Publication Date

2000

Abstract

What does one need to do, then, in order to launch a career in the field of Education Abroad? First and foremost, one must spend time abroad, ideally as a study abroad participant for at least a semester. In addition, one should spend time living and working abroad. A stage as an intern or in an entry level position, to pick up basic knowledge and skills, is recommended in order to get started. There is no one way, no right way to approach a career in the field of Education Abroad. Those already in the field see specific training as being not essential, but rather too narrow in scope. It isn't any one specific route, but rather an individual combination of experience and learning that prepares one for the field of Education Abroad. What makes this field so rich is the vast variety of experiences and abilities of those working in it. While a degree is necessary (at least a Bachelor's, and in many cases, a Master's Degree), the area of study is not so important, as long as the academic focus is either in the Humanities, Social Sciences, or something with international focus. One of the strenghts of the field is that it is so diverse, that each individual is able to contribute from a different background, and that it is mobile, in that professionals are not restricted to only one primary job. It is not necessary to lock oneself into a narrowly focused set of competencies. While specific training for International Education does help individuals in their positions, it is not felt that it makes a significant difference. This is clear based on the responses on the part of both those who have had the specific training and those who haven't. Based on the findings of this research, perhaps the idea of formal credentials or certification is not congruent with the field of education abroad. It appears that few in the field support this notion. I would recommend further research in terms of whether those in Education Abroad feel the need to establish clear credentials and guidelines for accreditation to work in this field. Furthermore, if indeed the 'right personality' is needed to be a successful professional in Education Abroad, there must be research into what defines this personality. As pointed out in this research paper, there are several options for professional training and development toward accreditation.

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