Testing the Waters

A few weekends ago, I lent F&S two books of mine. One of them, Unaccustomed Earth, opens with a quote by Nathaniel Hawthorne, which F&S discusses. Unlike my dear F&S, I’m definitely afflicted with wanderlust. I thought I was destined to return to the Wenatchee Valley when I first left home for college, but now I realize I probably will not “settle” anywhere for a long, long time. My future plans include having very few plans and being very open for opportunities all over the world, as long as they are in acceptable cities. More on that later, though.

That brings me to graduate school. I will be living in a different state for the first time, and I have every intention on making myself another home in Corvallis. You see, as a student affairs professional, one of my biggest aims will be to build community. After all, community is one basis for feeling “at home.”

However, in addition to that, I have a feeling I am going to really push to specialize in international programs. Having never formally studied abroad, though, I may be at a disadvantage. Luckily, I do have my GeoVisions tutoring experience, as well as a bit of traveling experience, and my awesome, amazing, and sometimes ridiculous motivation to be the best.

What’s the point? I’m getting there.

Yesterday, I did a bit more research into universities abroad, specifically in Germany. It’s easier to narrow the focus, one area at a time. Anyway. If I’m going to intern abroad, I need to find acceptable areas in which to intern, and then match those areas with institutions that are willing and capable of helping me learn.

Besides international programs (which, let’s face it, is a very broad category), I have interests in career services, orientation (a.k.a., an initial opportunity to build community), and distance learning. Additionally, I have an interest in serving underrepresented communities, which makes me a strong candidate for multicultural programs, and it also has given me an interest in serving the growing US military and veteran college population.

Okay, so in my recent research, I found out that a certain American university has a partnership with a Germany university, and they have a small administrative staff that works with students, putting them into acceptable programs. One of the staff members works with internship placement– which is fairly normal, only she’s working with placing American students into German companies.

I think it would be great to intern for the internship coordinator, and see what challenges arise in coordinating the students’ internships. Or see what types of challenges come up when designing partnership programs overseas. I see work like this as a great opportunity to apply my career services interest, my international (and travel) interest, and also as a way to explore community-building. It makes me so giddy thinking about it. I think that’s a fairly good sign that I’m finding a good area to go into.

I’m hopeful that I can make these ideas happen, and I think I’ll be able to pull it off if I want to badly enough. Like I said earlier, what I need to do is remain open to opportunities I may not hear about until later. Open mind, open heart– it’s a good way to be.

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