Stories that Shaped Us: From a Study Abroad Student to Professional
An ISA Dublin and Eastern Michigan University alumna, Emily Dunn recently began her career in Education Abroad. We reached out to hear more about what inspired her to study abroad with ISA in Ireland and later enter the field as a Study Abroad Advisor. Check out waht she had to say below and hear what advice she has for others wanting to do the same!
What inspired you to study abroad in Dublin?
When I came to college, I knew I was going to study abroad. Travel and exploring the world had been such a passion of mine for so long, I knew I had to take the opportunity to dive deeper into a culture while I could. When exploring my options, I came across Dublin through ISA and knew it was a perfect fit. I had familial ties to Ireland and had always wanted to visit, loved that Dublin was a big city with a small city feel, and most importantly, had classes I could take while there that went towards my graduation requirements. I was also close to an international airport where I could take flights to different countries in Europe and really make the most of my time abroad.
What were some of your favorite memories from your time abroad?
There are so many things I look fondly on when thinking about my time abroad! The people I met, the places I got to see, the classes I got to take. My favorite memory abroad has to be how close our cohort was. It was so nice to have a group of people who were always doing something, wanted to go travel, and were just as in awe of the experience as me. Within the first few weeks of knowing each other, all of us booked flights to Amsterdam for the same weekend and all traveled together. It was so much fun to have other people to have these experiences with and were trying to soak up just as much as you were in such a short amount of time.
Did your time studying abroad influence your professional development? If so, how?
Absolutely! Before going abroad, I had thought this career might be something worth pursuing, but after going abroad, I knew this was what I wanted to do. This program was so life changing for me, I knew I wanted to help other students have these experiences too. I now get to talk to students all day about traveling and how to expand their world views while pursuing their dreams! It really is a dream job.
You’re now a Study Abroad Advisor, correct? How is that going?
I am the Study Abroad Coordinator for Mercer University in Georgia and it has been fantastic. I have only been in my position for about 3 months, but I have loved every minute of it. It’s very exciting to finally be sending students abroad again and hearing their stories of all the amazing things they’re doing. It so fun learning all the small intricacies that go into making a study abroad experience feasible and getting to advise students every day on program choices, application instructions, pre-departure, and everything else study abroad related. I’ve loved getting to know my students and can’t wait to continue building relationships with them and see even more students go abroad next semester.
Do you have any tips for students interested in entering the field of International Education after graduation?
Other than going on a study abroad trip yourself, talk with your Study Abroad office! I was fortunate enough to get a position as a study abroad peer advisor as an undergrad which really helped cement this career choice for me. I was able to get a behind the scenes look into study abroad pretty early on as well as practice advising general study abroad students. I learned lots of little things while in that office that helped prepare me for my career today. I would talk with your schools study abroad office and see if they have an ambassador program you can join, some work you could do as a volunteer (possibly a peer advisor), or if they have a position or will have a position soon for a student worker. The more you can start to understand international education from the advisor side, the easier it will be to enter the field after graduation. I would also encourage you to get as much international and intercultural experience you can.
Anything else you’d like to share? Any tips for prospective study abroad students?
If you’re thinking about study abroad and are hesitant to make the plunge, do it! It truly is a life-changing experience, looks great on a resume no matter what field you’re going into, and teaches you so much about yourself. You become more independent, cultural competent, and learn more about yourself than you thought possible.
Inspired by Emily’s journey and want to discover your own while immersing yourself in a study abroad program? Fill out your details below to let our team know and we’ll help you find your adventure today!