What inspired you to work in this field? I began my career in international education almost by accident as I was placed in a Global Education office through a temp agency right after I graduated with my undergraduate degree. I stayed because I quickly fell in love with all the opportunities to help students; I realized I loved being a small piece in their journey whether it was personal or professional. It’s something that keeps me motivated and loving the work that I do.
What are the challenges you've faced? The pandemic!?? I think that was a huge moment for our field and we are still not seeing the full effects of this on the student experiences. The fact that the global community has been so impacted in so many ways is something we are all dealing with and will take time to overcome.
When I think challenges in general I think of how dimensional our work is — it’s immigration documents, holistic advising, connecting students and scholars to mental health resources, getting them to the nearest dentist, triaging a medical emergency, checking consistently to make sure students are still enrolled in classes so they maintain status, working with Residence Life on roommate conflicts, working with outside health insurance providers to help students navigate the intricacies of our U.S. healthcare system. You name it, we do it! It’s being the connecting hub for all things for our visiting students and scholars; it’s the best and most challenging part all at the same time.
What do you hope to achieve in the future? I hope to still be in a position where I can interact regularly with students and advocate for better experiences for them whether that be expanded curricular options or scholarship and funding opportunities. I hope to see an increase in international students coming to Bridgewater State University and see them continue to enrich our campus by sharing their experiences and cultures. I hope to see our world open back up and be even more inclusive and welcoming of the diversity of international students and scholars.
If you can give 1 or 2 pieces of advice to our prospective international students, what would it be? Take the leap, come to the U.S., and immerse yourself in all of the things! Take the courses you are interested in, go on that off-campus trip, visit the downtown of the new town or city you are studying in! Don’t miss out on the opportunities because you might feel shy or out of place — many of the domestic students are likely in the same position of being new to college or location.
Also, while our education system may be different from your home country and our culture different, you may feel overwhelmed at first but there is so much wonderful learning that can happen. Remember that it’s a two-way street; you will come to the U.S. to learn about life here but what you will teach others about yourself and your culture is incredibly important and valuable!