Saint Mary’s Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL) hosted a welcome back event Tuesday with the aim of helping study abroad students readjust to life back home. At the event, CWIL staff members discussed the readjustment phase that most study abroad returnees face, and they offered suggestions as to how the process could run more smoothly. “Keep in touch with your friends in your host country,” Alice Siqin Yang, assistant director of Global Education, said. “In addition, join clubs that will help you continue your cultural learning experience.” Yang discussed many other suggestions, and Maureen Baska, a representative from the Career Crossings Office, discussed ways to market the study abroad experience to potential employers. “Your abroad experience shows you have acquired certain skills such as independence, maturity, intellectual and cultural curiosity and adaptability that will stand out to potential employers,” Baska said. “Also, study abroad helps some students develop language skills that are useful.” In addition to the readjustment concerns and business benefits of study abroad, the event also stressed the student view of study abroad. Participants were encouraged to share their stories and their readjustment struggles. Abby Altman, a Saint Mary’s junior who studied in Austria, discussed the United States customs she had forgotten. “In Austria, it was normal to pay for using a public restroom. Then, when I was back in the United States, I remember being in the airport and seeing water fountains out in the open and thinking, ‘Bathrooms are free!’” Other students shared stories of growth and realization. One student mentioned an experience in China where she discussed the meaning of love in American culture and another shared her learning experience of having her credit card stolen in Rome. No matter the circumstance, all the girls said they learned and grew from their experiences. However, they still realize the troubles of re-adjusting. Maggie LeMay, a junior returnee from Rome said returning is almost like going to college for the first time all over again. “I feel like I’ve had a third freshman year; things have changed,” LeMay said. Saint Mary’s senior and returnee from South Africa, Karolyn Wojtowicz said although readjusting is hard, it is still easy to see the benefits of studying in a different country. “I was the only one of my circle of friends who studied abroad. Even though I spent nine months away from my Saint Mary’s friends, it was still nice to see that we all still get together after study abroad.” Wojtowicz also said how she had changed. “Study abroad does make you more independent,” Wojtowicz said. “I would highly suggest it to anyone contemplating a study abroad program. You create your own world and gain an idea of life outside of Saint Mary’s. If I can survive South Africa, I can survive any city.” Numerous study abroad programs were represented at the event, including programs located in China, Rome, Ireland, South Africa and Austria.
It happens to every credit union leader.A situation comes up, and a decision has to be made. Half of your team wants to go one way; the other half wants to go another way. There are good arguments to be made for each side. The cases are presented, and then…Everyone looks at you.Because you alone are the leader.I mean that quite literally. You — alone — are the leader. At the moment of decision, you are alone. There may be people around you, but the ball is in your hands. And, just like a basketball player on the free throw line, what happens next is entirely up to you, while everyone else watches.And that’s the pressure of leadership.It’s the pressure of having to make a decision, sometimes without knowing for sure whether it’s the right decision.It’s the pressure of knowing that the results, good or bad, will have your fingerprints on them.It’s the pressure of knowing that, no matter which decision you make, half of your team is going to disapprove. In some cases, vehemently disapprove.Which is why credit union leadership is no place for wimps. Credit union leadership requires confidence, a thick skin, and boldness.That said, we all (well, most of us) want to be liked. We want to be accepted. Most of us want to make people happy.So what do you do when you know that, no matter what decision you make, half of your people are going to be unhappy? How do you survive that?Two words: 1) Integrity. 2) Trust.I numbered them for a reason. Because integrity comes first. Trust is a function of integrity. Not coincidentally, integrity and trust are the foundations of all great credit unions — including yours.Integrity means that you have a strong set of moral values, that these values are in alignment with the values of the team and organization, and that you always strive to be true to those values. It means you try to serve the greater good before you serve yourself. (Ideally, of course, serving the greater good is serving yourself.)When you build up a track record of acting with integrity, you earn trust. And when your team trusts you — when they know that you base your decisions on what you truly feel is in the best interest of the greater good — they can more easily accept a decision with which they may personally disagree.Your team (and your members) will never trust you if they question your motives. If your decision is based on favoritism, personal gain, or desire for popularity, you lose. Maybe not in the moment, maybe not in the short term — but eventually, and indelibly.Because, ultimately, leadership is less about what you do, and more about who you are. 11SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Bill Stainton Bill Stainton works with extraordinary leaders who want to produce breakthrough results with their teams. A 29-time Emmy® Award-winning producer, writer, and performer, Bill speaks frequently to Credit Unions and … Web: www.billstainton.com Details