mariah ortiz '02
Career field: International Studies Advisor
Job title: Program Manager
Employer: Lake Washington College
In two to three sentences, please describe what your current position entails.
Coordinating International Programs. Advising International Students.
What has been your career path to date?
Following graduation, I was awarded a Fulbright grant in Cologne, Germany. Then I worked at Henkel Corporation (Duesseldorf, Germany) in private brand management. Following my work at Henkel, I accepted a position at Montana State University as Study Abroad Advisor / Outreach Coordinator, where I advised US students planning to study abroad and marketed and promoted study abroad programs.
Which country(ies) has your work taken you to?
How did your interest in working internationally develop?
I grew up speaking German and after my study abroad year, I knew I wanted to pursue an internationally-focused career. An internship overseas further reinforced my international interests.
Which parts of your St. Olaf education best prepared you to work internationally?
Study abroad, internships abroad, foreign language study, the broad-based education a liberal arts background provides, the ability to think critically and to be flexible.
What is the most difficult or challenging aspect about working internationally?
Time spent away from home, stress and pressure of deadlines, breakdowns in communication due to language and cultural barriers.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of working internationally?
It is very rewarding to work internationally. It is stimulating, enriching and fascinating. One is constantly exposed to diverse cultures and viewpoints, different ways of conducting business and ways of interacting.
What does being a “global citizen” mean to you?
Being a global citizen means having a broad, global outlook. It means having appreciation for, and sensitivity to, other cultures and languages. It means taking an active interest in international affairs. Being a global citizen means being able to function in a variety of circumstances successfully, and to be flexible. Global citizens are often fluent in multiple languages.
What advice would you offer current students interested in working internationally?
Complete one or more internships abroad. Learn to speak multiple foreign languages fluently. Network and connect with Oles currently overseas. Don't be afraid to "cold call" a company or send them your resume or cover letter. Be persistent - follow up with potential employers! Be confident in your liberal arts skills! Study abroad; it provides you with invaluable skills in foreign languages, intercultural skills, and makes one more flexible, confident and versatile.
Please include anything else you would like to share about your experiences.
I encourage Oles to pursue a field in international education. It often is a natural match with globally-oriented Oles. International education includes a variety of areas: working with study abroad programs, international students studying in the US, program planning, marketing and recruitment, and more. If you are interested, consult the Association of International Education website: http://www.nafsa.org/.