The Benefits to Prioritizing Professional Development During Covid

As an international educator, you’ve been busy being agile, strategic, and thoughtful with your work (thank you!)…but what does that all mean for you and your career? Yes, we’re experiencing a global pandemic, but now is just as important a time as ever to evaluate where you are, where you want to go in your career, and how to get there. Reflect on what you want to do and find opportunities to do it—like professional development!

Woman attends conference from home office.
You can still focus on professional development opportunities while working from home during a pandemic.

Whether you have more free time or less because of COVID-19, consider how much time you can dedicate to learning something new, meeting new colleagues, and/or attending a webinar or conference. The Forum on Education Abroad, a non-profit, membership association recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission as the Standards Development Organization (SDO) for the field of education abroad, offers a plethora of training and event opportunities—like its 17th Annual Conference on March 1-5, 2021—to help you meet your professional goals.

It’s time to focus on your professional development, and here’s why:

Why It’s Important to Keep Focusing on Professional Development

1. You Can Be a Greater Asset to Your Organization

Resilience, innovation, pivot—chances are these are terms you’ve been hearing and reading a lot lately. Ask yourself: What have I done to be strategic for my organization during the pandemic? How can I do more?

Professional development can be that key to unlocking how to bring fresh ideas to your team. Networking with new connections at a virtual event or conference can mean new partnerships or a new perspective on how to tackle a lingering problem. The Forum offers one-day workshops, as well as a Professional Certification in Education Abroad Program that can help you upskill to the next level. Now is the time to show that in difficult situations, you can rise to the challenge and be a changemaker.

2. It Will Give You an Achievable Goal

When so much in life, both professionally and personally, may feel out of your control, self-improvement through professional development can help you feel like you’re making progress where you otherwise may feel stuck.

  • Want to work on improving the student experience where you’re employed but not sure how?
  • Is your goal to step outside of your comfort zone for informational meetings with colleagues in the field?

While there are common constraints like budget and time, evaluate what you can commit to and stick with it.

3. The Work You Do Now Is Important to Your Future

Whether you’re looking to grow within your organization or make a job move, you’ll want to draw on some experiences of how your efforts have been integral during COVID-19 and beyond. Write down at least three things you are doing now to be an asset to your organization or career, and the skills to demonstrate why that’s important. Hint: Taking time to invest in yourself through professional development should be on your list!

Colleagues in masks working together at a table.
Professional development can help you become a greater asset to your team.

4. Event & Conference Programming Is More Affordable Than Ever

While institutions, organizations, and companies are operating strategically on a lean budget, that doesn’t mean that you can’t look for ways to better yourself during the pandemic.

Because major events are now online, conference programming that would cost exponentially more in person is now a fraction of the cost as a virtual event. Not to mention that attending a virtual event also means no travel expenses needed. Because of these benefits, event organizers are also extending conferences (The Forum’s Annual Conference is five days instead of the usual four days when in person, in addition to pre- and post-conference workshops available!) and adjusting times to help you maximize your conference experience.

While there’s a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, it’s hard to know how far away it actually is. Don’t wait for COVID-19 conditions to improve to improve yourself through professional development. So many things in life have been put on hold—self-improvement shouldn’t be one of them.

The Forum’s 17th Annual Conference, to be held virtually on March 1-5, 2021, will offer more than 50 sessions, networking events, cultural opportunities, and more over five days. Use promo code GOABROAD50 to receive $50 off of your registration fee. Sign up now!

Learn more about The Forum on Education Abroad.

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