I come from a long line of wanderers and vagabonds. Because of this, I inherited wanderlust like a treasured family heirloom. My life has been colored by a kaleidoscope of different cultures. All of these variables meet the crossroad of international education. While I’m fairly new to international education, I’ve learned so much from my experiences. (both professional and personal). Here are my insights so far:
Entering into the field happened by accident for many, but not all.
I’ve met professionals who knew that they wanted to work in international education right from the starting gate. Others stumbled upon it (much like myself) and have never looked back since. Many people are drawn to it for a number of reasons, but studying abroad and meaningful travel experiences play a major part. My own journey into international education started the spring semester of my junior year. I took a class called the New Humanitarians that allowed me the privilege to get know individuals from a variety of disciplines. The first person we had Skyped for the first day of class was someone in international education. Since then, I knew that this was exactly where I was supposed to be.
International education can be challenging to break into.
But don’t be discouraged! If you are looking for ways to gain experience, there are a lot of options. If you are still a student, work at your university’s international office in whatever capacity or volunteer at their events. Doing an internship with an international office is another option for gaining professional experience, as well. In fact, they are almost a necessity.
Find a mentor to show you the ropes.
Find someone who’s in a job or position you see yourself being in and reach out to them. They will appreciate it and in most cases, are happy to take you under their wing.
Stay up to date on issues and trends.
NAFSA, the Institute for International Education (IIE) and the Forum for Education Abroad are all great resources to check out. I also love reading the Inside Study Abroad blog and listening to the podcast.
Curious to know what employers in international education look for? Check out this video and see for yourself.