A globally educational experience

Where would you be if more than 100 headmasters, principals and directors from countries like Ecuador, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, China, Greece and Bangladesh were in a building together at the same time?

Believe it or not, you'd be in Iowa.Hundreds of attendees are picture at the UNI 35th annual Overseas Recruiting Fair. This fair is the oldest international recruiting event in the world.

In fact, these individuals are in Waterloo and Cedar Falls at the University of Northern Iowa Overseas Recruiting Fair seeking out educators to teach in their overseas schools.

"The atmosphere at the recruiting fair is one of excitement and exhilaration," said Tracey Godon, senior assistant director of Career Services. "There is no question that the entire week is a rollercoaster ride of emotion for many as job offers are secured.  Our staff enjoys participating in the excitement of watching dreams come true.

In 1976, UNI became home to the oldest international recruiting event in the world. Each year, over 120 international schools from more than 70 countries participate in the fair in search of the finest teachers and administrators. This fair started because the UNI Career Services staff and several school headmasters acknowledged the need for more efficient and cost-effective recruitment techniques.

"There is no question that the fair began as a result of the outstanding reputation of UNI's education graduates," said Godon. "Over the past 35 years, the trademark of the overseas fair has continued to be that it is the place to find quality teachers with superior training and a strong work ethic.

A representative from The American Bilingual School in Kuwait City, Kuwait talks to a student looking for an overseas teaching position to make a difference in hundreds of children's lives."The Career Services staff is proud to host an event that has impacted hundreds of American international K-12 schools and hundreds of thousands of children worldwide," said Godon. "UNI has played an important role in helping spread American education, values and ideals around the world."

Many people do not realize that there are American schools around the globe with the same staffing needs as any other school. Godon said educators who are flexible can find themselves in a remote part of the world they never dreamed of before, because it is the perfect match for their teaching skills.

Michael Geneser, (B.A. '85, M.A. '89) has had many positive experiences with UNI's Overseas Recruiting Fair.

"Meeting people, receiving firsthand information and having a presence at an event like this is unparalleled," said Geneser, who is in Turkey and just accepted a job there for the 2011-2012 school year through UNI's services. "The international school community is like a small town. There are a few thousand people running these schools all over the world. At the UNI fair you have several hundred of those people under one roof for one purpose: excellence in international education."

The advantage of being an overseas teacher from Iowa comes from the instant name recognition the job fair provides. 

Recruiters typically conduct more than 1,800 interviews, and each candidate averages five interviews during the event.

"In 1989, I attended the fair for the first time and was offered positions in Africa, Asia and South America," said Geneser. "I received my first overseas teaching position through UNI's Overseas Recruiting Fair. From start to finish, I am a product of the UNI education program. It has afforded me the opportunity to serve as an educator in Colombia, Honduras, Burma, Bangladesh, Thailand, South Korea, Sierra Leon and Turkey."

Geneser is among thousands of educators who have come to the fair in the past 35 years and capitalized on the opportunities UNI offers.

"The opportunity to get to know people from other cultures, to allow them to learn our language and culture firsthand, is an incredible experience for both the international educator and the people they interact with," said Geneser. "You cannot work in overseas education and remain indifferent to the world, its challenges, and incredible people and places.

"I often wonder who has gotten more out of international education, the students in my classes or myself. The jury is still out."

UNI's Overseas Recruiting Fair is home to the oldest international recruiting event in the world. Recruiters typically conduct more than 1,800 interviews, and each candidate averages five interviews during the event.
"The opportunity to get to know people from other cultures, to allow them to learn our language and culture firsthand, is an incredible experience for both the international educator and the people they interact with," said Michael Geneser, UNI alum who has benefitted immensely from the overseas recruiting fair (B.A. '85, M.A. '89). "You cannot work in overseas education and remain indifferent to the world, its challenges, and incredible people and places. "The atmosphere at the recruiting fair is one of excitement and exhilaration," said Tracey Godon, senior assistant director of Career Services. "There is no question that the entire week is a rollercoaster ride of emotion for many as job offers are secured.  Our staff enjoys participating in the excitement of watching dreams come true.