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Transcript of International Careers:
Advice from BC Alumni
Sponsorship Technical Officer- Southern Africa
Sponsorship Qualify Team, International Programs Group
Resource Mobilization Officer / Global Health Corps Fellow
Baylor College of Medicine Children's Foundation Uganda
Tiffany M. Griffin, PhD
United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Bureau for Food Security, East Africa Focus (Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania)
Monitoring and Evaluation Adviser
Also owns and runs her own consulting business: Como Water, LLC
"My advice is to develop tangible skills before pursuing an international career. There are a few (mostly volunteer) opportunities for people with limited skills, but you are more likely to be qualified for a good international position if you have a specific skill set. It's important to have a passion for international work, but it's even more important to show how you can add value to an international organization."
William Locke Smith
JR Global Marketing
"It sounds simple, but you need to take a risk and get on a plane. People don't realize how talent-starved many countries are...often times firms will hire a candidate simply for being in the right place at the right time, regardless of relevant experience. Moving to a new country takes guts and confidence: employers appreciate this!"
"When working in the field of international development, gain as much experience as possible in a variety of global contexts. Never underestimate the importance of listening to the wisdom of locals...they will likely be your most influential teachers."
"I entered undergrad having never been on an airplane. I graduated having traveled to four countries and having countless friends from around the world. I chose to incorporate international work into my career because it always amazes and inspires me to see how similar our human race is, and yet how cultural contexts make us all so interestingly distinct. I wouldn't give it up for the world!"
Fulbright English Teaching Assistant
United States India Education Foundation
"My biggest piece of advice for those interested in pursuing an international career is to not let yourself get intimidated by others. There is so much competition in this career field and the best thing that you can do for yourself is figure out why you find this field important and how your personal experience differs form everyone else's. If you can think of your prospective work experience in this way, you will maintain a level of confidence that will shine through your applications and give you a sense of purpose in your career."
Friends of Europe (nonprofit think tank)
"For someone interested in an international career abroad, I'd advise him or her to learn another language, fluently and in a cultural context, while at the same time perfecting writing and communication skills in English. English mother tongues who communicate and write well are always sought after by companies and organizations that function in an international context since English is the international language."
Brookings Doha Center (overseas Center of the Brookings Institution)
"Specialize in something--whether thematic, linguistic, or locational--that not many people do, and consider employment in countries not many people do. I used to work in Cairo, Egypt and in Washington, DC, where everyone was cut-throat and sought the same career in taking the same path. In moving to Qatar (and thereby taking the path less traveled), I have encountered far greater opportunities!"
International Programs Manager
"Gaining work experience abroad or in an international setting in the United States can help you to understand what kind of career you are interested in and is valuable for your resume. Many of these opportunities will be unpaid, but will give you real experience and skills."
Public Affairs Specialist at US Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration
"Learn now, how to be adaptive and keenly responsive to other people. These skills will help you when you encounter unfamiliar situations in an international business setting and will allow you to create opportunities where others do not see them.
Networking is key. You should always remember that the people you meet today can potentially be clients or people who you may need as resources in the future. Keep developing your network even after you have landed your first job. The world of international business may later appear smaller than you think, as you realize that you will have to interact with the same key players, corporations or government entities. "