From international security to global education, International Study Programs is more diverse than simply sending BYU students to foreign countries across the globe. Encouraged to be involved with professional organizations, Lynn Elliott, ISP director as well as ISP coordinators Landes Holbrook and Aaron Rose all participate with NAFSA: Association of International Educators at state, regional, and national levels. Through their involvement with NAFSA, BYU has an increased ability to make a difference in the world of international education and has gained an international reputation for their academic programs abroad for students, offering traditional study abroad, international internships, field studies, or direct enrollment at foreign universities.
NAFSA is the largest American organization for international educators, and international education involves a huge spectrum of professions. With over ten thousand members, NAFSA is a major player as international education issues are lobbied. “Once you have that many people pushing an agenda, organizations and foreign governments tend to listen,” said Elliott. NAFSA’s reach covers far more than education abroad. “It’s not just education abroad. It’s immigration policies, visa issues, health and safety standards and other issues that come with education abroad,” said Holbrook, a member of the national leadership for NAFSA.
Personal benefits that come with NAFSA participation are professional development and the experience that develops over time. All NAFSA leaders are volunteers, and hardly anyone is a specialist at first. Individuals are called to committees based on unique skill sets and backgrounds, and they can eventually become trainers for NAFSA conferences and workshops. Holbrook has served on the Health and Safety committee for three years, with his main assignment being a trainer, and he has been recognized by NAFSA as an expert on issues of health and safety for study abroad students. He speaks at both regional and national conferences to help spread awareness about health, safety, and security issues.