summer Conference in London, Ontario to over 350 International ACAC members!  Three webinars will be offered at varied times to honor global time zones between October 28 and November 3.  Committee members of International ACAC are required to engage in our Association's diversity training within the first two years of their term by attending the workshop offered in conjunction with the summer conference or participating in the above mentioned webinar event. There is no cost for this training, and members will find it also applies to the workplace and personal situations of International ACAC members. The trainers, Eeqbal Hassim, a consultant in intercultural and international education and Inventory (IDI) Qualified Administrator, and Chris Green and Ann Straub, International Advisors and IDI Qualified Administrators from the Council International Schools, will be facilitating the two-hour webinar sessions. The sessions will be highly interactive using individual, small group and whole group constructivist activities to build understanding about Intercultural Competency, the Stereotype Wheel, the Culture Cycle and how this all relates to ourselves and International ACAC.  Soon, times and dates in October and May will be announced inviting International ACAC members to join a free webinar training session that suits their schedule.  Stay tuned!

Read More

Survey Results are In!



Survey Results are In! A Look at the Member Survey

In late April International ACAC polled its members to help advise the executive board on crucial challenges facing our organization.  An analysis of the three major questions we posed is provided below.

Read More

President’s Corner: Reflection, Discourse, and Disruption

President’s Corner:  Reflection, Discourse, and Disruption
September, 2019

Hello from Silicon Valley, 

Tonight while I write, I cannot help but think about the daily fast pace, innovation, and distribution that surrounds me here in Santa Clara, California. As we often work as an institution to remind our students and one another to slow down, let go, love, and to see beauty in all, I am using my own advice to tackle the year ahead. 

As a new travel season for many admission officers has begun with typhoons, hurricanes, protesters, traffic jams, missed appointments, and middle seats, we must remember self-care and safety. I can attest that the beauty in this time of year are the hugs hello or meals shared between members across the world as travels, high school visits, and fairs bring us together. Counselors have been greeted with increased anxiety around the college admission process, ongoing testing challenges, changes in school schedules or course offerings, and learning new software platforms for their daily work in supporting students. The information shared during visits and fairs, the Facebook group’s activity, and Webinar Wednesdays strengthens our membership’s professional development support for one another. It is our relationships that offer calm and purpose during this hectic time. 

Read More


Last May, International ACAC members nominated colleagues for the three awards that annually honor leaders in our field. These include the Distinguished Service Award, the Rising Star Award, and the Peter Hauet Lifetime Achievement Award. This year the awards went to three inspiring individuals who have made significant contributions to International ACAC over the years.

Sam Jeong from UWC Changshu, China was selected for the International ACAC Rising Star Award. Sam was recognized for his work with the International ACAC Scholar Cohort and his innovative idea to have students nominate their counselors as scholars. He writes, "Thanks to International ACAC for this tremendous honor! I am still reeling. The idea to have students nominate their former counselors for the International ACAC Scholars program came to me after a particularly intense conversation with a student. She told me that the only reason she was studying in China was because her former teacher—not counselor— back in her home country had pushed her to believe in herself.  As someone who grew up in the public school system in South Korea and Seattle, I realize that the vast majority of secondary schools in the world do not have a college counseling program.

I would go as far as to argue that the profession was created to serve the already privileged and savvy children of highly educated parents with the means to send their kids to an expensive private institution. So, in a way, serving on the Inclusion, Access, and Success committee has been an avenue for me to push back against the system and also to recognize and celebrate the educators working with high-achieving, low-income students who often volunteer to be college counselors on top of their regular professions. The 2019 International ACAC Scholars, who I had the privilege of meeting and befriending as a part of the orientation team, are humble, curious, kind, selfless, and above all, deeply committed to the success of each student they serve. They are a force to be reckoned with.  

Read More

Scholar Program 2019

Scholar Program 2019

By: Kate Dobson, Assistant Director of International Admissions, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis; Joe Tavares, High School Counselor, Jakarta Intercultural School

As an International ACAC member, you’ve surely heard about the Scholar Program. Now in its sixth year, it fully funds professional development for counselors who work with high-achieving, low-income students in under-resourced schools or community organizations around the world.

Each year’s cohort of Scholars are selected through a competitive nomination, application, and review process.  They attend the annual International ACAC conference and post-conference bus tour, and are paired with mentors who will support them for a year.

Read More

First Nations

First Nations

Indigenous Peoples is a collective term to reference the Original Peoples of Turtle Island (also known as North America).

In Canada, there are many different Indigenous Peoples (or Nations) with distinct territories, languages, histories, ways of knowing and spiritual beliefs who have survived ongoing settler colonial governments’ attempts to eradicate, assimilate and dispossess them of their lands for over hundreds of years.

Read More

8 Amazing Activities on Western's Campus!

8 Amazing Activities on Western's Campus!

Want to know what the students of Western University are up too during the year?  Western University has one of the most beautiful campuses in Canada and is home to some of the most eventful Western Mustang activities. Check out these amazing activities and food spots on campus during your stay at the Conference this Summer to see how it feels to be a Western Mustang!


  1. Bagels at the Spoke

    The Spoke is one of the most popular restaurants and cafes on campus. Situated within the University Community Centre (UCC), the Spoke offers the infamous ‘Spoke Bagels’ which melt in your mouth every single time. One cannot go wrong while choosing a bagel since they have many different options spanning from the ‘cheddar herb bagel’ with ‘herb and garlic cream cheese’ or the ‘BLT’ on a ‘jalapeno cheddar bagel’. The students love picking one up early in the morning before class or for their lunch time break. They even made personality types with your favourite bagel. Read more about it here on the Western Gazette:

    Don’t forget to stop at the Spoke to grab your personalized bagel during the conference!


Read More

Diversity Initiative to Launch at Summer Conference

Differences challenge assumptions.

- Anne Wilson Schaef

How can I identify my deep-seated assumptions and unconscious biases?  Do I have the tools to understand my relationship to my culture? Can I make sense of how I relate to people of other cultures?  How do I gauge my intercultural competence and enhance it? How can I grow in my ability to engage with diversity I encounter in my life, my workplace, and within our professional association?  How can we work towards recognizing and celebrating diversity within International ACAC and how can we make ours a truly inclusive organization?

Read More

President's Corner: Finding Words to Live By

President’s Corner:  Finding Words to Live By

by Aaron Andersen, International ACAC President
June, 2019

As we close out another academic year in much of the world, and many of us are preparing for a restful break - - and the start of our annual conference - - this is always a good time to reflect upon the past year of our Association.

Immediately I’m drawn to recall the list of highlights shared by our executive board members, in our final bi-monthly meeting last week.  To me, a fan of ‘All Things Listed’, I mentally drew up a 2018-19 Top Five for International ACAC list in my mind:

1) Regional Institutes in India and Eastern Europe – hosting successful PD events in two vibrant and engaging countries.  India and Bulgaria both represent critical important sectors of international education.

Read More

11 Activities and Restaurants to visit in London Ontario

11 Activities and Restaurants to Visit in London, Ontario

  1. Covent Garden Market
  • The market is comprised of an indoor and outdoor market with locally grown food from farmers within the area. The outdoor market takes place every Saturday from 8:00am – 1:00pm. Open since 1845, the Covent Garden Market has many unique shops and over 20 restaurants.
  • Check out more information on their website
  • 30 King Street



  1. Rock the Park
  • Rock the Park is an annual music concert held at Harris Park in London, Ontario from July 10th to 13th. Come out and listen to live music from pop, rap and country music.
  • Check out more information about the event at


Read More


Conference Networking Tips


"Best part of the conference - - oh the NETWORKING!"  This is often a common refrain by conference attendees, not just International ACAC's annual event, but most professionals will often claim the No.1 aspect of a given proffesional development event is the chance to meet and share with colleagues.  Now the benefits of networking are not disputed, however it is the act of networking that often is taken for granted.  In fact just as many people likely will say how exhausting a conference is because of all the networking.  If the very thought of talking and puting yourself out there is making you sweat, here are a few helpful tips to get you prepared for the next International ACAC conference.

1. Do Your Homework

Read More


Social Media Tips For Your Next Conference

The Case for Social Media

By Kelley Ferrante  &  Aaron Andersen
National ACAC            University of British Columbia

The world we live in is drastically influenced by social media. Social media for business and at conferences is no different. Here are some tips to encourage the use of social media at #IntlACAC19 !

Read More