In February 2017, yPIE DC partnered with Lessons from Abroad (LFA) for our Networking Happy Hour. LFA brought together international education professionals across the country to support students with re-entry into the US after their experience abroad. These conferences provided career development and networking opportunities for students to leverage their experiences abroad during internship and job searches. LFA was dissolved in 2019 but the impact of the readjustment support they provided over ten years is still felt today.
Rose Malone participated in the LFA conference after returning from her study abroad experiences. She says that the conference had a tremendous impact on her readjustment and her ability to plan for her career. She shares her story below.
I was fortunate to study abroad twice during undergrad. My first experience abroad was a semester-long program in London during the fall semester of my sophomore year. For the first time in my life I was spontaneous, while simultaneously learning to be responsible and independent. It was an incredible few months that changed me for the better.
My second experience abroad was in Skibbereen, Ireland, during the summer of 2016. I completed an archaeological dig for four weeks while living in rural Ireland. This experience was completely different from my first, as it was much less metropolitan and more cultural. Both of these experiences brought me personal and professional growth, and they led me to a professional field I never knew existed.
Attending the LFA Returnee Conference
I attended the LFA Returnee Conference after each time I studied abroad. I first attended the conference to learn about more opportunities to study abroad, to meet others who had studied abroad, and to learn about potential job paths. The second time I attended the conference, however, I was actively looking for jobs and wanted to attend a session on internationalizing graduate school.
Thinking about my future
LFA opened the international education and higher education field up for me, as I had never thought to pursue any career path in student services. I knew I wanted to help people grow and prosper, but I wasn’t interested in teaching. I knew this field would be perfect for me because it is interpersonal and connects with my interest in human culture and diversity.
Key takeaway from the conference
Attending the LFA Returnee Conference made me think about my experience in a quantitative way. It’s difficult to do because emotions are deeply tied to an experience abroad. Even though study abroad is this wonderful experience, you need to be able to articulate the benefits in a graduate school essay or in front of an employer. This was the most important takeaway from the conference for me.
Life after graduation
I am currently working as a Program Assistant for Short-Term Programs at the Education Abroad Office at the University of Maryland. I am so grateful for the professional development opportunities through LFA which prepared me for the job search as well as the interview process.
About the Author
Rose Malone is a recent graduate from the University of Maryland. She wrote this post to share her experience with Lessons from Abroad and the impact the readjustment support had on her career.