Success Center Director Earns Fulbright to Study International Learning

Billie Streufert is the executive director of Augustana's Student Success Center.

With a growing international student population and increasing numbers of domestic students who choose to study abroad, Augustana University officials are learning new and innovative ways to better serve, support and encourage students from abroad and those seeking to study overseas.

Billie Streufert, executive director of Augustana’s Student Success Center, earned a Fulbright International Education Administrator Seminar Award this fall and recently returned from an intensive, two-week study in Germany where she examined the societal, cultural and higher education systems of other countries.

Streufert and other Fulbright grantees spent the first half of the experience in Berlin at the Fulbright headquarters. There, they received an introduction to Germany and its higher education system through briefings, government appointments, campus visits and cultural events. They also explored other topics including student services, immigration and integration. During the second week, Streufert was part of a subgroup that studied at the Frankfurt University of Applied Science.

"The trip enhanced my understanding of the ways to best support international students who come to the United States and domestic students who study abroad," Streufert said.  "I wanted to understand better their unique backgrounds and help students better leverage these experiences, especially because our graduates need global understanding and cultural competency as they prepare to launch their careers. My conversations with government officials and higher education experts deepened my perspective immensely."

Over the last decade, the number of international students Augustana serves has continued to grow. This fall, the University’s campus is home to 156 international students from 38 countries around the globe. AU also serves an additional 13 recent Augustana graduates who were international students and are now working in the U.S. through Optional Practical Training (OPT), a benefit of the F-1 student visa. In comparison, in Fall 2015 AU was home to 153 international students and served six alumni through OPT.

Among Augustana's domestic students, about half will study abroad at least once during their four years on campus.

During her time in Germany, Streufert also spent time with officials in Potsdam, Sioux Falls’ German Sister City.

"Seeing the cultural landmarks and enjoying dinner with the city officials of Potsdam was one of the unforgettable highlights of my trip," she said. "Not only is the city rich with history, but its people cherish Sioux Falls and are honored to call us friends."

About the Fulbright Program

The Fulbright Program aims to increase mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and the people of other countries, and it is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. Fulbright alumni have become heads of state, judges, ambassadors, cabinet ministers, CEOs, and university presidents, as well as leading journalists, artists, scientists, and teachers. They include 54 Nobel Laureates, 82 Pulitzer Prize winners, 29 MacArthur Fellows, 16 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients, and thousands of leaders across the private, public and non-profit sectors. Since its beginnings in 1946, more than 360,000 “Fulbrighters” have participated in the Program.