| |

From Stalling to Success: The Launch of My Global Career

This post is contributed by Carrie Herrera Niesen, a SPS Featured Blogger.

If you’ve been following Small Planet Studio, you’ll notice that I’ve been checking in on occasion about my building my global career from conquering conference costs, how interning isn’t just for students, and how you can break the global career path mold.

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted because the hard work I’ve put into interning virtually, teaching abroad, and networking with like minded colleagues in the field have paid off! I’ve “officially” entered the field of international education and I couldn’t be more excited.


I’ve now been with GoAbroad for six months, and part of that work includes working with writers all over the globe offering advice to prospective meaningful travelers, talking with students about international education opportunities on university, community college, and high school campuses all over the U.S. on our Roadshow, and representing GoAbroad at national and international conferences. I’ll be heading to an international travel trade show called ITB Berlin next week!

In addition to my work with GoAbroad, I’m now the Editor-in-Chief for Life After Study Abroad magazine and get to discuss and share my favorite subject of re-entry with folks all over the world.

Writing it all out like that is incredibly surreal, even though it’s been my reality for months now. Had you told me this would be my day-to-day life a year ago, I would have laughed and thought, no way, not possible, won’t happen! Not that I’m a naysayer, but it goes to show that you shouldn’t places your own limits on what could be (hence why limitless is my word for 2015!).

Before all of this happened, I was nearing a stalling point in my global career path. Nationally, I attended the NAFSAs, the Forums, and the SIETARs; locally, I’d been involved with the Minnesota International Educators and Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals; virtually, I’d interned with multiple organizations in the field; collegially, I served on numerous committees related to study abroad and mentored my students on selecting opportunities abroad; overarchingly, I chatted with anyone and everyone I could about the field, how to get into it, and what else I could be doing to build up my knowledge and skills.

Carrie - Shoshone Falls, ID

I got my master’s, I speak another language, and I have an extensive resume of abroad experience…wasn’t that enough? No, it’s not. In the highly competitive and with the slim-to-none opportunities in this field, it’s quite normal.

During discussions with professionals in the field, I heard more often than not that I was on the right path and just to keep on, keepin’ on. What I thought would be a conversation just on writing and freelancing soon turned into a full time job offer and caught me way off guard. When I’ve spoken with professionals in the past, many said right place, right time in terms of getting their foot in the door. Preparation certainly met opportunity in my case and I’m grateful for what I’m doing doing on the daily!

As a result of my life changing past few months, here are three things I’ve learned to help with your global career search.

  1. Get involved in any way you can.

    Ask questions, attend events and conferences, say yes (even when you’re overbooked), participate, volunteer, tweet, introduce yourself, and do whatever you can to stay connected and engaged. This not only helps you get your name out there, it also helps you decide which direction you want to take. It’s important to try the job on just as much as they’re trying you on!

  2. It’s okay to say no.

    I know, I know…I just told you to say yes, but know when to say no and when something doesn’t feel right. I turned down positions that seemed like a dream because it wouldn’t have been economically feasible or just because it didn’t feel quite right. It’s good to get your feet wet and started in your desired industry, but it’s equally as important to trust your gut.

  3. Never, ever give up!

    The worst possible thing you can do is stop trying and settle. I continuously tried whatever I could to learn new skills and build up my toolkit to be ready for whatever may come my way. If something didn’t work out, or the umpteen job applications I sent out led to nowhere, I just kept going. The show must go on. It’s not to say that there aren’t parts where it feels impossible, disheartening, and downright depressing, but the payoff of your efforts will be well worth the wait.

It’s been an enormous year of growth and this is just the beginning. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the future and what limits I’ve put on myself that I can easily surpass.

What have you done that you thought wasn’t possible in the past to build your career? Share with us below!