Just this week I completed a survey for someone's dissertation (having worn student-researcher shoes I always respond to surveys). One survey question asked me to report "why you decided to work in international education". There were a number of choices to put in rank order, including: committed to developing global citizens, personal intercultural experiences, want to make a difference, desire to travel, stable career, salary incentives (hahaha!), and others. To tell you the truth, I struggled with this task more than I should have.
Why is it I wanted to do this work again?!?
This is my 15th year. At this point study abroad is a well-worn career path. If I think back to when I first made a commitment to pursue a study abroad job I wanted to make a difference and had this deep desire to help others become global citizens, particularly students from backgrounds where international travel seemed out of reach.
I'm now at an institution that allows me to fulfill those goals. This is probably why it still feels satisfying all these years later. Yet I will be the first to admit that, setting aside the lofty do-goodism stuff, there's also nice comfort in a stable cyclical university job. Every day is different, but I generally know what is coming. I know when to predict the crazy weeks. And it's summer now so the change of pace helps me to recharge. Over time I've grown to see job satisfaction isn't just about the type of industry you work in, but also finding happiness in what your days look like.
Completing that survey also pushed me to reflect upon the Study Abroad Careers community. So many of you are just starting out in your international education journey. I continue to be inspired by how hard study abroad job seekers work to break into the field these days. It seems like a good time to touch base and ask, what's your why? Is it the same do-goodism? The possibility of travel? The chance to follow in the footsteps of a mentor? Something else?
Comment below to let me know:
Why do you want to find a study abroad job? What drives you?