Six EIU students and four staff members spent their Saturday in Chicago this past weekend at the Lessons from Abroad Returnee Conference. The students received scholarships from the Office of Study Abroad to attend the conference, and included one junior, five seniors and one graduate student. Their study abroad experiences range from a year in England to a semester in South Korea, and they hail from a variety of majors: English, Journalism, Political Science, Communication Studies, History and Masters in Business Administration. Three of the students are currently enrolled in the STA4000G Study Abroad Capstone course.
These conferences are intended for U.S. students who have returned from a study abroad experience, providing them with opportunities to share and discuss the value and benefits of study abroad. EIU students networked with classmates from nearby colleges and universities, as well as companies and professionals present at the event.
Held at the DePaul University Loop Campus, and the first of its kind in Illinois, the conference focused on how to use study abroad when landing a career, learning how to put the experience on a resume, allowing time for networking, and providing opportunities on how to study abroad and volunteer overseas after graduation. Organizations such as GoAbroad, Greenheart Travel, and international graduate schools lined the hallways sharing information on their programs.
Dr. Gabriella Ganugi, President and Founder of Florence University of Arts, one of Eastern’s most popular partner schools, led the day with a brilliant keynote speech about her own experiences in defining and reaching her goals. Ganugi is the first woman to receive the Chamber of Commerce award in Florence, Italy and has written nine books about international education.
Eastern’s own Interim Director of Study Abroad, Kelly Holland co-presented with Career Services counselor Bobbi Kingery on the topic “From Experience to Interview”. The session focused on making a study abroad experience marketable in the workplace. Using tips, tricks, and several exercises, Holland and Kingery helped participants draw parallels between experiences and skills developed while overseas. Eastern staff members, Bill Elliott, Assistant Dean of the Graduate School & International Programs and Evan Lohmann, Study Abroad Coordinator, also represented EIU at the conference. Elliott facilitated a panel on “How to Get an International Career,” and Lohmann, who has taught in the Republic of Georgia, served as a panelist for ‘Work, Teach, Intern, Volunteer Abroad.”
The day ended with a bang as one of our students WON the raffle for two round trip tickets to Germany! Thanks to Lessons from Abroad and DePaul University for an awesome day 🙂