When I was an undergraduate student I was undecided and I took a general education class on Chinese history. The professor was the advisor for the Asian Studies Majors and he convinced me to declare based on my interest in the class. This turned into me studying Japanese, studying abroad in Japan and China, teaching in South Korea after graduation, and then led me to work in International Education following my graduation from graduate school.
One of my favorite projects to work on is the CHEPD 1+2+1 program. The Sino-American Cooperation on Higher Education and Professional Development 1+2+1 program is a dual degree program. CHEPD is run by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the Center for International Educational Exchange (CCIEE) under the Ministry of Education in China. As part of this program, I work with a consortium of 100+ Chinese universities and 25 US universities to offer programming and opportunities for faculty and staff exchange. I’ve been working with this particular institutional partner for three years and I have made many friendships around the world related to this one program.
I learned that a group of people who are passionate about international exchange can create amazing programs in a few short years when universities and organizations pool their resources. Learning from the AASCU and CCIEE representatives gives the coordinators like myself a look into how global politics play a role in micro level exchanges.
There are thousands of international companies in Pennsylvania and even more, with our short distance to Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington D.C. and New York City, our students have opportunities to work with a lot of international companies, businesses, consulates, etc. that students must gain global skills to be competitive with their peers for these careers. Our faculty and staff on campus must also teach these skills because of this demand on increasing international and global positions.
I went to university with a lot of students that were not able to do an international experience while they were a student and spent years talking about how they regretted it. DO NOT let opportunities pass you by. Even after graduation, I had opportunities to work abroad which led me to where I am now. Go for it!