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"see blue." Abroad — Even After Graduation

by Sarah Geegan

"My experience abroad was one of the most amazing, academically enriching and personally rewarding experiences I had in college," recent UK alumna, in political science and international studies, Lauren Cook said. 

As a part of International Education Week, the Office of International Affairs is hosting a panel on post-graduation opportunities abroad for graduates like Cook, who hope to further pursue education abroad experiences, as well as for students who have not previously engaged in education abroad but are interested in post-graduate opportunities. The event will take place from 5-6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14, in the Niles Gallery located in the Little Fine Arts Library.

Afterward, West African and Mediterranean food will be provided to highlight various international cuisine for International Education Week. 

The panel of international education professionals will discuss various and multifaceted opportunities to volunteer, study and teach in locations around the world. Specifically, the panel will focus on organizations such as Peace Corps, Study Abroad Italy (SAI), Teach for China, Japan Exchange and Teaching Program, Teach and Learn in Korea and Sister Cities Deauville Teaching Assistantship.

The panel will also highlight opportunities to attend graduate school abroad, with a representative from the Office of External Scholarships to talk about opportunities like Fulbright, Rhodes, Marshall and Mitchell awards, as well as other prestigious programs. 

Education Abroad adviser Thomas Teague said that students may not always be aware of the variety of options open to them upon graduation; they primarily see an experience abroad as something to do during their time here, not necessarily after UK.

"Depending on one’s goals, there can be advantages to go abroad after graduation, whether it is for further study or a more intense, immersive experience such as one that students can obtain through the Peace Corps," Teague said. "It can also be a great opportunity for those who may not quite know what their next step is in life, whether personally or professionally.  Students can participate in opportunities that allow them to obtain skills, while they reflect on what they hope to do next."

Employers state that they increasingly look for job applicants who have international experience, as they often possess very desirable skills and characteristics as a result of that experience — whether honed or newly acquired during their time abroad. 

As international understanding and global perspectives become increasingly intertwined in UK curricula, Teague said that international awareness does not end with studies at UK.

"We must continue to be active participants in a more globalized world so that we can learn from one another, be ambassadors of our country and local community, and work toward promoting peace, understanding and knowledge among our international counterparts," Teague said. "Furthermore, engaging in experiences abroad post-graduation will not only help us to contribute to the world outside of the U.S. but within the U.S. and our local communities as well, through information exchange and even in more professional settings.