My career has been built on opening doors to higher education for international students and professionals. I developed the certificate, internship, and custom programs for international students at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). In working with students, I realized that an educational experience is life-changing. It opens one’s eyes to different ways of thinking, socialization with different cultures and people, and countless personal and professional opportunities.
After 20 years, I left the university and started my own consulting firm, UNITAS International Education Consultants. Our company’s mission is to help universities build international partnerships and academic programs. Yet, this is more than a company’s mission. It is my passion. It is my life’s work.
I created this business and then a website. Several months went by and I realized that if no one knows about either then it is a business with no traffic or business. Then I had an epiphany. I said to myself, “you need help in social media marketing, why don’t you hire a UCI intern?” I spent years at UCI helping students gain work experience and companies find qualified assistance. I never considered looking for an intern myself.
I hired my first intern, Mr. Sohei Wakino from Japan. The experience was more than I anticipated. I became a teacher, mentor, and source of information both culturally and professionally. In turn, I gained so much more. I gained a social media expert who helped me understand the Japanese higher education market. I found someone who I could count on for planning and logistics when we facilitated a CEO speakers’ event at UCI. I gained a colleague who has become UNITAS’ cheerleader looking out for the best interests of the business. And he helped open my eyes by looking at things from a different perspective. In the end, I hope I gained a lifelong friend and colleague.