Are you going to OACAC?

By Kelly Braun
Int'l School of Sacred Heart, Tokyo 

That’s a wrap! With some of us nearing or finishing our academic year, we head back to our home countries, take our valued holidays, reflect on the last year, and most importantly...attend this year’s OACAC conference. OACAC is a highlight of my year, it’s a great way to finish up the last academic year and kick off a new one. I always take away incredible ideas from the presenters, inevitably meet someone new every time I turn around, and see people I consider good friends who live at least 3,000 miles away. The question at this time of year amongst our kind is not “what are you doing this summer?” but instead “are you going to OACAC?”. People are bummed if you can’t go this year, but the promise of attendance in future years makes everyone feel a bit better.

This year I am especially excited, as a born and bred Pacific Northwesterner, I am thrilled I won’t have to travel to the other coast, instead we will be enjoying what my beautiful home state of Oregon has to offer. It’s the land of trees that are hundreds of years old, local microbrews, fantastic wine, Ducks vs. Beavers, delicious Voodoo doughnuts, and boutique coffee shops on just about every corner. This year’s conference will no doubt be another great one, Eugene here we come! #OACAC2015 

As all of us pack carefully weighed roller bags for yet another trip and conference, I asked the OACAC Facebook community to share their collective wisdom by finishing this sentence:

You know you are an international [university or admission] counselor when...

“...your whole summer itinerary is centered around the OACAC conference. Sorry, family.” Bridget H

“ bring your laptop on vacation with you and constantly refresh on the day the IB scores are released.” Jaimeson L

“ talk to a “stranger” at a university fair and find out that they are best friends with your friends. Our international world is so wonderfully small!” Anna B

“...upon returning to your current country from a trip to the US you feel like a failure if you haven’t used up your entire luggage allotment (and carry around a portable luggage scale).” Kathleen S

“...your students ask you if you know the admissions officer at a certain university and you refrain from telling the students that you know that person’s kids’ names, their favourite drink, and where their family just went on holiday, because you see that person more often than you see members of your own family.” Anna W W

“ forget if your grade school teachers taught you to spell ‘counsellor’ with one “L” or two “L”s” Antonio B

“...your first two questions to students are: “What countries are you thinking of applying to?” and “How many passports do you have?” Andy M

“...coordinating over 12 time zones seems normal.” Ryan H

“ think nothing of taking a vehicle with no visible safety features in a foreign country to get back to your hotel. It’s just another day in the office.” Kathleen C

“ are more likely to hang out with your friends in Shanghai than your family in your hometown in any month of the year.” Jen M

“...being surrounded by people speaking English seems weird.” Marie W

“ have an informed opinion on the best airlines, best planes, and best airports.” Shaun M

“...your student who was accepted to an Ivy brings you the bumper sticker they sent him and asks you what he’s suppose to do with it and what it is.” Amy G

“...the bane of your existence is keeping track of cash advances, ATM withdrawals, conversion rates, and receipts in almost every language, dialect, and font (when there is any at all!).” Jorge D


So... another year gone, another fall on it’s way. But first, I can’t wait for the OACAC conference. I have my five boxes of business cards packed (is that even enough? #OACACproblems), my designated notebook, and Silent Auction/Raffle donation. I am ready for the endless laughter, dodgeball, reunions, new people, presentations, and yes--even membership meetings. Most of all, I am looking forward to the wisdom and community you can’t escape while at this conference. I can’t wait to meet you there!

If you are a I’ll-be-going-next-year-er, please make sure to connect with OACAC through:



Twitter:  @OACACcom


Don’t forget to check out the Top 10 List: How to get most out of the OACAC Conference? First time at the OACAC conference? Check out 10 Things for first time OACACers

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