What exactly do you do, then?"
"So you work in education abroad?
Almost without fail, this is the response I receive when I tell someone my job title. I've found the easiest (and most succinct) explanation to be, "Well, I currently assist students want to study in another country. They come to us for help with searching for programs and making sure they complete all the necessary steps involved in the process." However, international education professionals do a little of everything: advising, marketing, event planning, graphic design, emergency management, and communicating with a wide variety of constituents.
MARKETING & OUTREACH
With each event our office plans, we develop a new flyer to keep them fresh and updated. My preferred tool is Canva.com, but I have also used Instagram and other photo apps, Adobe Photoshop, and Illustrator on a beginner's basis. (Note: Images featured were used by permission.)
Because my institution has many faculty-led and exchange programs, we do not keep a printed listing of options, but we wanted a way to advertise them in a continuous loop around campus. I created the template in Prezi and asked our interns to assist with designing a slide for each program. I then added student testimonials and information on scholarships to complete the slideshow.
Our team spent the summer editing and updating the content on the Auburn Abroad website. We used feedback from students, faculty, staff, and parents to add new information and create appealing graphics for a fresh look. Clicking on the image of the old site above will take you to the new site (tentative week of Sept. 19th).
I currently serve as the Auburn Abroad liaison to study abroad programs for the College of Education, College of Sciences and Mathematics, School of Nursing, and undergraduate business programs. After a program is approved, I work with the faculty director to complete vendor agreement signatures, develop a budget, set up the online application, bill students, and submit grades upon return.
Incoming Exchange Program
The coordination of Auburn's incoming exchange program did not initially fall under my position, but I have come to thoroughly enjoy this portion of my job. I have been able to streamline a previously decentralized process to to ease the application and transition for students, campus offices, and faculty advisors. Although pre-arrival coordination is frustrating at times, it's wonderful to watch them plug themselves into life on campus. Much of my position involves working with students before and after they go abroad, and it's nice to interact with students in the midst of their experience as well - it serves as a gentle reminder of why I first chose to become an education abroad professional.
Each year, an Auburn Abroad coordinator is assigned to arrange on-site logistics for a summer Pre-Freshman Program, which are one-week international programs for students beginning matriculation at Auburn University the following fall term. Following a pre-determined budget, I work with on-site vendors to coordinate activites, housing, meals, and transportation. I then travel with the program to ensure a smooth week for the faculty and students.
"I CANNOT TELL YOU how impressed I am with your organization and everyone's attention to detail. I had a dozen or so questions about [my student's] first few days on campus. All had been considered AND taken care of before I even asked. . . . After meeting with your two cohorts I can now rest easy --- [my student] is in good hands."
-Note from host faculty member to Director, Auburn Abroad
Each semester I recruit, interview, and train new students for a semester internship. I also arrange the weekly work schedule and assist our office manager with the HR paperwork required to add new employees to the system. Throughout the semester, in addition to overseeing their daily tasks, my colleagues and I also conduct “Battle of the Interns,” a professional development program we added to the internship. For more information, view our NAFSA Region VII conference presentation.
As a firm believer in the importance of returnee programming, I have developed materials to encourage students to continue engaging with their international experience after return in order to reap the full benefits of studying abroad. I also serve as the Auburn Abroad liaison to the university-wide ePortfolio Project, which aims to teach students how to reflect on and synthesize their collegiate experiences to create a cohesive professional identity prior to graduation.