On April 5-8, the 2018-19 CCI cohort came together in Houston, Texas for the CCI Program’s first Launch to Success Program (LSP). The LSP aimed to prepare participants for their return home by giving them the tools they need to launch into a new phase of their professional careers. Houston Community College (HCC) hosted this year’s LSP.
Throughout the two-day event, participants reexamined the skills they developed throughout the CCI Program and took active steps to dive deeper into topics including personal branding, action planning, setting SMART goals, and preparing for re-entry.
This year’s LSP kicked off with an interactive “Tools of the Trade” workshop. CCI participants divided into groups based on their academic fields of study in business, engineering, tourism, media, and more. Houston-area industry professionals and professors guided each group to identify key industry skills they have gained while studying in the United States.
The next several workshops focused on how participants could communicate their newfound skills to future employers. First, participants workshopped their resumes with HCC Instructor Tambela Franklin. Second, they learned how to leverage LinkedIn and perfect their elevator pitches. Working in computer labs, CCI participants updated their LinkedIn profiles based on what they learned. Then in small groups, they practiced their 10-second elevator pitches with one another under Franklin’s guidance.
After the participants thought critically about how to market themselves in the professional world, day one concluded with sessions on mentorship and action planning.
In Professor Karman Tam’s presentation, “Making the Most out of Mentorship,” CCI participants learned about the roles and responsibilities of mentors and mentees, collaboratively outlined the qualities of a strong mentor, and brainstormed mentorship resources in their home countries.
Participants with advanced actions plans then practiced their mentorship abilities by facilitating small group discussions about how to tap into resources to turn their visions into reality.
The first session of day two—led by CReed Global Media & Production owner Centrell Reed—synthesized what participants had learned about personal branding and provided tips for making connections in the global marketplace. The remainder of day two centered on how to navigate the transition to becoming CCI alumni.
During a reflective moment, participants viewed five digital stories created by their CCI peers. These stories about personal transformation and growth gave the cohort as a whole an opportunity to reflect on their journey throughout their exchange year.
After ten months living in the United States and becoming acclimated to U.S. academic and social culture, one of the challenges many exchange participants face is “reverse culture shock”—the phenomenon of feeling culture shock after returning back to their home countries. To prepare CCI participants for this often difficult adjustment period, author Cate Brubaker led a two-hour interactive workshop titled “The Re-Entry Roadmap: Navigating Reverse Culture Shock After the CCI Program.”
Finally, participants reflected on the LSP and on their exchange year by setting personal and professional goals for their return home. By completing the program’s third Steps to Success worksheet, participants honed in on actionable steps to take in the final weeks of their program, as well as upon return to their home communities.
Through a dynamic slate of workshops, the 2018-19 CCI participants gained the tools they needed to launch into the new phase of their careers and lives beyond the CCI Program.