Post-graduation, Jumbos have intentions to live abroad
Published: Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 03:10
Studying abroad isn’t just for junior year anymore.
Karen Adler (LA ’13), for example, studied in Nantes, France during her junior year but this year chose to return and teach English to elementary school students.
“My French advisor was the one who told me about applying abroad to this program,” Adler said.
Adler was not alone in choosing to live and work abroad post-graduation: Fellow Jumbos are currently on Peace Corps missions in the Dominican Republic, teaching in Spain and teaching in Turkey through the Fulbright Scholar Program.
On a pre-graduation exit survey, about 19 percent of the 2013 graduating class planned to work outside of the United States after graduation, Director of the Tufts Career Center Jean Papalia told the Daily in an email.
“We can point to specific examples of students who indicated destinations such as the following: Japanese Exchange and Teaching Programme, the Peace Corps, Teach For China, Embassy of the United States in Tokyo, a school in Honduras and a language program in Spain,” Papalia said. “In terms of graduate school, the London School of Economics was another student’s destination.”
Anne Moore, program specialist in Scholar Development, works with students to help them apply for prestigious fellowships like the Fulbright Scholar Program, the Rhodes Scholarship, the Harry S. Truman Scholarship and the Marshall Scholarship. She pointed to the global-minded atmosphere at Tufts as a reason for which international lives are appealing to Tufts students.
“I certainly think Tufts’ international focus encourages study abroad programs,” Moore said. “I also think we have a pretty significant language requirement as opposed to other schools. I think that’s certainly what makes our students competitive for international programs.”
As was the case for Adler, Papalia said that students’ experiences studying abroad as undergraduates at Tufts can also have an influence on their plans for post-graduation life.
“40 to 45 percent of the Tufts student population elects to study abroad as undergraduates,” Papalia said. “This trend, coupled with the Tufts community’s global focus, accounts for the many students who seek employment or volunteer service abroad after they graduate. From an anecdotal perspective, career counselors report that they frequently work with seniors who express an interest in working abroad, often returning to a country where they studied.”
When asked what advice she would give to current undergraduates thinking about living and working abroad, Adler said to begin planning earlier rather than later.
“Start now,” Adler said. “There are so many job opportunities you don’t know are out there.”
Adler noted that living abroad was not always her plan, describing how she got an internship at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and also completed a work-study job at English at Large that provides free English language education to immigrants in the greater Boston area.
“In the back of my mind I had the idea that I would maybe do a masters in France,” Adler said. “I thought it would be much easier to go abroad now, then get a job in publishing and take a sabbatical and expect to have a job once I came back.”
Adler explained why she looked at returning to Nantes instead of exploring another city in France.
“I knew the tram system, I knew which part of the city I wanted to live in,” she said.
While Adler chose to teach abroad, many international opportunities are volunteer- and service-oriented.
“At Tufts it seems to sway a little bit more toward the service-learning kind of thing,” Moore said. “And I think that’s a credit to our focus on active citizenship.”
With so many directions that students can take after leaving Tufts, the Career Center has taken a large role in assisting students through the planning process, according to Papalia.
“I’m happy to say that most students do take advantage of the Career Center and all the services offered,” Papalia said. “Typically about 85 percent of graduating seniors report having used the Career Center during their four years. Last year Career Center staff conducted more than 5,000 individual coaching sessions with students.”
Outside of the Career Center, Tufts provides resources for students interested in living abroad by offering several on-campus cultural programs that might shape post-graduation goals, Moore said.
“Something good to start thinking about sophomore year is can you make all the different things that you are doing really work together,” she said. “So if you are interested in international diplomacy, does it make the most sense to get involved in some of the programs through the Institute for Global Leadership, or maybe what makes more sense for you is to go live in the German [Language] House, or something else, or both of those things.”
Moore said, however, that the biggest challenge for students is not necessarily cultivating interest in applying to international programs: it is the writing sections of applications for nationally competitive scholarships.
“You have to write a personal statement for most competitive scholarships and fellowships,” Moore said. “You are encouraged to do that in high school; you are encouraged to rely on your own experience and bring it in in high school, but in college you have to kind of unlearn that. So I think for something like a Fulbright application you have to figure out how to do that again, but in a more mature way.”