Many people want to relaunch themselves into a global career after being abroad but often don’t know what their options are. That’s why I’ve started a new series about global career journeys. Amanda’s post below is the first in this new series called — wait for it! — “My Global Career”. Hope you enjoy it!
Want to tell your global career story? Get in touch – I’d love to talk with you.
Amanda, how would you describe your “global career path?”
When I embarked on the journey to start my global career path, I thought back to the two most influential experiences in my life, and as is the case for many people who read this blog, it was my first two independent international experiences.
Two consecutive high school summers on international service-learning trips: the first to Mexico, and the second to Fiji, were indeed the “eye-openers” of my young adulthood life.
They guided me to my college applications as a young 16-year-old, but once the whirlwind of university life picked me up, were quite literally left in my memory boxes, under the bed at home in New York. When I graduated university early, I bee-lined for a month-long trip Costa Rica.
Once on the plane en route, I was quickly reminded of how powerful and important intercultural experiences are and should be in my life, but at that point I wasn’t sure if I could make a career out of it, or if I even could.
After two years of valuable, unrelated yet relevant work experience in advertising and marketing, I hit a point where I knew I had to get back to those initial high school international experiences – in whatever way, shape, or form that I could.
As a short-term group leader? As a full-time employee in a short-term provider’s office? As a study abroad advisor? Or as an international student advisor? Or some crazy combination of all of the above?
At the moment, I’m really enjoying the opportunity to try them all out, and I’m finding that I could fall into and be happy in all of them.
After making the conscious decision to start a “global career path,” I’ve also been grappling between making a physical international career move or finding a career at home, in New York, that brings the rest of the world to me.
At this point in time, I’m opting for the former, and making a move to the UK to work with American students studying abroad. My aim is to tackle both, and simultaneously experience all of the different “perspectives” and roles of short- and long- term student experiences: receiving international students into the US, advising outgoing American students in the US, and accompanying American students on their international experiences.
So far, I’m two for three!
How did you figure out that this is the path for you?
I have an unexplained “life is short” complex that’s recently made me very hasty in not settling for 100% happiness in what I wake up every morning to do. There were a few big revelations that led to this entire “re-thinking my life” journey.
The first was realizing that a career that allowed for international experiences only two weeks out of the year was not as favorable as having an international mindset everyday of the year, both at work and outside work.
Also, once I learned that there were in fact year-long full-time careers related to my life-changing high school summer service adventures abroad (after meeting people who had those jobs, reading up online, going back to graduate school, etc.), I was hooked.
What steps have you taken to move along this path?
The first step was deciding that life is short and that I should start this career path. And also realizing that it was up to me to make the changes I needed to make to start it. I went back to graduate school, at SIT, and completed my Master of Arts in Intercultural Service, Leadership, & Management, with a concentration in International Education, throwing myself head first into the deep end.
I may or may not have had a couple of moments that actually brought me to tears when I started meeting people working in International Education, squeezing my first steps into this massive network of International Educators, and realizing that I wasn’t alone in wanting to create such a life for myself.
After completing my Master’s in February, which was as much of a personal learning experience as an academic one, I set out to find the next chapter, the next puzzle piece of my global career path, which is now my international move to the UK! I’m simultaneously working on my TESOL Certification, and in the back of my mind considering PhD programs in the long-term.
I’ve been keeping an open mind of what international career is “the one” for me. Other things I’ve done include: making a conscious effort to attend more International Education and travel and tourism conferences worldwide (NAFSA and beyond!), signing up for IE newsletters (like SPS! And PIE in the UK), reaching out to colleagues and classmates on LinkedIn, joining relevant Facebook groups — whatever it takes to keep learning and stay inspired and focused in my everyday life.
What tips do you have for others who are trying to find their global career path?
I’d say, the first step is realizing that if you’ve decided to embark on a global career path, you’re already there. My advice is to go out in the field and get practical experience. Lead programs, interact with the students who make it all worth it, don’t be afraid to intern at whatever age.
Meet people who are doing what you want to be doing. Find organizations and universities you love and figure out what kinds of jobs they have, who works there, and where and how they do their jobs. Follow your gut instinct.
If a job doesn’t feel right, it’s not right, even if it seems like there are no other options. I also suggest making a bucket list. Force yourself to live your life to the fullest, and go out there and live your dream life. It’s possible! And never too late to do what you love.
Thanks, Amanda! And keep us posted on your new job in the UK!
Got a question for Amanda? Or about relaunching yourself into a global career after being abroad? Let us know in the comments!
About the Author: A recent graduate of SIT Graduate Institute with a MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, & Management, Amanda also holds a BA in Psychology and a minor in Education from Vassar College. Originally from Long Island, N.Y., but currently in the midst of an international life/career move to the United Kingdom, Amanda is an enthusiastic traveler actively completing her lifelong bucket list. You can follow Amanda on Twitter and find her on Tumblr.