W3’s strategic plan focuses on 5 major initiatives: Language Barriers, Social Barriers, Cultural Barriers, Academic Barriers, and Financial Barriers.
Initiative 1: Language Barriers
Many international students are inhibited when speaking because they are painfully aware of their language issues. They fear not being understood, not being able to respond rapidly or correctly, and not being able to say what they mean. Often times they are intimidated by other students because they are not proficient in English. W3 will focus on assisting students needing help to improve their English and their self-esteem when communicating with their American friends.
Initiative 2: Social Barriers
College life is not restricted to the classroom and a huge part of the college experience occurs after the class. For international students, social integration can be a hurdle. Foreign students like to interact with American students, but they don’t know how. This is especially true when international students arrive in the US. As a result, they feel more comfortable making friends with other international students from their home country, which further isolates them from American students. W3 will guide the female students in how to deal with such social barriers.
Initiative 3: Cultural Barriers
One of the major educational goals of the internationalization of higher education is preparing students to function in an international and inter-cultural context. Cultural diversity on college and university campuses creates an ideal social forum for inter-cultural learning, yet one of the most disturbing aspects of internationalization of higher education in America is the lack of interactions between American and international students. W3 will assist students exploring the nature of change in their perceptions after having successful experiences in mixed group activities.
Initiative 4: Academic Barriers
Many college professors in the United States want learning to be a collaborative experience and expect participation from students. Most colleges and universities require students to take general education classes, regardless of their major, to expose them to a wide variety of subjects. This can come as a surprise to international students who expect to take only courses related to their major. Through the mentoring and tutoring programs, W3 will assist female students to overcome their academic barriers.
Initiative 5: Financial Barriers
One of the biggest problems international students face is financial hardship. They pay higher “foreign student tuition,” and many come from emerging countries and do not have a lot of money. Therefore, financial support for such things as student assistantship, scholarships, and on-campus job opportunities is vital for their success. Although international students are required to bring some money with them when they enter the US, they often find themselves needing additional funds to continue their education. Students entering the US on an F-1 or F-2 student visa are not eligible for federal student aid. However, some colleges and universities provide limited financial support, such as private loans or scholarships for high academic achievers. W3 plans to provide partial financial support for low income female students based on an established list of criteria.
Our Four Pillars
Vision: To afford all foreign born adult women access to a quality education in the United States.
Mission: To remove educational barriers facing foreign born adult women by creating learning communities where financial and educational support are available, and women can achieve their educational dreams.
Values: To create a culture that includes our core values: Compassion, Academic Success, Respect and Empathy (CARE).
Principles: Women Walking West (W3) operates under the following ten guiding principles:
- We serve women with sincere encouragement and actions that will facilitate their educational goals.
- We are an organization that has faith in the women it serves.
- We view philanthropy as an important role in sustaining the organization.
- We set priorities for some of the most neglected issues facing women pursuing an education in the United States.
- We advocate vigorously in the areas of focus regardless of women’s nationality, ethnicity or religion.
- We identify specific points of intervention and develop a strategy to apply efforts to help the women based on their goals.
- We work with women to develop strategic plans, and provides support for the duration of the process.
- We deliver results with the available resources and are willing to share information about the results with partnering agencies, industries and universities.
- We strongly encourage respect and ethical behavior in the organization with volunteers, whom are called partners.
- We practice good and ethical stewardship of the funds and available resources. The organization’s finances is transparent and available to all stakeholders.