What is shared at meetings should (broadly) stay in those meetings
Don’t be tempted to gossip or name individual students, teachers, or colleagues. The world of international education is small, and people change roles often. If you want others to share and collaborate their successes and failures with you, you have to remain loyal to your counselor cohort.
Of course you may feed headlines to your leadership team, but never break the professional confidence of a group who are offering their help and intelligence to ultimately help you and your students and families know more.
Get to know one another outside of work talk
This might take the form of drinks after your meetings, or plan to attend the same conferences so that you get a chance to unwind a little. Collaboration that happens when people are outside of their normal context tends to be powerful, and new thoughts and questions arise when we all leave our desks.
Build a global list of trusted contacts
Try to grow your network of collaborators and take steps to widen your knowledge base wherever possible. The goal should be to have a global list of trusted contacts that can help you answer questions you have no idea about on your own.
For example, when a student comes in and tells you they want to apply to a public Spanish university and you realise you have no idea about how to “homologar” your national curriculum results , you can take comfort in the fact that you have a supportive network to fall back on!
If you want to try and take your local network global, this can be done in a variety of ways. If you’re not already a member, think about joining professional bodies such as as the International Association for College Admissions Counselors (IACAC) and the Council of International Schools (CIS). It’s worth attending their annual conferences if budget permits, or joining their associated Facebook groups.
Soon you may discover you have more resources at your disposal than you think. With a group of supportive, knowledgeable contacts both in your local region and spread out around all corners of the globe, you and your students are primed for success.