ERIC Identifier: ED341889
Publication Date: 1991-12-31
Author: Sanborn, Robert
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on
Counseling and Personnel Services Ann Arbor MI.
Internationalizing the University Career Center. ERIC Digest.
In the emerging global era, efforts to enhance international higher education
in the United States focus upon study and work abroad programs. As
internationalization becomes an increasingly important trend, other
international programs will arise in response to student needs.
Internationalization of higher education and of the student services areas
within universities is almost certainly a subject to be dealt with now, or in
the near future. Career centers, as a part of student services, may be pressed
to internationalize sooner than other areas because of student demand. The
university career center should respond to this demand and seek to assist
students in participating in the global economy.
DEVELOPMENT OF THE PROGRAM
Development of the international
component of the university career center follows many of the usual steps taken
in the development of any university program. The added extra dimension is the
integration of college career programs and international programs. While the
process used for the installation of the internationalized career center will
vary at each university, the basic steps will be the same at virtually all
university career centers.
The population of the university should be evaluated to determine if it will
use the planned program. Preliminary information may include the increasing
popularity of study abroad programs and other limited international
opportunities, and the news media's continued focus on international changes.
These factors may combine to create a general perception among faculty, staff,
and students that a need exists for international programs.
an Administrative Base
A separate office is not usually established initially for the sole purpose
of international work but will likely be a part of an existing department, such
as the international student services office, the study abroad office, an
academic department, or the career office. An existing staff member should
coordinate and implement the program as part of his/her duties.
Internationalization of the career center may be coordinated as a part of the
entire career services program.
Five primary goals are an integral part of the development of an
internationalization program. These broad goals can be broken down into specific
areas and further developed into components of the career center.
Development of a professional staff. Students seeking counseling or attending
workshops presented by the career center must have confidence in the information
provided by counselors and professionals with a strong fundamental knowledge of
international career prospects.
Education of students. International career education should focus on discussion
of international employment and graduate schools through publications, workshops
and seminars, and counseling. Education should also create an interest in those
students who are less knowledgeable on the subject.
Development of international resources. A resource center or library with a
number of international career reference materials, such as directories,
international listings, general readings, and international graduate school
program catalogues, must be acquired and assembled.
Opportunities for international experience. Opportunities range from short-term
international volunteer programs to academic credit internships with an emphasis
in an international area, to longer term international projects, such as summer
International opportunities for graduating students. Efforts should be made to
facilitate the career selection process, including identification of key
employment areas, areas that have potential for American student employment,
organizations aiding the international employment process for Americans, and
graduate programs in international fields.
COMPONENTS OF THE INTERNATIONALIZED CAREER CENTER
centers can offer students international options and assistance in a number of
areas. Some university career centers may attempt to implement international
aspects in all areas of career placement and services. Other career centers may
prefer to modify the program to suit particular needs and meet limited
Career counselors must be able to confidently answer questions about
international careers, summer jobs abroad, graduate and professional schools
with an international emphasis and opportunities for travel abroad.
Resource or library areas need to be developed with international
directories, international publications, international job listings, lists of
contact names, and other books on international careers and related areas.
Information sessions, seminars, workshops, and similar methods of outreach
are ideal for providing information to students. Workshops should be offered by
the career center on international topics such as careers in international
affairs, international engineering careers, and international summer jobs.
Internships abroad provide students with an excellent way to gain specific
career experience and skills while living in a foreign culture. Relationships
should be initiated with local international organizations to increase student
internship placement and employment possibilities.
The university career center should seek to create opportunities for
international experiential learning, enabling students to view and participate
in a foreign culture, and to experience life in a developing third-world
Publications written by the career center should focus attention upon
international careers. Creation of an international newsletter for students
provides a constant and consistent source of international career information
and educates students on international career issues.
Students interested in graduate programs in international affairs should be
encouraged to investigate professional schools of international affairs, or
programs in public policy with international emphases.
The career center should design an international summer jobs program for
students interested in working abroad during the summer. Positions must be
developed for all majors.
A number of problems can exist with an
internationalized career program. For example, one university career center's
successful program could create problem areas at other universities. These
problems, while certainly manageable, are worth noting in the evaluation or
planning of any internationalized career program.
The dearth of specific information can create problems for a career center.
Programs may be developed from primary sources and from the personal experiences
of the staff at established programs. Communication between universities with
international career programs is a logical step to the advancement of knowledge
within the field. Universities should have the option of building their programs
on the proven successes of other universities.
At universities where new initiatives are not always looked upon fondly, the
support of the university administration can be gained by establishing that
students need and are demanding such a program. Some career centers will also
have to deal with systems in which initiatives only arise from administrators,
rather than at the center itself.
University career centers may not have the flexibility, time or budget to
contemplate enhancement or innovation. In general, budgetary problems are a
major obstacle for career centers and can be a large hurdle for establishing
internationalization programs. Generally, the level of budgetary support
received by a career center corresponds to the level of administrative support.
Student support could easily diminish for a number of reasons: (1) excitement
lapses as time passes; (2) international interest among students is not as high
as initially assessed; (3) students express an interest in international careers
without knowing anything about the subject; (4) students mistake an
international career for one that involves travel immediately upon graduation
without the benefit of any special skill or foreign language ability; and, (5)
students realize the difficulty of locating international possibilities.
A number of problems may occur with faculty: (1) apathy towards student
services or programs in which they have no part; (2) perception among certain
academic areas that an international program can threaten them or their
programs; and, (3) possible belief among certain faculty members that
international experience is not necessary.
Accumulating enough donations or corporate grants for travel funds to award
as student grants is often a problem. First, students must be aware of any costs
which may be incurred through international work or travel. Second, the career
center must use every effort possible to raise funds for the creation of travel
Universities located in isolated rural locales could face problems initiating
portions of an international program. Rural universities facing these types of
problems must focus their internship attention on summer opportunities or
academic internships away from the university.
The internationalization of a
university's career program will have positive effects on the students; however,
the long-term and abstract benefits to the university, American society, and the
common good must also be noted.
Internationalization of the university. Many American universities are
historically introspective and regional. International career programs may
propel them towards the international arena.
An educated society. International education enables Americans to view the
outside world intimately and facilitates understanding of global differences.
Enhanced economic competitiveness. As we enter the new era of decreasing
military competition and increasing economic integration and trade, the Untied
States can benefit from a population that understands cultural and international
differences and similarities.
Global understanding. The development of a mutual understanding between nations
may lead to the potential prevention or reduction of international conflict.
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