CEA interviewed an Aix-en-Provence alumna to get a sense of how study or internship abroad programs impact the career success, personal and professional development of post-international education students. Read Part 1 here and Part 2 below.
There is no day-to-day & it's exciting
CEA: What are you doing now, and what is your typical routine at GoAbroad? Any other fun positions you had prior to this?
These days I’m the Content and Digital Media Manager/Editor at GoAbroad. Before my full time position with GoAbroad, I did a little social media work with CEA to promote my program while I was abroad and I worked with my university’s external relations office as an ambassador in our gear shop—talking to prospective students about Colorado State and everything that makes Fort Collins such a great town. I even had to get certified as a city tourism ambassador. So if you have questions about Fort Collins, Colorado, I’ve got answers!
Initially, I started working with GoAbroad as an intern the summer before my semester abroad, then I got involved writing for them when I returned, and by the time graduation rolled around I was accepting my full time position as an editor. I’ve now been working full time for about two years. I wish I could say there was a typical day at GoAbroad! Part of the fun of working in the field and as a content manager is that things are always changing, and we’re always trying new things.
On any given day, after that first (or second) cup of coffee and first round of emails, I could be editing articles written by my amazing team of writers around the world, writing an article or two myself, designing an infographic, putting together our next ebook/travel resource, or editing videos. I love that I’ve gotten to explore my creativity, put my travel experience to work, and genuinely have fun each and every day. Who knew you could get paid to talk about how much you love traveling, and inspire others to do it?! I certainly didn’t—at least, not until I studied abroad.
|A smiley pic of me in Berlin with a buddy bear!|
Studying abroad pointed me true north.
CEA: How did study abroad help you decide on your career field?
Obviously to a degree I knew about the field of travel and international education, but I didn’t really know about it until I started my internship with GoAbroad and studied abroad with CEA. Even then, I went abroad hell-bent on being a music journalist. It’s kind of crazy to think about! Now, I can’t even imagine what my life would look like if I hadn’t studied abroad and decided to pursue work in international education once I got home. Maybe I’d be wearing a little more eyeliner? Who knows?!
My experience in Aix with CEA helped me to realize that I am my best self when I’m traveling. I feel the most me, the most empowered. I want others to have the opportunity to discover (or rediscover) themselves abroad. I know they’ll never have the same experience and revelations as I did, but I want that door to be open to them, I want it to be more accessible. That has really informed a lot of my work and content initiatives with GoAbroad. It’s what continues to guide me through my career and life path.
|On top of the church at St. Marie de la Mer|
Life as a CEA alumna & what to do later
CEA: How has being a CEA alumna helped you in your career/interviews/personal life?
Talking about travel internships and study abroad is the best answer to almost any interview question that gets thrown at you. There is always a story or scenario you can draw on and relate back to in interviews. Obviously, you have to be a little cool about it. Depending on the field/job, you don’t want every answer to start with “Well, when I studied abroad in…” I just happen to be lucky enough to work in a field where almost every answer should start that way.
I love being a CEA alumna because not only is there an awesome network of fellow alumni to connect with across the globe, but it makes the world a little smaller even when I go to regional and national conferences in international education. My first stop at conferences is always the CEA booth to say hi! It’s been a wonderful way to make fast friends in a big field, especially because those bigger conferences can be a little intimidating for first timers!
My study abroad experience and being a CEA alumna has also led me to my next step in my life and career—pursuing graduate studies in intercultural and international communication at the American University School of International Service. Being able to synthesize my experiences abroad along with the importance and impact of study abroad, the field of international education, and intercultural exchange is definitely something that gave me an edge in my application. So, for anyone looking at wowing admissions officers at graduate schools...study abroad is the way to go!Erin O. is a CEA Study Abroad alumnae, she studied abroad in Aix-en-Provence in the Fall of 2014. She is currently the Content Manager & Editor at GoAbroad.com.
Read more about our CEA MOJO Bloggers & Photographers.