Student Affairs International

Working in student affairs has given me an opportunity to meet so many incredible folks who challenge and inspire me. One of those people is my dear friend Kristal. She was in my cohort and we spent many nights writing papers and working on our portfolio reflections. When it came time to job search, Kristal wanted an international position and spent time networking and researching international opportunities. She had multiple job offers, and is working as a First Year Transitions Coordinator at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

I introduce you to Kristal for many reasons. One of which is because she is all around awesome and one of my best friends. Also, I want to make you aware there are international opportunities for folks in our field. Many of our colleagues working abroad are creating new and innovative practices everyday, and this is an exciting time for international education.

I am clearly not an expert at landing a job opportunity abroad (I work in Colorado!), but want to share a few tips for folks who might be looking for international opportunities out of graduate school.  Most of my tips come from my friends who work abroad.

-          Intern at an international programs office or study abroad office.
-          Network, network, network! Most of the folks I know working abroad are great networkers. They connected with colleagues abroad via e-mail, Skype, had meetings at conferences, and made connections through faculty members in our program.
-          Complete an internship abroad. I blogged about this a few weeks ago, and there are many opportunities for international internships. My friend Kristal went to Trinidad and Tobago, I have another friend who went to Switzerland, there are opportunities in Qatar, Morocco, Ireland, and the list goes on. I remember Kristal just started e-mailing universities in areas she was wanted to intern. 
-          Participate in a short-term study abroad program or complete an international exchange.
-          If your graduate program does not have opportunities for international travel, help create opportunities. Create a database of international internships and a second database of graduate programs that do study programs or international exchanges. Many professional associations are also creating exchange programs.
-          Research. Jobs are available and you might have to take extra time to do the research. NASPA’s Placement Exchange had several international positing.
-          Conduct informational interviews with colleagues living abroad. I know several folks who landed jobs just by talking to folks and asking questions.
-          Focus your assignments on international opportunities. Write research papers on internationalization, pick colleagues living abroad to interview for assignments, or write a functional area paper from the lens of a student affairs professional living abroad.

This list could continue and grow to be pretty long, so please feel free to contact me if you have questions about working abroad. I can get you connected with colleagues who are doing amazing work!

Stefanie Lucas

Student Affairs - the First Years

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