Marketing a Study Abroad Experience

Syracuse Abroad recently held a small workshop on how to market a study abroad experience. The workshop mainly focused on how to market experiences that did not involve an internship, which may not be completely obvious to students. Detailed below are some of the main lessons from the workshop.

To begin with, most students do not put their study abroad experience on their resume when they should. For students who have studied abroad, the experience may seem commonplace, but it is still something under 10% of all US undergrads participate in. A study abroad experience is unique, and can set someone apart from other job-seekers. On a resume, it should be placed in the education section, either as a bullet under the main undergraduate institution, or as a standalone academic experience.

Even if a student’s study abroad program involves no internship, experiences on the trip can be relevant in a job interview or in a cover letter. Many job interview questions are personality-based in nature, asking the applicant to talk about how they think, how they work with others and how they operate under stressful conditions. Study abroad experiences can present challenges in all these situations and more. For example, the typical study abroad experience often includes “thinking on one’s feet,” “learning something new,” or “taking a risk” – all frequent question topics in interviews. Because students and recent graduates do not have an expansive professional career from which to draw anecdotes, in interviews they can mine their study abroad experiences. This is also true of cover letters, where it can be equally difficult for a recent graduate to link their experiences with the job’s qualifications. Here is a sample list of job skills that job-seekers who have studied abroad may possess:

  • Language proficiency
  • Confidence
  • Independence
  • Responsibility
  • Patience
  • Budgeting
  • Initiative
  • Perseverance
  • Intellectual curiosity
  • Time management
  • Communication
  • Planning

At the same time, if a student includes a study abroad experience on their resume or cover letter, they should be prepared for the interviewer to ask them about it. For example, the interviewer may ask the student why they chose to study abroad at all, or why they chose the country they studied in. Students should be ready to answer in way that reflects positively on their decision-making skills, and not be caught flat-footed.

Leveraging a study abroad trip can also begin during the trip itself. In order to make the trip a mindful experience that one can talk fluently on afterwards, students are encouraged to keep a journal during the trip. Not only will this help students recall their experiences later, it will make them more observant during the trip and more articulate about their experiences later. Students should also be active in networking while abroad – and maintain that network when they return. This can prove to be an invaluable resource when looking for work in that country after graduation.

Lastly, some aspects of a study abroad trip are directly relevant to jobs. Students should not overlook the academic component of the trip, and how it intersects with the experiential dimension. If a student or recent graduate is finding work within their area of study, it can be useful to talk about how experiences outside the classroom enhanced their understanding of their area of study. Additionally, if the job is an international organization or diverse work environment, the intercultural skills gained in a study abroad experience will add value to the job applicant – regardless of what they studied or what type of job it is.

Maxwell’s Global Programs Homepage

Carol Tojeiro Featured in Cornell Policy Review

Today we would like to showcase the work of Maxwell student Carol Marina Tojeiro. Carol wrote a piece on gender inequality in the labor force in Argentina that was recently published in the Cornell Policy Review. The article discusses the significance of this issue in terms of Argentina’s economic growth and offers policy recommendations. Carol is a dual MA in Economics and International Relations candidate who will graduate this spring. Her experience at IOM in Ghana was previously featured on this blog.

The Key to Unlocking Argentina’s Economic Potential? Women’s Inclusion in the Labor Force

Excerpt:

Female participation in the Argentinian workforce is limited, as men comprise 75% of labor force participation, compared to just 41% of women, according to a 2016 study. While women represent a majority of Argentina’s highly educated population, various influences such as religion and traditional expectations of women and men, as well as limited options for childcare have pushed women out of the workforce to the detriment of the Argentine economy. To improve women’s access to employment and increase workforce productivity, the Argentine government must design and adopt inclusive gender-sensitive public policies, address social unrest, and measure the impact of such policies in addressing gender equality.

Carol Tojeiro.

Carol Tojeiro at the UN Migration Agency in Ghana

The Maxwell School Receives Top Ranking for International Global Policy

Today, we are featuring a recent post from the PAIA Admissions blog. U.S. News & World Report has completed its annual rankings of Public Affairs graduate programs and specialties. For 2019, the Maxwell School has been ranked fifth in the country for the International Global Policy and Administration specialty. Overall, Maxwell had ten specialties ranked within the top ten nationally.

Commenting on the rankings, Dean M. Van Slyke said:

“The strength of Maxwell’s professional programs has always been in its flexibility and diversity, drawing not only on the breadth of expertise of its public administration and policy faculty but also its award-winning social science disciplinary scholars.”

Maxwell students focusing on International Global Policy not only enjoy a top ranked specialty, but have the ability to incorporate any of the other nationally-regarded specialties into their curriculum. On top of this, students can engage in coursework from an array of programs also housed in the Maxwell school, including Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology Economics, Geography and History.

Please see the link below for the full article:

The Maxwell School Ranks Top 10 for 10 Public Affairs Specialties

 

Maxwell Programs in East Asia

The Maxwell School offers a variety of opportunities to study or work in East Asia. Through Syracuse University’s partnerships with foreign colleges and companies, students have the chance to live, work (and play) in some of the biggest cultural, political or business centers in the region. Funding to offset airfare and any changes in the cost of living are offered for all opportunities, and is quite generous in some instances.

Beijing. (nemomemini @Flickr)

The Beijing program is offered each fall. Syracuse University runs a center in Beijing in partnership with Tsinghua University, the most prestigious university in China. Tsinghua is located in Beijing’s Wudaokou neighborhood, a student area home to several universities. Maxwell students have the option of taking courses through the center – which offers SU courses taught by SU faculty – or taking graduate courses in English at Tsinghua’s School of Public Policy. Participants can enroll in courses across the social sciences, including Anthropology, Economics, History, Political Science and Public Administration, most of which are China-themed. On top of courses, part-time internships are also available for 1 to 3 credits. Past placements include Chinese NGOs, PR firms, the US Embassy in Beijing and various Chinese research organizations.

Singapore. (Copyright: Google)

The Singapore program is a summer internship program. As Singapore is one of Asia’s leading international business hubs, students typically work full-time at finance, business or trade-related organizations. Past placements have included US multinationals, TEMASEK (a Singapore sovereign wealth fund), and the American Chamber of Commerce. Maxwell students can take up to six credits – their internship and an independent study.

Seoul. (HR AN@Flickr)

The Maxwell School also offers fall programs at local universities in Seoul or Tokyo. Both programs offer a diverse set of social science courses, in an Asian context. In Seoul, graduate students take International Relations coursework in English at Yonsei University or Korea University. It is possible for students to intern while studying, but this program does not help with placement. Students interested in studying in Japan can do so at Waseda University’s Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies, located in downtown Tokyo. No Japanese language skills are required, but students must enroll in Japanese language courses while studying.

The Maxwell School’s List of Global Programs

SU Beijing

Singapore Summer Internship Program

World Partner Program in Seoul

World Partner Program in Tokyo

Maxwell Students Make a Difference in Nepal

Rachel Penner was searching for a summer internship in 2015, when a staff member recommended that she connect with Beau Miller, a 2010 MPA graduate and the Executive Director of a development NGO in Nepal known as Aythos.

Beau was excited to take Rachel on board with Aythos to work on post-earthquake recovery. Upon arrival in Nepal, Rachel was thrust into the earthquake recovery efforts using her specialty in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) to serve devastated villagers outside of Kathmandu.

Two Maxwell students, Jeffrey Pu and Trace Carlson, followed in Rachel’s footsteps and interned at Aythos in 2017. As an MPA student, Jeff first had to complete the MPA Workshop with a team of fellow students for the U.S. Department of Justice designing a human rights and human dignity course for foreign police. After wrapping this project up, Jeff hopped on a plane to Nepal. Upon arrival, Aythos put Jeff to work doing program evaluation for one of their projects by designing and distributing a survey to local villagers. After two months working for Aythos, Jeff found himself taking another long haul flight to Berlin, where he is currently finishing his MPP at the Hertie School of Governance as part of the Atlantis Transatlantic Dual Degree Program.

Jeffrey Pu in Nepal

Trace Carlson won a Foreign Languages and Area Studies Fellowship (FLAS) from the Moynihan Institute’s South Asia Center. With this fellowship, Trace journeyed to India to study Hindi, but was most interested in applying his academic knowledge to the field. After reaching out to Beau, Trace found himself heading to Nepal to conduct research on kiwi fruit agriculture for Aythos. Immediately, Trace found it very eye opening to compare the gap between research and field implementation. One had to be flexible and ready for anything. He once had to carry five kilograms of potatoes down a mountain for a village family, just because they asked him to.

Local Aythos staff receive feedback on kiwi fruit cultivation

On February 22, Beau, Rachel, Jeff, and Trace all came together on a Skype presentation for SU students interested in interning at Aythos. All agreed that it was one of the most fulfilling experiences of their lives and were completely humbled by the kindness and generosity of the people in Nepal. They fondly remembered backpacking into villages after encountering washed out roads—while dealing with leeches on the way—only to find countless cups of tea pushed on them upon arriving. While students spent about half their time in Kathmandu, they genuinely felt the impact of projects while working in the villages.

An Aythos staff member talks to a farmer. Women’s empowerment is a goal of the organization, since many Nepalese men go abroad to work leaving women to manage farms and businesses independently.

Maxwell’s partnership with Aythos fulfills the goal of professional degrees by creating graduates who are resilient and ready to enter a career upon graduation. According to Beau Miller, “If you can work in Nepal, you can work anywhere.”

Temple in Kathmandu

Maxwell’s MAIR Degree

Atlantis Transatlantic Dual Degree

Nepal Connections:

Trace Carlson Conducts Research in Hindi

Students Work with Nepalese Communities in Earthquake Recovery

Ashley Saulcy Works on Political Transition in Nepal – Part 1

Ashley Saulcy Works on Political Transition in Nepal – Part 2

Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu
Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu

Kevin Oswald Interns at the German Embassy in Washington, DC

Kevin Oswald is a current Atlantis Program student at the Maxwell School. This past summer he participated in the Maxwell-in-Washington program.

This summer, I had the opportunity to intern with the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Washington D.C. within the framework of the Maxwell-in-Washington summer program. The Federal Foreign Office (FFO), i.e. the counterpart of the U.S. Department of State, represents Germany’s interests to the world, promotes international exchange, seeks collaboration with the respective host government, and offers protection and assistance to Germans abroad.

DC tidal pool and Jefferson Memorial.

During my time at the embassy I was deployed in the Economic Affairs Department, where apart from members of the FFO, numerous representatives of the various federal ministries serve. Hence, I gained valuable insight into the broad range of economic- and science-policy activities of the embassy. Moreover, I regularly took part in internal meetings which allowed me to become acquainted with the workings of a German foreign mission.

In support of my colleagues, I conducted extensive research for the drafting of an annual energy-policy report. I had to intensively examine the U.S. energy sector and present the results in detail in a multiple-page report highlighting the development of both conventional and renewable energies in the U.S. I also drafted a report on the differences between U.S. and EU competition law against the backdrop of the European Commission ruling against Google. Last but not least, I was given the task to perform research on individual candidates for high-level positions within the Trump-administration.

Kevin Oswald with other Germany Embassy interns.

What stood out as a unique aspect of the internship is the fact that I got to attend many different interesting events all across Washington D.C., such as the presentation of Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance’s New Energy Outlook 2017 at the Center for International and Strategic Studies and the annual independence day celebration at the Embassy of Cabo Verde. Moreover, I had the chance to visit several institutions, such as the World Bank, the French Embassy, and the Pentagon as part of a delegation from the German Embassy.

In sum, there is no doubt that the internship offered a great overview of both what the Economics Department and the embassy do and of what diplomacy and the complicated relations between think tanks, embassies and U.S. departments in Washington D.C. can look like.

Kevin Oswald Explores European Energy Diversity at Student Conference

Atlantis Program

Maxwell-in-Washington Global Program

Alejandro Icazbalceta Interns at the US Small Business Administration

Alejandro Icazbalceta graduated from the Maxwell School in 2017 with an MA in International Relations. He participated in the Maxwell-in-Washington Global Program in the summer of 2017.

This summer, I had the opportunity to intern in Washington DC at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

The Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the U.S. Federal Government to aid, counsel, assist, and protect the interests of small business enterprises. The mission of the SBA is to reach into the corners of the United States to promote entrepreneurship, small business growth, and to strengthen the U.S. economy by providing the critical funding, counseling, oversight, and administrative support to small business.

The most relevant of my tasks were:

  • Oversaw the policies, regulations, and constraints that affect small business creation and expansion
  • Develop recommendations, policies, and technical assistance tools for small businesses
  • Participate in international trade projects
  • Development of entrepreneurial initiatives to support the creation of small business
  • Meetings with foreign business delegations

This internship experience was an incredible tool for my professional profile since most of my previous professional experience was mainly in the Mexican governmental sector designing public policy projects. However, the most effective policy against poverty, marginalization and inequality is labor income. Thus, the SBA was the best place for understanding these factors and how they interact together to create economic prosperity.

Alejandro at the SBA.

Finally, my internship at the SBA provided me with a greater understanding about how to strengthen small and medium enterprises, which in the end means greater levels of prosperity and opportunities for lower social classes. Moreover, this internship taught me that an effective government with a dynamic private sector is the most powerful combination for economic and social progress.

Maxwell MAIR Degree

Maxwell-in-Washington Program

Ana Monzon Spends a Semester Abroad in the Paris Institute of Political Studies, Sciences Po

Ana Monzon graduated from the Maxwell School in August 2017 with a joint Master of Arts in International Relations – Master of Public Administration degree. She spent her last semester abroad, participating in the Sciences Po Global Program in the spring.

I began my final full semester as a grad student in NYC, just two weeks before departing for Paris. I took the course United Nations Managing for Change at the UN Headquarters. Thanks to Professor Catherine Bertini, my class was able to gain insight into the UN system from UN leaders, past and present. This was my second class with a role model for me in the field of global food security; I took Ms. Bertini’s Food Security class in Rome on my first semester at Maxwell.

Ana at the Sciences Po main campus.

Immediately after at Sciences Po, I studied with Olivier De Schutter, former UN Special Rapporteur to the Right to Food. On my Fulbright Fellowship in 2012, I had informed much of my research on the agricultural development in rural Brazil from De Schutter’s academic work. Being taught by him on a weekly basis in Paris was surreal; each and every class! For my final project I titled my reform’s proposal; A State-led Agri-food Development System Based on Savings-Based Women Associations and Agroecology. I could not believe I was writing a paper for THE expert on global hunger issues!  I still can’t.

Alongside former U.N. Special Rapporteur to the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter.

My other courses at Sciences Po allowed me to delve further into land tenure and property rights, and gender issues. This focus and subsequent academic research products led me to my final grad student placement in Tetra Tech ARD, one of the largest consulting and contracting firms in international development. Specifically, I gathered the Lessons Learned for all the projects under the 700 million USD USAID STARR IDIQ (contract) that the Land Tenure and Property Rights Sector of Tetra Tech ARD implemented around the world.

Ana and her Tetra Tech supervisors, Dr. Mark Freudenberger and Ms. Amy Regas, after the Lessons Learned presentation to USAID leaders from its Office of Land and Urban .

Being at Tetra Tech ARD meant, sadly, foregoing a language fellowship in Indonesia that I was awarded from the Critical Language Study Program of the U.S. Department of State, which I would attribute to my first graduate internship with the Millennium Challenge Corporation in Indonesia.

Yet, I wouldn’t change a thing in my Master’s journey. All has come full circle. Currently, I am a Fulbright Public Policy scholar in my home country, Guatemala. My placement at the Vice Ministry of Food and Nutritional Security of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Government of Guatemala enables me to employ all the knowledge gained in international affairs and public administration at the Maxwell School and Sciences Po.

Alongside community leaders from the “Cooperativa Integral Agrícola Joya Hermosa de las Tres Cruces R.L.”, working with Heifer International on projects of indigenous corn and potato storage and employing Heifer’s “passing on the gift” approach on these staples as well as on goat herding, in Huehuetenango, Guatemala.

I am forever grateful to the financial support from the Robertson Foundation, Global Programs, Clements Award, and to the remarkable education acquired at Syracuse University and abroad in France.

Last day of the UN class in NYC, handing Professor Catherine Bertini a ‘thank you’ coffee souvenir from Indonesia, where I had previously interned with the Millennium Challenge Corporation.
Ana’s last evening in Paris, strolling along River Seine.

Ana Monzon Promotes UN Recovery Month at U.S. HHS

Ana Monzon, Indonesia Happens All Around You When Doing M&E for MCC

Maxwell MPA/MAIR Degree

Sciences Po Global Program

Badr Elbendary Practices Conflict Resolution in Washington

Badr Elbendary received his MA in International Relations from the Maxwell School in 2017. He participated in the Maxwell-in-Washington program this past fall.

I feel lucky that I had the opportunity to intern at The Tahrir Institute for ME Policy (TIMEP) last Summer while being enrolled in the MAIR program at the Maxwell School. My off-campus experience working with TIMEP in Washington, D.C. was so fulfilling and it gave me the opportunity to broaden my work experience and work closely with a leading think tank on analyzing the MENA region policies and monitoring its improvements. It related to my activism background in Egypt during and after the January 25, 2011 revolution, which shifted my interest from my previous career involving economic journalism and media to becoming a practitioner in the Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding field. My experience with TIMEP offered me a smooth transition experience.

Badr Elbendary.

At TIMEP, I worked as a member of a five-person team to research, analyze, and draft published reports for a project assessing prospects for transitional justice in Egypt. I also contributed to research direction and conducted data collection for a project documenting Egypt’s economic indicators. In addition, I managed a portfolio of research on rights and freedoms in Egypt, including delivering daily oral and written briefings to staff, identifying areas needing further research, and proposing initiatives to cover important topics.

“Washington DC” by BKL ART

I was honored to receive the Cramer award from the Maxwell School that helped me to afford my off-campus experience last Fall. It gave me the opportunity to support myself with all the requirements that guaranteed an efficient networking process with people that work in the Conflict Resolution field, attend relevant conferences, and get the opportunity of visiting and observing organizations that work in the field.

Maxwell-in-Washington

MA in International Relations

Meghan Sullivan Interns at the World Food Programme in Geneva

Meghan Sullivan is a recent graduate who completed her Master of Arts in International Relations (MAIR) in August after participating in the Graduate Internships in Geneva program and interning at the UN World Food Programme. She now works for the World Food Programme in Geneva as the External Partnerships Officer.

 The Geneva Summer Practicum was one of the reasons I chose to attend the Maxwell School, and I am so glad that I did. The practicum gave me the opportunity to intern at the UN World Food Programme (WFP) for the summer, a dream come true that led to consultancy in the same office. When I was planning my degree, I organized my studies differently from most students, saving the practicum and internship for the end of my time with the Maxwell School so that I could use the internship as a launch pad for my career. After graduating, my internship was extended for an additional five months, allowing me to gain more experience within the UN while I looked for work. In December, an External Partnerships Officer position became available and was offered to me. My studies at Maxwell and the Geneva Summer Practicum both prepared me for and directly opened the doors for me to be offered this position.

Meghan Sullivan in the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Chamber at the Palais des Nations.

In addition to the internship, the practicum included a class on international organizations and several trips throughout Switzerland. The class connected me with senior leaders in international organizations in Geneva and helped prepare me for my chosen career, while the trips helped me connect with my roots, exploring and learning about the country where my ancestors lived.

Some of the highlights of this experience have been attending the ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment at the UN Headquarters in Geneva with my colleagues from the World Food Programme, taking in the mountain views of Lake Lucerne, and exploring the Lavaux vineyards, a breathtaking UNESCO world heritage site. The most important highlight of course, has been getting hired at the World Food Programme and beginning the career I’d dreamed of at the United Nations.

Visiting the village near Geneva where my ancestors lived in the 1600s.

This has been an unforgettable experience and one that continues to change my life. It was the perfect end to my time with the Maxwell School, and I look forward to the next steps as I begin a career of international service, well prepared to carry out the Athenian Oath to “transmit this City (and, I would add, this World) not only, not less, but greater and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.”

Graduate Internships in Geneva

Maxwell MAIR