About Me

20160320-BJJ_3422-2In the world. In the academy. In the woods. These are three places you’ll find me, exploring, listening, and learning.

My name is Sonja Lind and I am an international educator passionate about the social infrastructure of universities. I have these qualifications:

  • Experience creating and managing a study abroad program for 3 years
  • Experience teaching ESL and EFL for over 5 years
  • Experience teaching rhetoric/composition, academic English for 3 years
  • Experience providing data-driven international student support
  • Experience living in 6 countries and traveling in 6 continents

As of March 2017, I work as the Education Abroad Coordinator at California State University, Los Angeles, where I advise outbound and inbound exchange students, liaise with international exchange partners, plan and lead study abroad information sessions, organize and deliver pre-departure orientations, communicate with faculty to develop, market, and budget faculty-led courses abroad, collaborate with colleagues to develop a strategic marketing plan, serve on the Study Abroad Faculty Learning Community, and supervise two student assistants.

Previously, I worked as the Coordinator of Changing Global Society at Schreiner University, where I accomplished the following:

  • Created the university’s first centralized study abroad program
  • Overhauled a previously unorganized system, writing travel policy, creating pre-departure orientations and re-entry reflections, and managing trip budgets
  • Doubled study abroad applications among students in two years
  • Led a one-month study abroad trip to Florence, Italy
  • Hosted and co-hosted monthly cultural events reaching 30% of students every year
  • Chaired the Student Travel Committee and served on the Diversity Committee
  • Maintained social media to market programs: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and student blog

I am also a Canadian/Norwegian immigrant who has lived in Kenya, England, and South Korea, though I feel most at home in the U.S. (and California specifically). In Pico Iyer’s words, I am a “global soul.” Others call me a  Third Culture Kid. My personal goal is to become conversationally fluent in Spanish (which I’ve studied for over two years) and Norwegian (which was my first language), and to complete my first thru-hike (JMT, I’ve got my eye on you). Woo, Positivity, Communication, Activator, and Ideation are my top strengths, according to Gallup.

Here are some other ways to learn more about me:

  • If you’d like to read my blog posts, start here
  • My resume is here
  • The dissertation I wrote about international students is here
  • I’ve had a little bit of publicity, which is documented here
  • If you like Bollywood, Kenyan, Colombian, and downtempo music as much as I do, listen to my public playlists on Spotify
  • My LinkedIn profile is here

Sonja Lind is an incredibly invested higher education professional. She has a wealth of first-hand experience in the world of international education and study abroad. In my 2 years of working with Sonja, I saw her expand on a pre-existing study abroad program to the point where it was something totally new and exciting for students. She was intentional about building strong connections with faculty members who had previous experience with study abroad and welcomed other faculty who were interested in exploring it for the first time. Sonja is also student-oriented. She is aware that not all students have the option of studying abroad and she brings the international feel to campus where it is accessible by programming monthly events and highlighting areas of the world that are not as well-known to the average student. She connects with people one-on-one and sees opportunities for growth and education where others might see challenges. She is an excellent asset in creating a culture of global education. [LinkedIn]

Noelle Avenmarg Theis

I had the pleasure of working as a research assistant for Sonja’s dissertation study at UC Irvine. Under her guidance, I was introduced to qualitative research for the first time, and it led me to become interested in research myself. She pays a great attention to detail and shows amazing leadership skills, especially when working with students. I particularly admire her passion for international student services and her previous experiences within the field. Most importantly, I appreciate that she advocates for students and shares her knowledge with them. [LinkedIn]

Helen Tran