Attending Lessons From Abroad allowed me to reflect upon my time in Seville, Spain, last spring and carry these experiences with me forever. I realized that studying abroad should be a part of your education journey that seamlessly transitions from events leading up to studying abroad, to actually pursuing it and continuing to blossom afterwards. The Lessons From Abroad Conference gave me insight on reflecting on my time abroad, personally branding myself and hearing about internationally focused careers. I'll dive into some of my main takeaways below! (Pictured above: Taking in the sun on my solo trip in San Sebastian, Basque Country - Spring 2019)
Study Abroad Me vs. Old Me:
The keynote speaker, Jean Stanula, introduced a very simple yet effective concept. While studying abroad everyone has felt a sense of empowerment, whether it be trying a rare dish or even traveling solo for the weekend. After coming back from your study abroad adventures, you want to continue being brave and confident. That mindset of being brave and adaptable is just as important back in the States as it is anywhere else! Stanula emphasized on asking ourselves, "What would “Study Abroad Me” do?" Would it be that you want to go to a concert solo or even explore your own city like a tourist? Being in the mindset of your “Study Abroad Self,” you will find yourself exploring and learning the way you did overseas. It is important to maintain these characteristics of being adventurous yet adaptable that you have gained while studying in a foreign country and intertwining them into your daily life back home.
|Exploring my "second home," Seville - Spring 2019|
Personally Branding Myself:
Now that you have come back from studying abroad, keep in mind the way you word your experience abroad on a resume or at an interview -- because that story or those skills could land you your dream job! Some panelists brought up great points about the importance of analyzing moments during your time abroad that were challenging or different. These moments could range from figuring out the best way of getting to class with a language barrier, or just ordering the correct type of coffee. Although each and everyone’s study abroad experience is different, many of us come back with an array of interpersonal skills that we have gained while abroad. It is vital to identify these individual skills and really show them off while sharing a snippet of your study abroad experience to a potential employer.
|Enjoying the views of Asilah, Morocco - Spring 2019|
Internationally Focused Careers:
I did not realize the number of career paths you can take that have a global impact! Many of the panelists discussed working with non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Some organizations include humanitarian work, while others focus more on cultural exchanges between the U.S. and other countries. International relationships are needed in many areas, ranging from business to government, and everything in between. Just remember that the sky's the limit for opportunities to tie your passion to your career.
Lessons from Abroad was a great reminder of ways to bridge the gap between my study abroad experience I had and who I am as a person onward.
Gabby Ciuteikis is a CEA Alumni Ambassador who studied abroad in Seville, Spain, during the Spring 2019 semester. She is currently a student at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Gabrielle Ciuteikis is the Spring 2019 Alumni Ambassador in Seville, Spain, and is currently studying at University of Illinois at Chicago.