Elon University’s Purposeful Plan to Link Education Abroad & Student Career Development

I’m pleased to share this guest post by Kristen Aquilino, International Career Fellow in the Elon Student Professional Development Center.  

Elon is one of the many campuses I cite in my publication for AIFS: “Campus Best Practices Supporting Education Abroad & Student Career Development (2014):  http://www.aifsabroad.com/advisors/pdf/Tillman_AIFS_Campus_Best_Practices.pdf


Elon University’s Strategic Plan highlights eight main priorities, each with ambitious key objectives.  The first priority is “an unprecedented university commitment to diversity and global engagement.” This commitment calls for a holistic approach, and there are innovative efforts from across the university contributing to its growth and success. Elon truly engages from an “it takes a village” perspective. From offices such as International Admissions and ourKernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement, to our National and International Fellowships Office and individual programs such as Periclean Scholars, there is no shortage of a team mentality when it comes to fulfilling this objective.

With the momentum of this university-wide charge, the Student Professional Development Center (SPDC) and the Global Education Center (GEC) have been working together to discover areas where we can harmonize efforts to better support our students in their career and professional development across study abroad and international student services. While we are just getting started with implementing collaborative projects, so far, we have focused on the following areas: website resources and databases, pre-departure and “unpacking” programing, vetting third party internship organizations, and general staff training and information sharing. As our website changes are currently underway, here are a couple of other collaborative highlights we have implemented over the past year…


We’ve taken a new approach to our re-entry and, in collaboration with NC State colleagues, are implementing a program called, “Understanding your Global Engagement Experience: Learning how to effectively communicate relevant experiences to employers.” This re-entry program is hosted by the SPDC career advisors alongside our Global Ambassador student team, within three different Schools at Elon (Arts & Sciences, Business and Communications).  We are working together to prepare our career services team to work with globally-oriented students, helping them reflect on the skills they learned abroad and articulate them in an effective way. This is also an opportunity to support the work of the GEC in recognizing the importance of wider university participation in the re-entry process.

In addition, both offices are working together in learning about and vetting third party international internship organizations that express an interest in working with Elon students. There are many times that Elon will be contacted by organizations with which we are not familiar, or that an Elon student will find an organization independently and contact either office for advice. So, we are working on a way to streamline the process to use the professional expertise of the SPDC and the global experience expertise of the GEC.

We are excited about these developments among other shared tasks and responsibilities, and look forward to continuing to explore additional areas where we can better support our students by working together. We have learned so much from colleagues in the field, like Marty, and would appreciate any feedback that you have on these types of inter-office collaborations supporting students to integrate their international experience with their career development goals.

Write to Kristen at kaquilino@elon.edu

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