Tatiana Mackliff is the Executive Director of International Education at Miami Dade College, the largest and most diverse college in the nation, where she plays an integral role in developing the international education strategy for the institution, including the oversight of study abroad programs. Born in New York to Ecuadorian parents, she moved to Guayaquil, Ecuador with her family at age 10 and it was then when she started to understand the value of her roots.
Tatiana said that moving to Ecuador was the best learning experience of her life. “While I was living there I learned how to speak Spanish, embrace the Latin American culture and discover my values —it shaped me at an early age.”
She stayed in Ecuador for 15 years and decided to pursue her undergraduate degree in Business Administration at Guayaquil’s Universidad de Especialidades Espíritu Santo. Her first job out of college was at the British Council in Ecuador, where she managed the Chevening Awards, a British government scholarship that enabled high-achieving Ecuadorian graduate students to study abroad in prestigious U.K. higher education institutions.
Following her position with the British Council in Ecuador, she moved to Miami, New York City and later to Washington, D.C. to continue both her academic and professional career in the field and joined the Institute of International Education in 2002. There she managed the U.S Department of State’s Fulbright Program for both incoming graduate students from Latin America and K-12 teachers from around the world. During her tenure, she witnessed many Ecuadorian graduate students enhance their professional future thanks to the scholarship program. “Ecuadorian Fulbright Alumni now occupy important public and private sector” positions back home, she shared.
“International education is no longer a luxury, in fact, it is a must to be able to compete in the current job market,” Tatiana says. With the globalization of the economy, increasingly diverse populations and immediate technological changes, higher education organizations need to prioritize the shaping of global citizens and their respective education programming. Speaking a foreign language, knowledge of world events, and embracing the diversity in the immediate surroundings, help develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, two of the many competencies of the global citizen.
Tatiana also reminds us that pursuing a global education doesn’t necessarily entail high-cost educational options like study abroad. . With today’s technological resources, students can easily access relevant information on current affairs, engage with foreign citizens, attending cultural events in their local community, and participate in the global conversation that is shaping the world.
She encourages Ecuadorian students to research the many funding opportunities available study, teach or live abroad and follow their own track to becoming a global citizen.