Returning home from studying or interning abroad can be challenging for many reasons; in my personal experience, reassimilating to the American lifestyle and reuniting with friends from home were both much more difficult than I was anticipating. I was grateful to have navigated that time in my life with the help of CEA, through the Alumni Ambassador program.
The program provides different opportunities, support, and challenges for everyone, and is designed to work around you -- your schedule and your interests. I’ve compiled my top five reasons for joining (and continuing to work with!) the CEA Alumni Ambassador program.
1. Understand and share your study abroad experience in a productive way. Avoid becoming the “I studied abroad and it changed my life!!!” stereotype by learning how to talk about your experiences in the professional sphere. The Alumni Ambassador program also creates a space to share your stories with other like-minded, genuinely interested people.
2. Spread the joy! If you loved your study abroad experience, the Alumni Ambassador program is an easy and fun way to help other people to do the same.
3. Helloooo, networking! Meet and chat with other ambassadors during bi-weekly Skype meetings. For my first semester as an ambassador, my senior ambassador went to college close to me, and we were able to connect over the hard winters in upstate New York. Regardless of where in the country (or world!) you are, your fellow ambassadors likely have similar interests to you and can definitely be valuable professional resources in the future.
4. Build your resume. Adding the Alumni Ambassador experience to my resume has been hugely helpful in making my resume stand out. On more than one occasion, employers have asked me specifically about the program. Here’s me on the first day of my dream internship – which I definitely scored thanks to my experiences abroad!!
5. Continue broadening your horizons. The Alumni Ambassador program offers unique opportunities to continue growing and learning once you get back to the States. Attend conferences dedicated entirely to easing the transition of returning home, and even apply to be an On-Site Ambassador in your study abroad city.
Abigail Haley is the Fall 2018 Alumni Ambassador in Paris, France, and is currently studying at Ithaca College.