NAFSA Region 1 Conference, 2009

Sally Thomas NAFSA Region 1By Shirley Henderson at A.C.E.–Wednesday through Friday of last week, NAFSA Region 1 had its annual meeting in Vancouver, Washington. The A.C.E. attendees were A.C.E.’s Seattle Language Institute Director, Sally Thomas and me, the Enrollment Services Manager.

The regional NAFSA meetings provide great opportunities for networking as well as gaining pertinent information regarding new regulations and local trends.

Director Sally Thomas took advantage of the networking by participating in the Poster session on Friday with a poster on teacher training in Russia. On Saturday, she presented in a session on consortia as a representative of Study Washington, which she co-chairs. Also on the panel was a Study Oregon chair as well as a representative from U.S. Commercial Services. Both the poster session and the presentation gave Sally great opportunities to connect with local and regional schools, as well as increase A.C.E.’s visibility in the region.

NAFSA Region 1 BanquetI attended a variety of sessions on Thursday and Friday pertaining to visas and travel for students as well as a session on SEVIS II (Student Exchange Visitor Information System). The session on SEVIS II was particularly pertinent as it is a system update that will drastically change both the Central Office and Language Institutes’ Enrollment Services’ procedures with regards to processing and registering students’ I-20s. I was also able to set up a meeting with a representative from Lewermark, the company that provides A.C.E. students with health insurance. I also spoke with a few schools locally that accept A.C.E. students into their programs.

Over all, the conference was a great opportunity for both the Language Institute in Seattle and the Central Office to gain connections and information crucial to A.C.E.’s operations.

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