November 26, 2018
Etiam porta sem malesuada magna mollis euismod. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus.
Meghan Mason has a busy spring ahead of her. As Assistant Director of the Center for Global Engagement, she spends her time helping students engage with academic opportunities away from the Hill. This time of year, that means guiding the Class of 2020 through the application process for off-campus study programs.
“It’s giving you the opportunity to put yourself into an unfamiliar situation, experience what that situation is like, and learn how to thrive,” Mason says. One way to develop these skills is through an off-campus study program with a work-engaged component. To Mason, the definition of “work-engaged” is flexible: “There’s a lot that can count as work, and it really depends on what someone is looking for; whether they want to, practice language skills, meet other people, learn about workplace values in a new place, or develop certain career skills.”
General off-campus study assets, like experience in interpersonal communication, especially in a foreign language, can be taken straight to a competitive job market. If a student decides to complete an internship while studying off-campus, that student can additionally explore career paths, experience international work culture, and expand a professional network. Mason says that “It’s really key to identify what skills you’ve gained off-campus and to be able to articulate those in a job interview. Having an internship really sets that experience apart for employers.”
There are several options for a student considering a program with a work-engaged component, all of which depend on one’s visa status. When meeting students for advising, Mason stresses the importance of preparation: “If having work experience is the most important part, we can guide you towards where to find that.” While a student shouldn’t count on earning money when planning financially for off-campus study, the benefits of work-engaged learning are well worth the effort.
Programs like the Washington Semester and the Edinburgh Parliamentary Internship connect students with opportunities to experience government and make connections off-campus. These internships are intensive, Mason notes, but they pay off. “You’re researching the industry that you’re working in, the challenges and opportunities they have, and you’re applying your academic knowledge in a more practical way.” Such an opportunity provides a wealth of hands-on learning as well as a resume boost. Kenyon offers credit for classes taken in conjunction with an intensive off-campus study internship program.
Students can also choose to volunteer during off-campus study or participate in directed research. Mason outlines the steps for successfully finding these opportunities: “It’s really important to identify what skills are highly valued in that place and [to] be able to capitalize on them. Understand what skills and experience you already have. Look proactively for opportunities to engage with that.”
The most important part of selecting any off-campus study experience, Mason shares, is meeting a student’s goals. “We’ll weigh what you’re looking for, what your goals are academically and professionally, and we’ll pinpoint programs based on that.” The Center for Global Engagement exists to provide students a fulfilling experience wherever they choose to study. For the Class of 2020, studying off-campus first means meeting the deadlines for interviews (January 26th) and applications (February 8th). To schedule an interview or to find out more about Off-Campus Study, contact Meghan Mason at email@example.com.
By Amelia Yeager ‘20