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Published: November 6, 2017 Author: Staff reports

Ohio University students, faculty and staff took part in the inaugural Lessons From Abroad Conference on Oct. 21, where they were able to discuss their study away programs with students from other universities and learn more about how to best use their global experiences when talking with potential employers.

The Office of Global Opportunities (OGO) coordinates OHIO’s study away programs, and OGO Associate Director Keely Davin served on the planning committee for the conference, which attracted representatives from Cleveland State University, Miami University, Denison University, the University of Dayton, Ohio Northern University, Xavier University, the University of Findlay, Ohio State University and Wright State University. 

“The Office of Global Opportunities saw this conference as a valuable experience for returned study away students, which is why we sponsored transportation and conference entry for interested OHIO students,” Davin explained. “This conference allowed participants to talk about their experiences to peers with similar experiences, but it also gave participants tools to discuss their time abroad with potential employers in a focused and professional manner.”

Mailé Nguyễn, an Honors Tutorial College student working toward a bachelor of fine arts in stage management, attended the conference because she wanted to talk with other students who have had similar experiences returning home from studying abroad.

“I think that all of the speakers and presenters had really valuable advice and information for us,” she said. “The keynote speaker, Robert Abbott, was a very cool guy and had a lot of life advice for study abroad, but also just moving forward in life.”

Abbott is a communication designer, digital experience strategist and entrepreneur, who was recently named Denison University’s entrepreneur in residence. For more than 30 years he has been innovating brand and communication solutions for a range of respected U.S. and global clients, including John Deere, Jamaica Tourist Board, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Bacardi Global Brands, Panasonic, Deutsche Bank and the Smithsonian. His work has received numerous national and international awards. 

Maddy Saunders, a sociology major earning certificates in business administration and women, gender and sexuality studies, said that attending the conference was an important experience for her.

Saunders spent all of 2017 spring semester in Denmark participating in an exchange program at the University of Southern Denmark. 

“Returning to OHIO this semester, I had no idea how to take this study abroad experience and use it in real life. I knew I had great stories and that I had grown so much, but I couldn’t figure out how to talk about it without calling it ‘great.’ I hoped this conference would help with that,” Saunders explained. “For me, the most valuable [part] was learning how to take stories from study abroad and use them on my resume or in job interviews.

Saunders added that she would recommend that other students attend the conference after they go on their study away experiences.

“Being in a room with people who all understand what you’ve been through abroad and what you’re going through upon return is a wonderful feeling. All of the speakers had great experience with their own studies abroad, and they could really relate to the students,” she said.

Joanna Mitchell, lecturer of Spanish at OHIO and chair of the Study Abroad Committee in the Department of Modern Languages, also attended the conference and gained a great deal from the experience.

“I went because I wanted more ideas about how students can take what they learned during study away and apply it in their future careers and graduate studies. I wasn't disappointed,” Mitchell said.

“Every presenter gave us a fresh perspective on what study away can mean in your future,” she added. “I'll be using the tips and strategies I heard to help my students see all that they have gained while abroad and to help them shape their study away narrative for their resumes and in job interviews and other opportunities.” 

During International Education Week, the Department of Modern Languages will host a Study Away event at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 14, that will include round table discussions, presentations and a photo exhibit by past participants. 

Other staff members who attended the conference included Cherita King, senior global program coordinator for OGO, and Denver Miller, associate executive director of the Center for International Business, who presented one of the conference sessions.

“We were very happy with the first year of this conference. The planning committee intends to take feedback from this year’s participants and offer an even more valuable experience next year” Davin said. OGO plans to advertise the conference to returnees again next year. 

OGO coordinates a wide range of study away programs in the U.S. and around the world for OHIO students. Information about the programs can be found on the OGO website, and walk-in advising is available from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays with no appointment necessary.

This article was provided by the Office of Global Affairs and International Studies.

Denver Miller, associate executive director of the Center for International Business, delivers a presentation at the inaugural Lessons From Abroad Conference.

Denver Miller, associate executive director of the Center for International Business, delivers a presentation at the inaugural Lessons From Abroad Conference.