17 posts tagged international
Eliza Pan ‘15
UK Houses of Parliament
London, England 2013
On my first day of work as an intern for Member of Parliament Rachel Reeves, my manager treated me to the grand tour of my workplace for the summer: the UK Houses of Parliament.
I soon discovered that for all its imposing grandeur, there are many quirks to the Parliament buildings, or the Palace of Westminster, as it is formally known. At its core is the Central Lobby, with four archways, each of which is crowned by a mosaic depicting the patron saint of one of the four constituent countries of the UK: St. George for England above the entrance to the luxurious House of Lords, St. David for Wales above the entrance to the modest House of Commons, St. Andrew for Scotland above the entrance to the restaurants and bars, and St. Patrick for Northern Ireland above the main exit.
Jiayun Fang ‘16
Jana Care Solutions
Bangalore, India 2013
”Incredible India. It’s the slogan of the Indian Tourism Office that’s slapped on vivid posters of iconic Indian monuments. It’s the popular hashtag on Twitter for all the random, bizarre, and unique things that happen in India. It’s the India I came to know this summer at my three-month internship in Bangalore at Jana Care Solutions. Jana Care is a small start-up born out of the MIT Media Lab that focuses on creating a web and mobile application for diabetics to manage their glucose levels, food intake, and exercise. I worked with members of the team from India and the US to enhance the web component as well as prototype a mobile application for community health workers to use when screening for anemia and diabetes.
Some assume that finding international internships can be difficult; not only is it hard to look for them, but often, having limited funding for an international experience can deter students from looking for opportunities beyond the US border. This past week, the OCS held a workshop on how to find and fund internships in Africa.
What internships are available? How do you obtain funding to pursue such internships? These questions were answered by panelists who all spent summer on the African continent. Their activities ranged from interning at one of Kenya’s biggest banks, to being a teacher assistant in a grade 3 classroom in an underprivileged community in Cape Town, South Africa.
How did the students find out about these opportunities?
Morgan Brown ‘06 and Erinn Wattie ‘06
Have you always wanted to work in a career facing the challenge of alleviating poverty across the world? At OCS this past Thursday, Erinn Wattie ‘06 and Morgan Brown ‘06 discussed their different experiences working in international development. Having collectively worked at organizations like Oxfam America, the United Nations, the World Bank and more, these alumni answered general questions about the field, where to start, and how to distinguish yourself from others trying to break into the field.
What’s out there?
There is no “track” to follow in international development. The sector ranges from social enterprise, private sector companies and humanitarian assistance, to disaster relief and more. Sector specialists work in specific areas like infrastructure, irrigation, water/sanitation, public health, and food distribution. Management and administration positions focus on broader tasks like project direction, coordination with donor agency/local government, project reporting, financial management. Alternatively, research positions exist in international development and are typically at think-tanks, non-profits, or universities.
Because of the breadth of the field, there are opportunities here for all areas of skills and interest. “For example, if you like language, humanitarian linguistics is a great way to get things done on the ground,” Morgan said. “There are lots of doctors in the field. If you’re a media entertainment person, working for a news station as someone who tells the development success stories could be great.”
Making the leap
It’s not easy to decide to leave home or the country to pursue a career in the field. But after receiving a Rockefeller grant and traveling for a year post-graduation, Morgan’s decision to deviate from a “typical” Harvard graduate’s path was instinctive.
Spotlight on electronic resources.
Pros: 400,000+ company profiles and 16 million+ openings, informative country guides with tips on local etiquette, and H1B visa database (useful for international students).
Heads Up: Type “intern” in keyword search to find internships.
Where: www.ocs.fas.harvard.edu/students/jobs_goingglobal.htm Login required.
“If you really want to reach your full potential and do more than you think you can, then you have to hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself,” said Okendo Lewis-Gayle at OCS’s popular “Exploring Careers in Africa” event this past Wednesday. With panelists from all backgrounds, the discussion offered advice on particular aspects of working both in social enterprise and in Africa.
Last night, we celebrated international travel, study, work, service, and research at the 9th Annual International Photo Contest.
This year, over 450 photos were submitted. The photos were judged across four categories by Michelle Lamuniere, the Fogg Museum’s Assistant Curator of Photography. In addition, fourteen international centers and offices, including OCS, awarded special prizes. View the complete gallery of winners here.
Featured above: Emily Bigelow’s By the Roadside, Rukungiri, Uganda, awarded the Special Prize, Office of Career Services; Special Prize, Committee on African Studies; and Honorable Mention, Let’s Go.
Are you interested in teaching as well as a genuine international experience? Working in education overseas could be the career choice for you.
For Jason Dillon, a current student at the Harvard Kennedy School, teaching abroad allowed him financial and professional opportunities that would have been much more difficult to achieve in the United States. After working as a special education teacher in California, his journey started when he found a book in the library called How to Travel for Free. His experience in independent international schools spans from Venezuela to Beijing, and granted him opportunities to be a leader in the expatriate community in which he worked – even serving as the international school principal in Venezuela after only a short time working at the school.
“The best decision I ever made was to go overseas,” Jason said. “International schools are really good at providing you with a safe environment, and they work hard to orient you in a foreign country. As a teacher you get to explore but you don’t feel like a tourist, and there’s a core group of expatriates there with you doing the same thing.” While a lot of schools are great for professional development, they also carry financial perks. “As far as salary benefits, this is the best deal you’re going to get as a teacher,” he said. “You don’t pay United States’ taxes, and your housing is provided in most cases.”
Before trying to find a job at an international school, Jason mentioned the importance of having a teacher certification, and two years of teaching experience in the United States. “Schools don’t prioritize applicants who haven’t taught before, because having teachers in their first year of teaching as well as their first year in a foreign country is tough.”
Jamie Bruce, the current director of education for WorldTeach, told a different story of how she ended up abroad. She decided to go into education overseas because she wanted to “get dirty with the world’s problems.” After finding an ESL (English as a Second Language) program in Egypt as an alternative to the PeaceCorps, she discovered that her “bossy nature” was instinctive in the classroom. In her position at a language school in Cairo, she was paid a comfortable salary that enabled her to travel as much as she wanted. Although she had not completed the recommended two years of teaching experience in the United States, she was able to work overseas because the jobs happened to be completely in flux. “A last minute job opened and I sort of slipped through the cracks,” she said. Later, she received a job in Djibouti through an NGO.
While even a two-year contract abroad can seem like a long time, Jamie stressed the importance of its duration. “You don’t realize how much culture affects you until you’re separated from it,” she said. “Signing a two-year contract sounds huge, but it takes a while to carve out a life. It takes a little while to acclimate yourself.”
Julia Eger, ’14
Ever thought of going to Africa but never knew exactly where to get started? This past Thursday, undergraduates at the College sat on a panel at OCS to discuss their experiences finding and funding opportunities in Africa. The panel included students Chuma Nwachukwu ‘14, Alissa Changala ‘13, Tre Hunt ‘15, Harald Oswin ‘15, and Theresa Gebert ‘15.
While each of these students had different experiences in various African countries – ranging from working at a solar technology company to teaching with WorldTeach – each student recognized the issue of funding for a summer adventure abroad.
Chuma was a recipient of the Weissman International Internship, a grant program that selects 45 students each year to fund in their endeavors abroad. “The Weissman program created a nice sense of community for me,” Chuma said. “Their family hosts a reception with everyone once we were all accepted, and we all kept in contact over the summer and updated each other on what we were doing.”
Besides grant programs like the Weissman internship, there are several other resources to look for international funding as well. “When you’re looking for grants and funding, go in with low expectations and definitely start early,” said Harald, a native of Swaziland. There are two routes one can take when looking for international funding: applying to an internship and a grant at the same time, or to make your own summer itinerary and then apply to a program like the Weissman program once you have it all planned out. OCS suggests structured programs are better for those who are going abroad alone for the first time.
The Committee on African Studies is an important resource for students heading to Africa, as they create a Harvard network by compiling a list of Harvard students in Africa for the summer. “They were also really helpful in giving me things like safety tips and a list of required immunizations, too,” Chuma said.
Julia Eger, ’14
As students at Harvard in the midst of a busy spring semester, sometimes it’s too easy to feel that our campus is all there is: suddenly, trying Widener instead of Lamont is an adventure, and trekking to Annenberg breakfast is a cross-cultural journey. “Thinking Outside the Yard: International Professionals in Today’s World” challenged this Harvard-centric sentiment, as panelists spoke about experiences not only outside Harvard, but outside the United States.
As the program made clear, there is an immense world outside Cambridge that is waiting for us Harvard students to explore and understand. The real question: how do we prepare? Francisco Marmolejo Sr., a director and assistant vice president at University of Arizona, argued that learning foreign languages is the answer. “Only 45% of pages on the internet are in English, and by 2050, Madarin and Hindi are going to be the most spoken languages,” he projected. “Since speech is so important for becoming a successful professional, learning two or three languages is almost imperative.” Other panelists echoed the impact of foreign language study: Snezhana Zlatinova ‘07, an HBS student, unexpectedly used the German, French, and Mandarin she studied at Harvard in her first jobs as a business analyst overseas. “I was always using languages in unexpected places, and it had such a huge effect on my plans and career,” she explained.
However, not all of us can glean so much from a few Harvard language classes, which is why Professor Benedict Gross, a mathematics scholar and former Dean of Harvard College, suggested the only true and fast way to learn a foreign language is to travel to the country itself. “If you really want to learn a specific language, travel alone to where it’s spoken. People who travel in groups don’t actually get the full experience.” Francisco also encouraged the audience to persevere with learning difficult foreign languages. “Don’t worry too much about the mistakes you make,” he said.
Not only did panelists motivate the students in the audience to pursue experiences abroad, but some suggested that working internationally was actually a responsibility of the educated. Professor Max Essex, Chair of the Harvard School of Public Health AIDS Initiative and the Botswana-Harvard AIDS Institute in Botswana, spoke from the standpoint of the research on infectious diseases. “These diseases do not have borders. They are spread across nations,” he explained. “It is irresponsible for the developed world not to have an interest or presence in developing countries to help solve the problem of these diseases.”
In any experience abroad, the panelists encouraged students to “stay loose” since it is really impossible to predict what will or will not work out in a foreign adventure. Stay relaxed, challenge yourself, and stay alert. And as Francisco put it, “There’s nothing you can learn more out of international experience than humility.”
Julia Eger, ’14
Like Eritrean food and friendly faces? Hopefully you made it to the Explore Careers in Africa panel last week, because those were key ingredients. As students packed into the room, panelists discussed their varied experiences in Africa and doled out some pearls of wisdom for how to go about finding the right career in this country.
How does one get involved in this career field? Chris Golden ’05, an ecologist and epidemiologist who has been working in Madagascar for 12 years, stressed the importance of reaching out to people. “It really doesn’t hurt to send an email,” he explained. “You spend 15 minutes writing a few emails, and if you get an email back, you’ve won. Put yourself out there as much as possible.” Panelist Hugo Van Vuuren ’07, a student at the Harvard Graduate School of Design who was born and raised in Africa, suggested his audience try to connect with Harvard alumni living in Africa who could provide housing or, in his case, a “free scooter.”
Working in any foreign country comes with the potential for cultural shock, and this remains the case in several African nations as well. All panelists agreed that taking the effort to learn the local language is one of the most important things one can do to combat culture shock and get the most of his or her experience abroad. “Learning the local dialect shows your allegiance to that culture,” Hugo rationalized. Similarly, Dr. Vanessa Kerry, a director at the Harvard Medical School, expounded on the impact of deference towards a culture’s customs. “It’s incredibly important, regardless of the context you’re working in, to listen and observe and understand the culture before beginning your work,” she emphasized. “Take cues from the people you are with. Get assimilated.”
Finding a “career in Africa” covers quite a broad – and daunting – spectrum of opportunity, but Vanessa put any uncertain members of her audience at ease. “It’s great if you have a sense of what you want to do, but also great if you just have a cloudy concept of what you want to do in mind,” she assuaged. “The job process is a journey, especially in this field, and it’s probably going to take a while to find what you really want to do. Personally, I am still on this journey.” Chris spoke to this concept of uncertainty as well. Rather than worry about the “right” career choices, Chris encouraged his audience to take chances. “Do something totally random for a summer,” he urged. “Summers are your opportunity to explore.”
Julia Eger, ’14
This program was cosponsored by: The Office of Career Services, The Committee on African Studies (CAS), Harvard Africa Business Investment Club (HABIC), Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development in Africa (YALDA), and Harvard Africa Student Association (HASA).
with Contributions from the Harvard African Student Association (HASA)
This is just a sampling of the many resources related to opportunities in Africa. Note that some organizations may charge a program fee, and it is your responsibility to check the range of services that they provide. For additional resources and information, visit the OCS website.
OFFICE OF CAREER SERVICES (OCS) WEB RESOURCES
- Crimson Careers - Jobs & Internships
- Harvard Funding Database
- Going Global
- Weissman International Internship Reports
- OCS Summer Grants & Funding
GENERAL WEB/PRINT RESOURCES
- The Directory of American Firms Operating in Foreign Countries: available in the OCS Library.
- Directory of Development Organizations
- Economic Development Directory
- The International Research Centers Directory: available in the OCS Library.
- International Volunteer Program Association
- World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO)
- Committee on African Studies (CAS)
- Director’s Internship Program
- Harvard Global Health Institute
- Harvard Worldwide
- International Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunities (I-SURF)
INTERNSHIP/VOLUNTEER & JOB RESOURCES
- African Development Bank Group
- The African Development Foundation (ADF)
- The African Studies Center at University of Pennsylvania
- The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
- The African Great Lakes Initiative (AGLI)
- The Carter Center
- Dave’s ESL Cafe
- FINCA International
- Find a Job in Africa
- Foundation for Sustainable Development(FSD)
- Global Rights
- Habitat for Humanity
- Hellen Keller International(HKI)
- Human Rights Watch(HRW)
- Intercultural Dimensions
- Learning Enterprises
- Malaria No More
- One Heart Source
- Pambazuka News
- The Peace Corps
- Restless Development
- Teach Abroad
- Teaching English Abroad, by Susan Griffith: available in the OCS Library.
- Transitions Abroad
- UN Internships
- Volunteers for Peace(VFP)
- World Camp
COUNTRY CAREER GUIDES
Country career guides provide information about job resources, cost of living, employment trends, interviewing advice, work permits, local industries, and current events. Websites that offer information about Africa and/or business include:
Expatriates are a great resource – learn directly from those who are there are or have been there. These expatriate websites offer tips and current information for a number of countries in Africa:
“The world is flat,” wrote New York Times journalist Thomas Friedman in 2005. Now, more than ever, his tales of rapid globalization ring true for students – and prospective employees – around the world. Indeed, students interested in international development are more empowered than their historical counterparts to access all corners of the globe and to aid communities in rebuilding and renewing their strength.
To help Harvard students take advantage of the opportunities available to them, the Office of Career Services invited Laura Retzler, director of recruitment for FHI 360, to give “the inside scoop” on who, in fact, does get hired in the field of international development. With a budget of $735 million, offices in 60 developing countries, and a workforce of 6,600, Retzler knows quite well what recruiters and search committees look for in potential applicants. Certainly, applicants must be familiar with a wide range of fields and challenges. FHI 360 alone addresses all aspects of development, from education and civil society to the environment and food/water security.
Moreover, Retzler outlined five steps to a success application:
1. Articulate your accomplishments. “People remember your stories, not your platitudes,” quipped Retzler. “Tell stories that illustrate your best qualities.” To do this, of course, you need to know those qualities and the strengths and skills that define them.
2. Identify what you want. “Demonstrate a match between you want and what THEY want,” Retlzer emphasized. In making a match, you may want to consider the mission of the organization, the people who work there, and the organizational culture. Not sure how to begin? Try analyzing your past jobs, enumerating what you liked and didn’t like. Or, draw up your “dream” (or “nightmare”) job ad!
3. Build your network. Retzler admits that this step “might be counterintuitive,” but it is arguably the most important. Begin by identifying your top 20 organizations, and learn about them: history, size, scope, and niche. Informational interviews can be very important in this process by bringing organizations to life and helping you discover job opportunities, among other things.
4. Tailor your resume.
5. Volunteer strategically. “It has to be related to the job search,” Retzler explained. Look for volunteer opportunities with your top 20 organizations, or with an organization that deals specifically with your interests.
The following organizations will also be helpful for students in the field:
· American Public Health Association (www.apha.org)
· American Society for Tropical Medicine & Health (www.astmh.org)
· International AIDS Society (www.iasociety.org)
· Development Executive Group (www.devex.com)
· Global Health Council (www.globalhealth.org)
· Society for International Development (www.sidw.org)
And be sure to create a LinkedIn profile! Visit OCS for assistance.
—Nicandro Iannacci, ’13
In a small group conversation on February 2, students spoke directly with OCS advisers about study abroad options at Harvard. The conversation was facilitated by Cathy Winnie, Director of International Education at Harvard; Matilda West, Study Abroad Coordinator for Harvard Summer School; and Tricia Hughes, the Program Coordinator for the Undergraduate Fellowships Office. Joining these study abroad counselors in the discussion was Yvette Ramirez, a senior in Mather House and recipient of the Rockefeller Grant.
A theme throughout the discussion was the study abroad culture at Harvard, and how the study abroad advising here differs greatly from that of other universities. “We have a very individualized program in helping students figure out what they want from a study abroad experience,” Ms. Winnie explained. Because Harvard is not a school in which all students enter their freshman year knowing they’ll go abroad, the advising itself caters directly to each individual’s exact wants and needs.
“Nobody does the same program twice,” Ms. Winnie assured her audience. Raving about the unique programs completed by students in the past, Ms. Winnie encouraged interested students to take a look at the binders in her office with descriptions of various programs. In addition, the Office of International Education website has lists of students who have gone abroad and details about their experiences organized by house and concentration. Ms. Hughes highlighted the availability of fellowships and grants available for international programs, but mentioned that the deadlines are fast approaching.
Yvette Ramirez served as the cornerstone of this discussion because of her exemplary experiences abroad throughout her time at Harvard; she is a prime example of how students can utilize Harvard’s study abroad opportunities to enrich their education and open their eyes to a larger world beyond the brick facade of Harvard’s campus. Yvette first went to South Africa after her sophomore year, teaching English through WorldTeach and funded by a David Rockefeller grant. After her incredible experiences there, Yvette could not wait to return – and then studied abroad during the semester in the same region of South Africa. This past summer, Yvette did thesis research again in South Africa, receiving funding and course credit for an independent study.
Though the broader culture of Harvard does sometimes deter students from going abroad because of a fear of missing out, Yvette assured her audience that was never a concern for her. “Like my other friends who went abroad, I came back feeling that I had a totally different perspective on my work at Harvard. Going abroad taught me to remember to enjoy myself while studying here, and helped me regain a sense of purpose,” she discussed. Her experience in Africa also informed some of her course decisions in the remaining semesters – for example, she began taking many more African studies classes and is now writing her thesis based around Africa.
Despite the Harvard culture that does not immediately encourage students to take a semester abroad, Ms. Winnie commended those who take the initiative to do so. “You guys are the ‘chancers,’” she commended her audience. “You guys are the ones who will be glad they took the risk.”
Julia Eger, ’14
In a world exploding with innovation and research, opportunities for college graduates in the sciences abound. And they aren’t just found in the United States – in fact, there are a wealth of organizations and programs that can take the curious scientist around the world…if you know where to look.
To help Harvard scientists navigate this new territory, the Office of Career Services welcomed five Fellows from the Program on Science, Technology and Society (STS) based at the Harvard Kennedy School. Moderated by postdoctoral Fellow Lee Vinsel and supported by program director and STS scholar Sheila Jasanoff, the panel explored a host of diverse experiences that spanned several countries and even more disciplines of knowledge.
Dr. Elizabeth Barron, a Fellow for both the STS program and the Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Department within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, described interesting opportunities within the United States. After completing her undergraduate degree, Barron joined the Peace Corps for two years, serving in Niger as an environmental education volunteer. While cautioning prospective Corps members about the grueling application process, she nevertheless emphasized the number and flexibility of scientific efforts within the Corps. Barron then spent a year with AmeriCorps aiding a wildlife management project in New Mexico. She also suggested seeking work within any number of government agencies, among them the EPA and NASA, which could very easily turn into full time work.
Henri Boullier is a French PhD candidate in sociology at LATTS/Universite Paris-Est and IFRIS, and an STS Fellow. He described the community of scientists and STS scholars in France as social and very open to new researchers from abroad. Students interested in working in France can look to the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs for funding, as well as one of the numerous Fulbright grants available. Boullier also recommended CampusFrance as a tool for finding science opportunities.
Mads Dahl Gjefsen is a PhD student at the Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture at the University of Oslo, Norway, and an STS Fellow. Students looking to study in Norway can look to the Norwegian Research Council in addition to Fulbright grants. Those students interested in STS scholarship should seek out the Copenhagen Business School, a leader in the field. Gjefsen also recommended contact with the Scandinavian Studies Program at Harvard for general information. Above all, he said, it will be helpful for students to contact universities directly to start a conversation about possible research.
Dr. Emma Frow, a Fellow with the STS program, is a Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Originally from Canada, Frow completed her undergraduate and doctoral degrees at UK universities before getting involved in volunteer opportunities exploring the relationship between science and society. Among her experiences – and her recommendations to interested students – are positions with the Royal Institution, promoting science; the Foundation for Science and Technology, encouraging scientific debate within Parliament; and the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology. Moreover, Frow emphasized the wealth of STS departments in the UK as well as PhD scholarships available to study there, most notably the Rhodes, Marshall, and Fulbright scholarships.
Maggie Curnutte, a United States native who is now a PhD candidate at the University of Milan, is also an STS Fellow. Though she studied philosophy as an undergraduate, Curnutte ultimately decided to pursue graduate studies within the hard sciences after some time as a technician in a Boston laboratory. Her program in Milan combines her interests in both social policy and hard scientific research, though Curnutte was quick to say that those students interested in pure science can also find opportunities at similar universities. On that note, she noted the wealth of scholarships available to study on international campuses, where visitors are welcomed.
Budding scientists should do everything they can now to build and expand their personal network. Through leveraging this network, believes Jasanoff, students will find the greatest opportunities with the most ease. Networks will also help students discern which programs and universities are the leaders in the field of the student’s interest, as there is no “Mecca” equivalent for scientists looking abroad. Indeed, Harvard students should wear their interdisciplinary background proudly as they search and inquire about scientific opportunities abroad.
For more information, explore the links above or contact OCS career adviser Anthony Arcieri, who can put you in touch with any of the aforementioned personalities. Good luck!
—Nicandro Iannacci, ’13
Last Thursday, November 17, we celebrated international travel, study, work, service and research at the 8th Annual International Photo Contest and 2nd Annual International Travel Writing Contest Reception.
This year, over 500 photos were submitted by 275 undergraduates. The photos were judged across four categories by Deborah Martin Kao, Richard L. Menschel Curator of Photography of the Fogg Art Museum, Acting Head, Division of Modern and Contemporary Art, Chief Curator. In addition, eleven international centers and offices, including OCS, awarded special prizes.
Images by Sarah Rosenberg-Wohl (‘Seamstresses’, Babati, Tanzania, Special Prize, Office of Career Services & Honorable Mention, People) and Rhonda Pickens (Kunter Wasi, Peru, 1st Place, Landscape/Nature).