Some countries just call to you…

image taken by John D Carnessiotis via Flickr

image taken by John D Carnessiotis via Flickr

This guest post was written by Ellen Zold Goldman, Associate Director of Career Development and lover of anything international.

Some countries just call to you. It’s hard to explain but if you’ve experienced that one dialogue that you couldn’t get out of your head, or a study abroad or international co-op and wished you could turn right back around and re-board the plane, then you know what I mean.

That’s what it was like for me going to Greece. It started as a tourist visit and then I landed a short-term professional gig. I went there month three of a three-month overseas adventure, having picked three countries I wanted to see ‘before I settled down, became boring, and couldn’t ever travel because I held a professional job’. I spent one month in Israel making a video on a program at the Jerusalem Cinamateque, and got a job offer I turned down. One month in Italy (well, that was just plain decadent travel with two friends), and then this life-changing month in Greece. I made so many Greek friends; it was the trip of a lifetime and I have no regrets. It rained in Greece the day I went home. They said Greece was crying for me.

My mission was to save enough to go back and do something professional. I networked like crazy with anyone in the Boston area who would talk to me about Greece. You owned a restaurant- great? You were a professor at a college I Didn’t Go To—awesome. I worked a list of American Companies in Greece. Networking paid off and I landed a gig with a professor from another college who was starting a new non-profit. My bags were practically packed. Trip Two, The Professional Overseas Adventure…

I boarded the plane – no looking back. I stayed with Greek friends, and by then I had a Greek boyfriend. Broke up with said boyfriend and learned about what I would miss in the U.S. (family, and definitely same day dry cleaning). I talked Greek politics (I love politics) and was blessed on New Year’s Day by a Greek Priest. I traveled with my Greek gal pals (woman power!) and worked every day. I learned about real Greek life.

My contract gig was ending with the non-profit. While I had hoped it would lead to a full-time position, it really was a short-term gig. My time was winding down.

I pounded the pavement—Got some offers to teach English and a soft offer to work in a travel agency, but in the end I decided to go back home. I came back full of priceless adventures and also saw that my friends were moving onto professional positions, grad school and I felt that if it were meant to be, I’d find a way to return to Greece. I did go back after I was working and it is still the place that makes my heart sing.

Was the whole thing worth it? YES. I’d do that again in a New York second.

What did I learn?  A LOT. Working at the non-profit and living in Greece with my friends gave me the best glimpse into authentic Greek Life (I was there in January-not during tourist time). I went out with friends Friday nights, sang Greek songs in the car and vacationed where they vacationed. I lived, ate, and breathed Greece. I was meant to be in Greece. I also had the worst case of reverse culture shock coming home. I cried all the way home—and I do mean for all 6 hours. I learned that I wanted to blend my love of culture with education professionally. As a result, I began working for International Co-op, specifically with Americans going overseas to Australia, and then worked for 9 ½ years with international students on preparing them to work in the U.S.

The small influences—well, I learned how to make Nescafe Frappe just the way I like it. The big influences—my passion for working with international students and first generation Americans has never left me. I’ve directed a Study Abroad program, and work in Career Services where I help create international student programming. My passion for this has stayed with me for the last 15 years. I never get tired of it. Even on a bad day.

While I decided not to live in Greece permanently, I hope to have a little apartment there one day and retire there- or at least go back and forth. Sorry to folks who want to retire in FL; it’s just not the same. Greece is, after all, my favorite place on earth.

Everyone deserves their own grand adventure. I hope you create an amazing adventure for yourself, even if it does take two trips. 

Ellen Zold Goldman is Associate Director at Career Development. She’s worked on a short-term gig at a non-profit in Greece, has coordinated an international co-op exchange program in Australia, directed study abroad at another university, loves international students, and as you can probably tell, she has a passion for anything international.

A Glimpse at Dialogue of Civilizations: Peru

http://girlgonegallivanting.com/loving-lima/

http://girlgonegallivanting.com/loving-lima/

This post was written by Emily Brown, a regular contributor to The Works and a graduate student in the College Student Development and Counseling program at Northeastern University. She is also a Career Development Intern.

In the Career Development office I often hear the phrase “Dialogue trips” being thrown around. But what are they exactly? Yanet Monica Canavan provided some insight on the program below.

Yanet Monica Canavan is a teacher of Spanish at Northeastern and the faculty leader for Dialogue of Civilizations trips to her native country of Peru. She has extensive experience teaching Spanish including teaching Spanish Literature to undergraduate and graduate students at the private university, “Inca Garcilazo de La Vega” in Lima, Peru, teaching Medical Spanish for the staff of Massachusetts General Hospital and has even taught private Spanish classes to former Boston Red Sox Manager, Terry Francona. Monica will be leading her third immersion class (of 32 students) to Peru in Summer 1 2014.

What exactly is a Dialogue of Civilizations?

Open to Northeastern University students of any major, the Dialogue of Civilizations is a series of “global student exchanges” between students at Northeastern University and students around the world. The goal of each program is (a) to connect students with their peers in different national, cultural, political, and social environments and (b) to provide students with a “global experience” that builds upon and enhances their academic studies and training in Boston.

Where in Peru does the Dialogue take place?

Peru Dialogue of Civilization is a Spanish immersion program that will take place at a language center in Lima and at a Language School in Cuzco, which is the capital of the Inca empire.

What kind of language instruction is provided on the trip?

The Spanish immersion program will offer intensive Spanish language training to solidify the students’ knowledge of Spanish grammar and teach them to speak the language fluently. The five week course includes four hours per day of instruction focusing on: developing all of the four language skills (speaking, writing, listening and reading). Students from Northeastern will have Peruvian language partners and will experience life in Peru as local Peruvians. Students will stay with Peruvian guest families, learning their culture and using the Spanish language in their day-to-day activities.

How will students experience the culture of Peru?

Instruction includes cultural visits to museums, cathedrals, and the like and activities such as dining at fine restaurants and experiencing Lima’s and Cuzco’s night life. It is an exciting way to experience another culture’s people, ideas, customs and beliefs. Students will sample all that the cities of Lima and Cuzco have to offer and will complete a service project (in a Language School or in the Air Force School) in which they will help Peruvian students to practice speaking English and also explain to them a typical day in the life of a American college student.

What indicates to you that these Dialogue trips are successful?

The reputation of NEU has grown in Peru as a result of the establishment of this cultural exchange. The Peru Dialogue of Civilization (DOC) program provided the students with an immersed experience in a safe and secure manner planning different activities during the whole day. Students were under my supervision interacting with locals, learning and acquiring the Spanish language and Peruvian culture. Students have learned about Peruvian idiosyncrasy, customs and beliefs and have gotten to know how local Peruvians think and act.  The full immersion helped students to be more involved in the Peruvian culture.

Emily Brown is a Career Development intern and a graduate student in Northeastern’s College Student Development and Counseling Program. She is a lifelong Bostonian interested in the integration of social media into the professional realm.  Contact her at e.brown@neu.edu.

How to Find a Job Teaching English Abroad

Travelling the world as an English teacher can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. It’s a great way to see the world and immerse yourself in another culture – by working in a new country you get to participate in the life there in a way that tourists and travelers never can.

Teach English in Barcelona

source: Prithika Nair / TEFL Iberia

If you’re ready to jet off and begin your new life as an English teacher I’ve outlined a few tips to help you get started.  

1. Do a course in the city you’d like to work in

Do you want to start your teaching adventure in China? Research courses there. Does Barcelona sound like a dream destination? Complete your TEFL training there. By doing a course in your chosen city your chances of finding employment are greatly increased as you’ll make a lot more immediate contacts. You’ll also get help with the foreign administration system to help you get set up with a social security number, bank account, mobile phone, etc.

2.  Choose a course which maximizes practical application and teaching practice

The best way to impress a potential employer is to talk about all the great classroom experiences you’ve had – the big groups, small groups, beginners, advanced etc. Do a course which offers at least 8 hours of teaching practice with real learners. You should reinforce that experience with some private students, which are very easy to find and great for practicing your new skill. Your local TEFL provider should show you how to find private students in your region.

3. Start your job hunt early

Start your job hunt while you are still completing your teacher training course. I recommend:

  • Getting your CV ready while completing your course and have your course tutors go over it with you.
  • Compiling a list of schools you can send it out to. A good quality teacher training institute will have its own list or network of schools which they provide to their trainees.
  • Have a friend take a good photograph of you. In some countries schools want to see a picture of the person they are hiring, particularly if they are hiring remotely.
  • Email your CV out and then follow up with a phone call a few days later.

When writing your CV for a teaching position, even if you have no previous experience as a teacher, remember to highlight any relevant work experience. This could include any staff training you have undertaken, management and organizational experience and even hobbies, private tuition or volunteer work.

4.   Be prepared for different interview scenarios

English teacher job interviews can vary depending on the level of professionalism of the hiring school. Scenarios range from a brief meeting and ‘when can you start?’ to a grammar test and demo lesson. Schools generally look for someone who is friendly, confident and can express themselves clearly. They want to know that you are capable of delivering a quality class and that the students are going to like you. You should therefore be prepared to answer questions about teaching specific grammar points, classroom management, what-would-you-do-in-this-scenario type questions and a demo lesson.

5.  Get recommended

Teacher trainers will often recommend the best students for teaching positions they hear about during the duration of the course. Performing well on your training assignments ensures you are one of the candidates they consider when they hear about any offers. Be the person they think of first!

 

RichardRichard Davie has taught English in Barcelona for over 6 years and trained and recruited many new English teachers. For more information about training to be a TEFL teacher or finding a job abroad visit www.tefl-iberia.com or get in touch with Richard at richard@tefl-iberia.com.

How To Find a Co-op While You’re Abroad

LindseyEdinburgh

This article was written by Lindsey Sampson, a 3rd year international affairs student at NU as a regular student contributor for The Works.

Northeastern students are everywhere. Because of the number of international opportunities available, it’s not uncommon for a student to apply for co-op 3,000 miles away from Boston. I applied for my second co-op from my living room in Edinburgh, Scotland, where I studied abroad in the fall. While applying for co-op abroad presents its own unique set of challenges, you should not feel overwhelmed – it is possible to find a co-op you love while studying abroad as long as you are well-prepared.

Find a quiet place with reliable wi-fi. Generally speaking, study abroad housing is not known for its reliable wi-fi. Find another place on campus that is quiet and has excellent wi-fi. Sometimes the library has small rooms available to reserve, or you can ask a professor to use his or her office. While co-op interviewers are understanding of external circumstances, a Skype call inhibited by a slow internet connection is not the best way to make a good impression.

Be on call. You’re studying abroad, so evenings and weekends will probably be spent on grand adventures around your host country. However, because you are so far away, you need to be vigilant about checking your email every time you have wi-fi, especially during co-op crunch time. If you’re on the road, stop somewhere with reliable wi-fi at least once a day. Pro tip: Starbucks always has good wi-fi. Always. Make sure you are available during working hours stateside and make a good first impression by responding to emails quickly.

Be proactive. When a potential employer offers you an interview, make sure they have all of the materials they need to assess you as a candidate. Because you won’t be in the same room with them, geared up with extra copies of your resume and references, be sure to have them virtually on-hand; either keep important co-op application documents on your desktop or send them to your interviewers beforehand.

Remember, at the end of the day, that you are qualified. Co-op employers are interested in you as a candidate — what you are doing and where you are going. One interviewer gave me suggestions for restaurants in Edinburgh. Some employers are wary about hiring a co-op student they have not met in-person, but attentiveness and preparedness can ease their mind and earn you one amazing co-op.

Lindsey Sampson is a middler International Affairs major with minors in Social Entrepreneurship and Writing. She enjoys writing about Millennials in the workplace and social media as a marketing tool. Follow her blog here and tweet her @lindseygsampson.

Perspectives on Study Abroad

picture source: http://www.diverseityabroad.com

picture source: http://www.diverseityabroad.com

This post was written by Emily Brown, a regular contributor to The Works and a graduate student in the College Student Development and Counseling program at Northeastern University. She is also a Career Development Intern.

The decision to study abroad is a major one. It’s a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture and to receive college credit while doing so. There are many factors to consider before diving into a study abroad experience including where to go, what to study, if you’ll be able to stay on track to fulfill your major requirements, and for how long you’re willing to away from campus. My alma mater offers strictly year-long study abroad experiences and I ultimately decided that I wasn’t willing to give up an entire year in the campus community that I’d already grown to love. Many of my friends did study abroad in places including Ireland, Scotland, and Spain. Here are some of my secondhand impressions from their experiences:

  • The food is bad. Whatever you’re complaining about in the dining hall now will be infinitely better than what you eat abroad.
  • There will be one major exception to the disgusting food and you will become weirdly obsessed with it and upset that it’s not available back home.
  • If you’re feeling homesick, Skyping in for the weekly Grey’s Anatomy viewing is always an option. It might start at 2am with the time difference, but it might be worth it.
  • Speaking of Skype. No one looks good on it. Accept it.
  • There will be exotic animals at some point and you will take pictures on or near them.
  • You will come home with funny/horrifying stories about flying on RyanAir.

And because you might be interested in hearing from people who did actually study abroad, I reached out to some friends for their advice:

  • Bring a small bag or suitcase for weekend travel
  • Before you leave, talk to students or alumni who have studied abroad at the school you will be attending. They’ll have inside information on the classes, professors, and local area.
  • Keep a journal
  • Don’t over pack
  • Fabric softener and laundry detergent can come in deceivingly similar packaging. Beware.
  • Don’t focus on being homesick. The time will go by faster than you think. And if you need comfort food, “grilled” cheese can be made in a microwave in a pinch.
  • Step outside your comfort zone. Talk to locals and immerse yourself in the culture. You’ll probably only live abroad once.
  • Bring a copy of your passport and other important travel documents. Also leave copies with your parents and email them to yourself if possible.

My overall impression of friends’ study abroad trips is that they were truly memorable experiences that increased their self-confidence and independence. They made a ton of great memories that they still talk about years later and feel a lasting connection to the countries they studied in. Personally, I don’t regret my decision not to study abroad. I was lucky enough to be able to visit friends abroad and made some great memories of my own back on campus. Studying abroad is a really great opportunity, but I think it’s important to do it because it’s the right decision for you and not because you “should.” Everyone has different needs and goals that they want to fulfill during their college years and sometimes studying abroad will fit into that. If it does, that’s great, but, if it doesn’t, that’s OK too.

Emily Brown is a Career Development intern and a graduate student in Northeastern’s College Student Development and Counseling Program. She is a lifelong Bostonian interested in the integration of social media into the professional realm.  Contact her at e.brown@neu.edu.