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CEA Paris Alumni Spotlight: Shelby Crane

So here I am, back in Paris (my dream land), enjoying a freshly-baked baguette with melted're welcome for the visual, and yes, it is quite delicious. As I'm fully enjoying every minute of my return to Paris as a CEA Alumni On-Site Ambassador, I realized how many students in my CEA Paris program are actually abroad again. So, I decided to do alumni spotlights on them to showcase how easy it can be to return abroad and because, well, they've got pretty awesome gigs.

Our first CEA Paris Spring'14 alumni spotlight is Shelby Crane, a recent graduate from the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. After her semester in Paris, she needed to "get back out there" - this time to Dublin, Ireland!

 Shelby Crane, CEA Paris Spring'14 alumna

1. What is your current role?

I am a receptionist at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel in Dublin, Ireland. My day-to-day duties include managing the phones, filing various papers regarding check-in and check-out of guests, updating guest information, and various other odd jobs related to the efficiency of the hotel. I'm the person in the back that helps make everything in the front run more smoothly.

2. What do you enjoy about your role?

I like the international setting. I am the only American working at the hotel, so I have met people from all over the world - mostly Ireland and Eastern Europe. It makes work much more interesting when you're working with Irish, Croatians, and Italians, to name a few!

3. Why did you choose to study abroad?

Studying abroad was something I wanted to do for as long as I could remember. I thought it would be my only chance to spend time living abroad (little did I know)! I wanted to spend time in a place entirely different from where I was used to, and Paris certainly lived up to those expectations.

4. Did your career goals change after studying abroad?

Completely! I NEVER saw moving to Dublin in my life plans until study abroad when I went to Dublin for a weekend with a few friends from my program. Until then, I imagined myself moving to NYC or Boston after graduation. I also never expected to work in a hotel, but considering hospitality management was my major in college, it's not too far off from my career path.

 Dating back to the 14th Century, the Temple Bar is one of the most frequented areas of Dublin. It is widely known for its museums, markets, restaurants and nightlife.

5. Did your study abroad experience contribute to your current role or professional life?

Study abroad made me more comfortable with the thought of living abroad post-grad. Especially after Paris and having to deal with the language barriers and some pretty significant cultural differences, the idea of moving to Dublin became much less daunting than it probably would have been if I hadn't studied abroad.

6. What is one piece of advice you would give to students who are studying abroad now?

Take advantage of it as much as you can! Continue exploring through the homesickness and the hardships of getting acquainted with your new life. It will fly by, and you will never have that much freedom to travel again. Even though I'm living in Ireland, I am working full-tine. Those 3-day weekends don't last!

7. What is one piece of advice you would give to study abroad alumni who are searching for opportunities abroad?

Use your resources! On my first day of my senior year, I mentioned to my hotel management professor that I wanted to get a job in Dublin in a hotel. By creating that initial relationship and through the power of networking through my professor, I was able to lock down the job at the hotel last September! It truly is all about networking. Use it, especially in college. As for the most part, all professors want is to see their students succeed. Don't be afraid to reach out and ask for help if you need it.

8. What has been the biggest challenge about working abroad?

More like what hasn't been a challenge? I think my biggest challenge has been entering "adulthood" in an unfamiliar, foreign setting. Something I have learned is that being a beginner in adulthood is hard enough, but add on the daily frustrations from living abroad, it can be a bit scary. But that's when having experience from studying abroad is so helpful. If I'm having a tough time, I remember how it felt to have those exact feelings in Paris and I remembered how it got easier, so it will get easier here as well. Spending a semester in Paris was probably one of the best decisions I ever could have made. I constantly find myself nostalgic for those four glorious months!

Amy Johnson is a CEA Paris alumna (Spring ’14), recent grad from The University of Arizona (Spring'15), and is currently a CEA Alumni On-Site Ambassador in Paris, France.

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