India is an extraordinary nation bursting with passionate, energetic and talented youth. The demographics are well known, but no less staggering—more than 300 million people under 15 years of age. Needless to say, engagement in India is a must for globally active higher education institutions.
When I advised my first Indian student nearly 10 years ago at Chestnut Hill College, a small, wonderful liberal arts institution in Philadelphia, I did not realize at the time that the experience was opening the door to a place and a people that would influence my life in so many ways. Although it would still be another three or four years before I would physically set foot in the country, it quickly became evident that building, and sustaining, relationships would be at the core of my work in India.
Conceptually, this may seem obvious. Practically speaking, the pace and scale of all-things-India can be daunting and pose significant challenges to university administrators. With so many vibrant regions to discover, it can be difficult to know where, how and with whom to begin outreach efforts. It can even be perplexing for institutions with established outreach programs to strike the right balance between maintaining existing relationships and exploring new ones.
This is precisely why, after years of travel in India, I anchor my outreach with the Annual IC3 Conference. IC3 is the reason more than 300 Indian high school delegates traveled to Delhi in late August last year. For me, the Pre- and Post-Conference IC3 Fair & Symposium add significant value. In our field, nothing is more important than spending time with students, parents and colleagues. That is to say, nothing is more important than building relationships.
As an international education professional, I’ve spent a lot of time away from home, away from family and friends. I’ve missed countless occasions, large and small. So for me, it’s never been simply about meeting professional goals. It’s also about forging friendships. It’s about personal discovery. And, most importantly, it’s about making a difference globally.
After many years of outreach in India and interacting with students, their families and counselors, the Annual IC3 Conference has become the lynchpin for me. With a deep sense of purpose and mission to bring excellence in counseling to every student in India, it’s the movement that ties it altogether.
Much like India itself, the IC3 Movement’s arrow is going up and to the right.
See you in New Delhi this August.