AUSTIN, Texas – June 12, 2013 — Campus Advantage CEO Mike Peter and Vice President for Residence Life Dan Oltersdorf will join representatives from other student housing firms and universities on an international study tour June 19-30 to the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to learn the similarities – and the differences — between higher education in the Middle East and the United States.
Several student housing/student affairs trade associations — including the Association of College and University Housing Officers, Association of College Unions International and NASPA — are organizing the tour. Their goal is to provide participants with a greater understanding of higher education in that region of the world, as well as with important insights that can be used to better serve diverse student populations in the United States. This is the first time all of these associations have come together to organize this type of experience.
The trip includes visits to several Doha-area universities, including Qatar University and Education City, which features branch campuses of some of the world’s leading universities. Travelers also will take part in an educational symposium in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and meet with administrators of universities in the region.
”International experiences such as this trip are important because today’s student housing companies and universities cater to students from a wide variety of cultures, beliefs, customs, religious practices and even food requirements,” Oltersdorf said. “Building mutual understanding across cultures has become even more important because people often fear what they don’t understand.”
Building those cross-cultural connections is nothing new to Peter, who served in the Peace Corps and studied abroad in Sweden. Those experiences taught him that people of any culture value many of same things.
“My international experience instilled in me a firm belief that our similarities to one another are what make us strong,” he said. “The challenge to those of us in student housing is to learn about and experience different cultures and new ideas so that we can better serve ALL of our student residents no matter their backgrounds.”
Peter and Oltersdorf will use the lessons they learn on the trip to enhance Campus Advantage’s residence life programs and activities to better meet the needs of their international student residents. They said they also hope the trip will help the company grow its pipeline of international projects. To date, the company’s consulting division has conducted eight international studies in countries that include China, Russia, Germany, Mexico and Brazil.
“Since its inception 10 years ago, Campus Advantage has had a leading role in responding to the globalization of the student housing industry,” said Peter, who co-founded the company in
2003. “Universities across the globe are seeing increases in their numbers of international students. At the same time, U.S.-based student housing companies are looking overseas to expand their property portfolios. That means these companies must know how to operate effectively in those countries and in ways that are sensitive to local cultures.”
More information on the International Study Tour: Arabian Gulf may be found at http://www.acui.org/programs/professional/program.aspx?xsl=descript&id=19298. Organizing associations include the American College Personnel Association, the Association of College and University Housing Officers – International, Association of College Unions International, Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, NASPA, NIRSA and the National Orientation Directors Association.
Visit http://www.campusadv.com/consulting to learn more about Campus Advantage’s international consulting work.
# # #
About Campus Advantage
Campus Advantage is an Austin-based real estate firm that offers student housing management, development, acquisition, and consulting services. The company works to create winning partnerships between colleges, universities, investors, developers and owners in an effort to help students achieve their academic and personal goals. For additional information, please visit http://www.campusadv.com.