Tag Archives: Higher Education

One Lovely Blog

A big thanks to Brilliant London for nominating Global from Home for the One Lovely Blog Award. Now that we are moved and I’m feeling slightly settled in OKC, I am ready to bestow the honors to others. So here are the rules:

1. Link back to the blogger who nominated you (thank you, Brilliant London!)

2. Paste the award image on your blog, anywhere.

3. Tell us 7 facts about yourself

  1. When my Hubby is out of town, my meal of choice is cheese and crackers.
  2. My favorite trip was to El Calafate, Argentina with my best friend. She threw up on me after eating bad sushi but it only made the trip more memorable.
  3. If I could go any where in the world right now, it would be a toss up between Cambodia and Egypt.
  4. My mom always taught us, “Where there is a will, there is way.” The older I get, the more I agree with her.
  5. I have pictures of me with two celebrities: Jimmy Carter and Oscar the Grouch.
  6. Currently I am applying for a PhD program in higher education and hope to start classes in January.
  7. I have read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice at least 6 times.

4. Nominate 15 other blogs you like for this award (this is the fun part)

  1. William Penn University Study Abroad Blog – it is so much more than just a study abroad blog. Karolyn amazes me daily with her creativity.
  2. Turkish Musings – Haley is headed to Istanbul in just a few weeks
  3. Mary in Haifa – Mary is a study abroad professional heading back to school…in Israel
  4. Parallel Life – one of my favorites blogs of a couple traveling the world together…I think they’ve been nominated for this a bunch but I don’t care…so good
  5. French Paintings – an expat artist in the South of France learning and painting the landscape
  6. Postcards Wall – this simple blog shares one of my passions: postcards and stamps from around the world.
  7. You Bloody Tourist – a British student ramblings and adventures in Australia and beyond
  8. Salaam Y’all – a new Peace Corps volunteer in Ethiopia
  9. Will Travel with Kids – with her two young daughters by her side, this blogger explores the world around her
  10. Freedom Abroad – Katie is spending a year abroad and exploring all she can do for free
  11. World Lit Up – reading a book from each of the 194 UN recognized countries
  12. News from a Broad – Benne’ is an art therapist who has moved her life to Merida, Mexico
  13. College Forever – a great blog for anyone considering a career in higher education
  14. Travel.Culture.Food – a fantastic blog to help plan your travels. She even takes requests!
  15. Partners for Peace – another one of my favorites, Mari and Paul are Peace Corps volunteers in Ecuador

5. Post a comment on each of your nominees’ blogs telling them about the nomination

I promise to have this done in the next 24 hours

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Becoming a Study Abroad Advisor

When I tell people what I do for a living, I usually get one of two responses:

  1. What is a Study Abroad Advisor?
  2. That is the coolest job in the world.

I tend to prefer the second response as I 100% agree. I am living my dream job. How many people at the age of 30 can really say that?

I didn’t always know that I wanted to be a Study Abroad Advisor; in fact I doubt many people grow up with that goal. My path was round about. I started pre-med, switched to pre-law, then contemplated getting an MBA and finally decided to get a Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration. But even then, I still didn’t think about being a Study Abroad Advisor.  Nope…I wanted to be Greek Life Director. I had just graduated from college, had accepted a job with my international sorority as a leadership consultant and planned to go to graduate school so I could advise fraternity men and sorority women for the rest of my days.  At least that’s what I thought, until one day when I was in Italy.

After studying abroad twice with my Italian professor, she asked me to be her program assistant for the summer after I graduated. My job consisted of counting to 40 a lot (40 students on the program), buying tickets, enforcing quiet hours, etc., and in return I got to be in Italy for 8 weeks for free. Best job ever. At the end of every program, my Italian professor took our group to the Aeolian Islands to get some rest and relaxation before final exams. It is one of my favorite places in the world; I love the black volcanic sand and swimming in underwater craters. It is a true paradise. It is also the location of one of the most significant moments in my life. I was standing on the docks with my Italian professor one evening after dinner and I remember her saying, “Elise, I just don’t think you’ll be happy working with fraternities and sororities for the rest of your life. I really think you should consider international education.”

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Vulcano, Italy – one of my favorite places in the world and where I first contemplated a career in international education

While I didn’t think much of it at the moment, her words resound in my head still today. As I started my job with the sorority, I quickly realized she was right. It wasn’t fulfilling. I wasn’t inspired.  Six months into my job, I was headed to Argentina to visit my best friend and I felt troubled and lacking direction. While on the plane I began reading The Eighth Habit by Stephen Covey, a book that had been given to me by one of my mentors. The book said that in order to be effective, we have to be great. In order to be great, we have to be passionate. I let this swirl around in my mind. What was I truly passionate about? I loved the college experience. I loved traveling and exploring. I loved studying abroad in Italy. It was at that moment that my Italian professor’s words came back to me and everything clicked. I realized I could combine all my passions if became a study abroad advisor.

Grad school, eight years and three universities later, here I am, in the best of positions I could ever imagine. My students awe and amaze me every day. I am energized by their experiences abroad and find so much joy when I can convince a student to do a semester overseas; I know it will be the best semester of her life.  While my time as an advisor in San Diego is drawing to a close, I am more confident than ever that this is the perfect career path for me. And until I find the right position in Oklahoma, I plan on being a virtual advisor via the blogosphere and Facebook.  So any study abroad students out there, if you need some help, don’t hesitate to ask!

Interested in exploring a career in International Education?

1. Register for the study abroad listserv – SECUSS-L I recommend the digest version…otherwise expect 5 to 20 emails a day. This listserv is specifically geared towards education abroad and is very active. On the listserv you’ll see emails from professionals asking questions about different programs, marketing their own programs, and posts for positions. Many entry-level positions get posted here by both study abroad providers and universities. It’s a great place to know where you can apply but also to get a feel for what is going on in the field.

2. Check out NAFSA (the biggest organization for international ed) for job postings and conferences. It is our national organization for international education and their website has great resources. NAFSA is divided into into regions and usually the regional conferences are held in the fall. They are a bit pricey but having gone to a regional conference does show initiative and is great for a resume. It’s also a great way to meet people in the region and start building your network. There often are scholarships too that you can apply for to go and most regions offer a mentoring program for young professionals.

3. Explore graduate programs in Higher Education Administration or other relatable field (MBA, foreign language, etc). If you are interested in a job at a university, a masters degree is usually required. Sometimes exceptions are made if you have a lot of life experience, but if you are straight out of college, an advisor position will be hard to get. Once in grad school, engage with the study abroad office on your campus any way possible. I got started by volunteering for 5 hours a week on a project in the Study Abroad Office at the University of South Carolina while in my first year of grad school. When a job opening came available, it was pretty much mine.

4. If you aren’t ready for grad school, research different study abroad program providers. For recent grads, this is probably the easiest way into the field. Many program providers have university relations staff that typically are younger staffers (under 27) and travel around the US to market the study abroad programs. We call them road warriors because they are out of the office a lot and most people only do this kind of role for 2 or 3 years before they move into a more stationary position. The great thing about these positions is that there are lots of them, you get to do a lot of travel (some international travel may happen in the summer), and you get exposed to a ton of different schools. The down side is living out of a suitcase and the pay is usually pretty low. Then again, pay in study abroad is typically not so great so don’t expect to get rich in this field.

My final advice no matter what route you take is to really hone in on why you want to pursue a career in study abroad. Loving to travel is not a good enough reason. You have to really want to help others have the experience you had. I also believe that you can’t expect a career in study abroad means you’ll get to do a lot of travel yourself. Some positions do send you abroad a lot but often if you work at a university this is not the case. Finally, I would really research the issues currently in study abroad and find something that resonates with you that you can focus on in your cover letter and interviews. Some of the hot topics right now are curriculum integration, social media and study abroad, enhancing cultural integration, long vs. short term study abroad programs, returnee programming, and assessment of cultural learning. Melibee Global is great site to do some initial research.