Megan is a 2011 graduate of Baldwin Wallace and is now a Student Services Representative at International Studies Abroad (ISA) in Austin, Texas. She majored in Economics and Spanish and participated in two study abroad programs while a student at BW. During the summer of 2008, she did an ISA Intensive Spanish program in Granada, Spain. Megan loved her experience so much that she went abroad again with ISA to Sevilla, Spain for spring semester 2010. Studying abroad was not only one of the best experiences of her life, but also lead her to her current career. As a Student Services Rep, Megan spends her days helping students to find the perfect study abroad program, explaining the study abroad application process, recruiting students at study abroad fairs throughout the United States, reaching out to interested students and much more!
Incorporating Study Abroad into Your Career Search
With all you've experienced and learned, it's not uncommon to find that your academic, personal or career goals may have shifted, expanded or completely changed. Maybe you want to find a way to continue traveling, or maybe you've discovered a passion for French literature and want to change your major. Your ideas of the perfect job may be different. Take some time to think seriously about what you want and where you see yourself in the future. While you shouldn't feel too much pressure to plan your entire life at this time, you do need to think about plans for the upcoming year. Deadlines for entry exams like the LSAT (for law school and the GRE (for general graduate programs), as well as scholarships, fellowships and graduate school applications can come up quickly.
Adapted from Colorado State University & the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota
Career Services is available to help as you clarify or change your career goals, begin your job search, write your resume and cover letter, apply for graduate programs and prepare for interviews. To schedule an appointment with a Career Advisor, call Career Services at 440.826.2101 or x2101 on campus.
Study Abroad as a Career
By Christie Shrefler (Explorations/Study Abroad)
So how do you find employment in study abroad? A lot depends on the type of job you are looking for. The field encompasses all sorts from students volunteering or doing internships, to experienced and highly qualified professionals. There are 4 main areas in International Higher Education:
- Study Abroad
- International Student Service
- International Curriculum
- Teaching English as a Foreign Language
Studying abroad is a great field to be in. It is wonderful meeting with students (and parents) and encouraging them to think outside the box. Studying Abroad is a life changing experience and there is nothing better than witnessing a student's growth! Because this is such a great field, professionals tend to get jobs and NEVER leave. So, it will probably take you a while to find a position. Once you find a job, just plan to network with other programs/schools and move up the organizational ladder. Best piece of advice for finding a job in international education: BE PREPARED TO RELOCATE! Chances are likely that you will not be able to find a job in one specific area-so choose now what is most important: 1) being a professional in International Education or 2) staying in one specific geographic location.
You should be aware that working in a study abroad office isn't always exciting and fun! Many people want to be in the field, because they assume they'll get to travel all over the world. This is certainly a perk, but do not assume that this will be an option, especially with the current economic situation. The profession can be stressful at times, we create policies and liability paperwork, we work with faculty/administrators (many of whom may not support study abroad), we deal with accounting and budget cuts, handle "helicopter" parents, turn under qualified students away, and often manage crisis situations. Also, if you have big dreams of making a lot of money, then this is not the field for you! We love our jobs and stay in our jobs because we are passionate about international education; we do not do it because of the money! Read this great article on job responsibilities, salaries and more.
General guidelines that will help you take a step into this challenging and rewarding world:
Get International Experience. Only 1-2% of undergraduate college students study abroad. It is hard to sell something that you have not experienced yourself. One of the great things is that all those carefree travels, viewed skeptically by many employers, actually become an advantage. Put it all in your resume: that summer spent backpacking in Italy, those two weeks learning Spanish in Guatemala, etc. It's all about showing a commitment to international living and learning about other parts of the world.
Of course the best kind of experience is having taken part in a study abroad program yourself, as you will already have an idea what these programs should achieve (either through a positive or negative experience).
Learn a Language. Having two or more languages will give you a big boost when applying for any job in this area. Stands to reason: one of the biggest barriers to cross-cultural understanding is language. Being able to communicate with people in their own language immediately elevates you in their eyes and increases your chances of acceptance.
Take it Seriously. It may seem like the ultimate fun job, but any study abroad position comes with more than average responsibility. With a group of hormonal students let loose in a foreign environment the possibilities for physical, mental, or cultural harm, are infinite. Never forget that; whoever interviews you certainly won't.
Now to specifics
- Join NAFSA's SECUSS-L listserv to learn the latest in the field. You will find job postings and discussions about international education. This will keep you up to date about the challenges/changes in the field.
- If you have studied abroad through a program provider, talk to them 1st. They often have entry level positions available.
- Network, Network, Network. Attend conferences when you can and meet study abroad professionals.
- If you are a student, talk to the study abroad office at your school about the possibility of interning or volunteering on an existing program. Or go ahead and find your own internship. The possibilities are plentiful once you start to look
- If you cannot find something in the States, then look abroad.
- You might want to consider Graduate School. Many entry level positions require a Master's Degree. Degrees to consider: International Studies, Intercultural Education, and Higher Education. Look for a program with an Assistantship (particularly in Study Abroad), if possible.
Some of this information was borrowed from Transitions Abroad.
Work Abroad: The Complete Guide to Finding a Job Overseas by Clayton A. Hubbs
Teaching English Abroad: Talk Your Way Around the World by Susan Griffith