Are you interested in learning more about Instanbul, Turkey? Our Study Abroad Alumnus, Nate Hovee directed, produced, and edited this travel documentary that provides a comprehensive inside look at the very best sights and cultural experiences that Turkey’s largest city has to offer. Additionally, it introduces the study abroad program at Yeditepe University (on the Asian side of Istanbul), which is made possible through an international exchange partnership with Western Kentucky University. Instanbul: An Introduction
Welcome back new and returning Hilltoppers! We are happy to have everyone back on campus and are looking forward to a great year! Make sure you stop by and visit us in Grise Hall 128 or make an appointment with a peer advisor or study abroad advisor on our new StudioAbroad site! If you have any troubles with it come to the office and we’ll be happy to show you how to use it!
Mark your calendars! September 18th from 10:00am-3:00pm in MMTH Lobby, we’ll be having our Study Abroad Fair. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram so you can stay informed with upcoming news & events!
Also, soon to come…Stories from Abroad…follow our WKU student’s blogs as they study abroad! From the Hilltop to the World!
Study Abroad Helps Recent Graduates Find Career Opportunities
Intercultural competence, interpersonal skills, language skills, and a global professional network are what set study abroad alumni apart from others in this competitive job market. Research shows that studying abroad builds students’ repertoire of skills and gives them additional qualifications, in turn, improving their chances of securing a position after graduation. Investing in these opportunities has proven to be extremely beneficial for many WKU alumni. Seven graduates share their stories about landing a career, largely due to their international experiences.
Ali Edelstein (’12) landed her current position as EducationUSA adviser and Fulbright Program Manager at the Commission for Educational Exchange between the United States and Belgium after a semester long internship. It was through the contacts she made during her semester abroad at Vesalius College in Brussels that she was able to line up the position. Edelstein believes that the independence she developed during her study abroad program helped prepare her for the position and most recently for admittance into the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where she plans to obtain her Master’s starting in the fall of 2014.
An internship in Florence, Italy proved to be life-changing for 2013 graduate Kayla Spelling. Her internship with award-winning advertising and public relations agency, ImageWest, is what set her apart. Spelling gained valuable experience while abroad, producing marketing materials for Lorenzo de’ Medici, an Italian study abroad program provider. Today, Spelling is fulfilling her dream of working overseas, serving as a full-time videographer and editor with Lorenzo de’ Medici.
Language competency is a skill that Melanie Jones acquired through a summer studying in Spain, leading her to a successful career abroad. Jones, a 2010 graduate with a degree in International Business and Spanish, reflects on her language skills as being significantly improved while abroad. “I lived with a host family, which forced me to speak Spanish every day and not just in class.” After graduating from WKU, Jones moved to Chile and was employed by I Love Chile, an English language newspaper in Santiago. Since February of 2013, she has been working for Araya y Cia Abogados, an international law office in Santiago, as a Spanish-English translator & communications assistant. “By studying abroad I learned to be more self-reliant,” says Jones. “My boss runs not just one, but four companies, making it important that his employees are independent and responsible enough to take care of tasks on their own.”
Other WKU alumni have been successful leveraging their study abroad experiences to find employment in the United States. Blake Egbert graduated in December of 2012 and now works for B&H Tool Works, Inc. in Richmond, Ky. as the Domestic & International Sales Coordinator, a position which enables him to travel to China at least once a year. “When I was hired by the company, the President told me that my résumé stood out,” Egbert explains. Spending a semester of his undergraduate career on an exchange program in St. Etienne, France made him a more diverse and experienced candidate, ultimately leading to him being chosen for the position.
As one of the largest companies in Bowling Green, Fruit of the Loom employs many WKU graduates. When Amanda Brown (’10) interviewed for her position as Staff Internal Auditor, her supervisor asked how she felt about international travel. Brown recalls how impressed the interviewer was when she described her experiences abroad and what skills and abilities she could transfer to a career. “He felt confident that he could send me to any of our international locations because of my prior international experience,” said Jones. Christina Hale (’12), who works as Social Compliance Coordinator for the company, auditing the international factories, had a similar experience during the interview process. Her interviewers were particularly interested in her Spanish language skills and felt assured that she had gained a level of fluency during a program in Mexico which would be particularly beneficial for the position.
Dr. Fred Carter, coordinator of the international student teaching program at WKU, reports that student teachers who complete the last month of their student teaching abroad have been tremendously successful at obtaining teaching positions after graduation. Nickie Gentry, 2009 graduate, interviewed at three elementary schools and each time was asked about her teaching experience in Spain. She accepted a position at Briarwood Elementary in Bowling Green, where she currently works. As a result of student teaching in Spain, Gentry feels she is able better relate to the international students.
The success of these seven alumni and others illustrates the outstanding benefits that continue far beyond the completion of a study abroad program. Furthermore, these stories support findings from a recent IES survey, which revealed 97% of graduates who studied abroad were able to find employment within one year of graduation and earned an average of $7,000 more than those who had no study abroad experience.
WKU and the Office of Study Abroad and Global Learning (SAGL) promote international opportunities as an avenue for learning, growing and discovering new ways of thinking, living, and communicating. Explore the SAGL website to learn how you can travel From the Hilltop to the World®.
Next week (starting Monday!), the Study Abroad and Global Learning Office will begin taping a Thank You video for all of those who work so hard behind the scenes to get you from the Hilltop to the World! Come show your appreciation to those who helped you get abroad by recording a Thank You message! Filming times and locations to be announced soon! Hope to see as many Study Abroad students as possible!
The social network Exchanges Connect recently asked students to define “culture.” As you may imagine there were quite a variety of responses. Check out some of the definitions provided by international and study abroad students. Visit What is Culture?
Who said study abroad is only for students? On July 10th 43 members of the WKU community traveled to China through a program arranged by the Confucius Institute. Throughout their three-week stay in this country, the participants will work on their Chinese language skills, learn and embrace the Chinese culture, visit amazing locations and more importantly, create memories that will last a lifetime.
To follow the group’s activities, check out the official Confucius Institute blog:
Come to the international baseball night on Saturday, August 27th at 7pm or join us earlier at 5.30pm for a Baseball 101 explanation course and tour! The office of Study Abroad and Global Learning in cooperation with the Office of International Programs sells tickets with a special reduced price of $5 a ticket! Come get your tickets at the Sofia Downing International Center located on 1536 state street (the building with the flags outside).
Dear students, faculty and staff,
Save the date! On September 28th between 11am and 2pm, the office of Study Abroad and Global Learning will have their bi-annual Study Abroad Fair at the Downing University Center (DUC). The events will be hosted outside on the lawn, if the weather permits us, and otherwise in the mezzanine. Come visit us, and our programs, between 11am and 2pm on September 28th, 2011!
Martin Buber once wrote, “Each of us is encased in an armour which we soon, out of familiarity, no longer notice. There are only moments which penetrate it and stir the soul to sensibility.” For Sarah Hagan, that inspirational moment occurred during her study abroad experience through Semester at Sea in the fall of 2010. With several other students, Sarah travelled in Ghana from Takoradi to Senase. It was there that she and her colleagues became inspired by their interaction with the community and the school children. From this encounter Sarah and the other students founded The Senase Project, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to “eradicate poverty through community involvement.” The Office of Study Abroad and Global Learning applauds Sarah’s initiative and for finding such a creative way to apply what she learned through study abroad to the real world. To learn more about The Senase Project visit the following website: http://www.thesenaseproject.org
The office of Study Abroad and Global Learning would like to congratulate Joey Wallace as he received a $3,000 Gilman Scholarship for his study abroad program to the University of Sterling in Scotland. Joey Wallace is going through CCIS and will be leaving in the Fall.