Photo of Shawna Luey
From tourism to international education administration: Meet Shawna Luey

Shawna Luey is an international education administrator at Niagara College. She developed and teaches two online courses for Queen’s Professional Studies: IETP 120: Learning with Adults in an Intercultural Setting and IETP 100: Program Evaluation for International Educators.

Professional Studies: What did you do before you became an international education administrator?

My initial education and work was in the tourism field, which I chose because I wanted to learn as much as I could from the world...

Shawna Luey: I was an advisor at Niagara College for a decade before moving into my current role as International Student Services Manager. My initial education and work was in the tourism field, which I chose because I wanted to learn as much as I could from the world, and I seemed to have a knack for working with people and unexpected situations.

PS: How did you get started in international education?

SL: I started my career in international education as an intern. My first assignment was a tourism awareness mission in coastal Ecuador, where I researched the industry to determine what initiatives may prove most productive. I went on two similar missions in South Africa and India. After this, I continued to host international partners who visited Niagara. When an opportunity for an International Student Advisor became available, I felt that this was a great way to continue exploring the world and all it offers, right here at home!

PS: What do international education administrators do?

SL: As an International Student Services Manager, I support a growing team of service experts -- immigration, housing, and transition advisors -- for international students in Canada. International divisions employ administrators that manage international contracts and training, study- and work- abroad opportunities, and intercultural programming. Very broadly speaking, all international education administrators have the role of advocating for and promoting the value of an international education at home or abroad.

PS: What’s one thing you wish you knew when you first started as an international education administrator?

SL: The task of managing a large team of people in a very demanding service environment was something I wish I was more prepared for. The mantra I live by now is that sincerely caring for those people makes for people who want to care for others.

PS: What advice do you have for people who are interested in becoming international education administrators?

SL: Modelling intercultural competence must be a constant priority. Someone recently told me that my management style could be called servant leadership, which I think is a good style to strive for in this field.

Modelling intercultural competence must be a constant priority.

PS: What are the resources you can’t do without?

SL: My team and my patience! I also refer to the Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) resources daily. Strategically, I often partner with my management peers who oversee other college services areas.

PS: What do you do to stay at the top of your game?

SL: Personally, I try hard to balance dedication to my work and everyday health. For me this is can be as simple as getting in a few micro walks in the day or as large as a technology-free Saturday. This is an important skill I also try to impart on my team, as our days are full-on and emotionally charged at times.

I strive to stay involved on active listservs and committees internally and across Canada. These networks are loaded with experts who enlighten my perspective and provide valuable information and ideas.

Professionally, I strive to stay involved on active listservs and committees internally and across Canada. These networks are loaded with experts who enlighten my perspective and provide valuable information and ideas. I love to facilitate and continue to take every opportunity I can to share my knowledge with others, as I am often learning just as much.