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Kyle Anderson

09 Apr 2024 10:00 AM | Anonymous


Kyle Anderson is an impassioned leader within the global education field who recently took the time to share his experiences and insights with us. Driven by an unwavering commitment to his "why" and a profound belief in the power of patience and understanding, Kyle champions transformative change, advocating for inclusive practices and innovative approaches to the technological side of the university and student experience. Kyle's creativity, drive, and enthusiasm are highly evident, and we are excited to share his story!

1. What is your current title, and where do you work?

I am the VP of Strategic Programming at Academic Programs International (API) (Austin, TX). API has made great strides in the last few years in expanding its programming and technology to embrace all facets of Experiential Learning. I work with university leadership to help them create integrative Personalized Pathways for all of their students.

2. How did you learn about your current position? (Ex. Networking, Promotion, External Job Posting)

Through the infamous international education networking game: "You know something, Kyle, you should meet Dr. X and have a chat."

3. What sparked your interest in working in international education?

Different formative experiences when I was younger and living in the Middle East, England, and Italy. When I later became a professor, I couldn't stop taking my students and faculty colleagues overseas with me. There are always pieces of ourselves and others to be found in every corner of the globe. I want everyone to enjoy the creation of a collaborative mosaic.

4. What was your first job in international education?

Centre College Faculty Director of a Jan-term program in Beijing, China. That's right... Beijing... in January... The Great Wall had no central heating, naturally. (And one of the students didn't bring a winter jacket, either–surprised?!)

5. Tell us about your first international experience, either traveling or working abroad.

I was a competitive soccer player in high school and was part of a club team that travelled to the UK for a tournament. I vividly remember learning to eat beans and tomatoes in the morning and washing my stinky match socks in a hostel sink in the afternoon. I could never get the mud completely out.

6. Describe a typical day/week at the office at your current job.

I work on the programming and technology side of the business, so my work always involves a combination of interacting with universities, programming experts, product managers, and engineers.

A typical day includes four things: university support, improvement of programming and technology services, research, and collaboration with colleagues.

7. What do you enjoy the most about your job?

I love to analyze and problem-solve. Nothing makes me happier than helping an institution or sub-unit identify solutions and achieve big results for their students.

8. What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

I was brought into API to build something from the ground up. That takes a lot of patience and persistence. I'm not naturally patient (not sure if I’m improving in that regard).

(How have you worked on gaining more patience, or what other skills have you developed to help?)

I believe I have developed two other skills: one is intrapersonal, and the other is interpersonal. I tend to be more impatient with myself. I am used to accomplishing stuff, and I want those results fairly quickly; I have to learn to step away or take a break to reset. I tell myself that it is okay if it doesn't get done today and try not to be so aggressive or pushy with my implicit desire to achieve. I have learned to work on checking my feelings of getting upset when things are not done and cultivate mindfulness of my own discomfort with the lack of project closure. Honestly, the outcome is usually better the longer it sits and is given time to develop and breathe versus forcing closure. I have developed the phrase "No fake deadlines" for myself - we always think we are on some sort of hamster wheel, and therefore, we tend to give ourselves these fake deadlines that don't actually exist. I must constantly remind myself not to push myself with false deadlines or artificial expectations.

Externally, I have learned to think empathetically about other people. I try to remember other people's job duties or descriptions, and I try to get to know them - I find that it creates less room for judgments. I am able to have a lot more understanding and compassion for all of the things people have going on inside and outside of the workplace. I just remember that there is a lot going on for everyone.

In both cases, you have to practice a bit of mental acrobatics - recasting circumstances from different perspectives. But, this allows me to extend some grace and compassion to others, and to myself.

9. What has working in international education taught you about yourself and your own culture?

I grew up in smaller New England towns in RI and VT. Living and working abroad showed me that the options to fashion a life were infinitely more varied than I could have imagined. Nobody who knew me at Rutland High School in Rutland, VT, would ever have guessed I would end up teaching Italian and Chinese at a couple of different universities! More than anything, though, it's taught me Freedom for myself and Love for others.

10. Do you have a career mentor or someone that you consult with about career growth?

I do - a retired college president who encouraged me to expand my profile as a Humanities professor to become a leader in global education.

11. Describe a moment in your career that you consider your greatest achievement.

I befriended a young refugee from Southeast Asia, helped him get into college on a full-ride scholarship, and supported his journey of studying and interning in the country that once rejected him and his family when he was young.

12. How has COVID-19 impacted your work life?

I've been working remotely ever since Covid started. I'm a bit of an extrovert and teammate, so working alone is taxing. That's why I often crash local cafes or busy restaurants to feed off of good ambient energy.

13. If you are working from home, has that adjustment been difficult or enjoyable?

More challenging for me than enjoyable at times.

14. What type of things are you doing to balance your mental health?

I spend a lot of time outdoors and have several athletic and artistic outlets. I recently published my first fantasy novel and am completing a cabin build in the Blue Ridges.

15. What is the best advice you can give to other global educators right now?

Rediscover your "why" and hug it tight!

Throughout my career, you can see how the field has been constant, but the assignments and positions, both in the public and private sectors, have varied quite a bit. There are truly so many roles within this industry to explore. In order to sustain a continuity of personality, we have to connect with why we are doing what we are doing. I think we need to maintain our own sense of identity when we are changing schools or companies or positions. It is going to be necessary to reground to maintain that clear sense of self.

The only way I maintain my inspiration, motivation, and my "why" is that I am feverishly driven to improve the student learning experience. Most of the time in our field, we only think of that in terms of experiences, but now, because I am in tech, I am thinking about that in ALL of the ways we interact with students. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of things happening throughout the student experience and decision-making process- and that is a lot of things you can get drowned in. How do we bring out the joy of this experience at every stage, from exploration and discovery to completion and beyond?

The mission of the Global Leadership League is to ignite change across the global education field by empowering, connecting, and training leaders. We invite you to reach out to us here or learn more about becoming a member.


Our members come from different backgrounds, abilities, levels of experience, and parts of the world. Our goal is to embrace this diversity and encourage relationships across generations and experience levels for the benefit of all involved. 

The Global Leadership League was started by a group of women in the field of international education for the purposes of advancing women’s leadership skills, knowledge, and connections.


Our Mission

The mission of the Global Leadership League is to ignite change across the global education field by empowering, connecting, and training leaders.  Become a Member