After attending NYU’s information session on international careers at the Center for Global Affairs, I wanted to share the information the UN panelist provided in reference to going after an international career.
So what does it mean to have an international career? Does it mean to aspire to work for the UN, a large multilateral organization or team up with a small non-profit in another country?
I would say it is all of the above. But don’t get caught up in fancy names, big titles or long generic definitions. Maybe being the paper pusher in a large bureaucratic organization is what you want. Or maybe it’s the fieldwork that pulls you in. Point is, knowing what you want can help streamline what kind of experiences you want abroad.
From personal experience, I would say an international career is one where you are able to use your second language skills, learn how to work in a difference culture and propose solutions to issues from various perspectives, either by brining a new perspective as a foreigner or working with the natives.
Here are the TOP 10 TIPS on paving your way to an international career.
- Learn a foreign language. I cannot stress how important it is to learn a second language, besides the fact that is broadens your skills in many ways.
- Volunteer abroad. Spending a week in Mexico (not on a gone wild spring break trip) on a hands-on project with a local school. These types of experiences can expose you to different management styles, coming from a different cultural perspective.
- Participate in a community event at home. Visit a local non-profit organization, get involved and discuss how you can donate your time to their efforts.
- Enroll in courses on global affairs, economy or geopolitics hosted by your local university or search for a free one online.
- Attend a webinar on 21st century conversations with global leaders. Have a better insight on the country you would like to work in, learn about their political situation or traditions.
- Photograph events in your city. Become part of an advocacy group, feature their story through photographs and learn how visual communication can help serve their brand their message.
- Participate in foreign exchange conversation meet up groups. Exchange language skill or guide them to a new city sight, serve as the unofficial ambassador of your city. Learn a little more about where you want to go through your new friends.
- Subscribe to travel sites, blogs or befriend through social media groups that will expose to learning more about the daily life in another country. This can help you have a realistic perspective of what awaits, and rid you of any theme park ideas you might have.
- 3 letters, listen to NPR! In specific to: World News and international Headlines. Besides being a world news outlet they have unique stories on music, culture and topics related to international affairs.
- Surround yourself in a foreign world while at home. Listen to music in the language you desire to learn, visit new restaurants that showcase the cuisine that sparks your interest. Fastest way to fall in love with another country, is through its music and food! (That’s how it all started for me! Viva Italia!)
Hopefully now you are ready to go out there, schedule your next flight and begin the adventure.