Embargo Period


Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Lynée Connelly

Second Advisor

Udi Butler


This case study surveys and interviews alumni of International Student Exchange Programs (ISEP) direct enroll study abroad programs to learn about their post-program career path. ISEP alumni study from and in over 50 countries worldwide. Survey and data analysis methodology for this study used Cognitive Information Processing, Social Cognitive Career Theory, Chaos Theory, and Systems Theory of career development to determine what guides alumni toward or away from international relations (IR) related occupations.

Alumni in IR-related careers usually had an internationalized personal history prior to university and reported that their ISEP program improved their ability to secure and perform their job duties. Participants not engaged in IR-related occupations reported a low comfort level living abroad or unsureness of IR-related career pathways.

This work recommends increased investment in pre-university internationalization, IR-related employment resources, and more robust program-related support, particularly for students who identify ethnic or racial minorities in either their home or host culture.

Keywords: Professional Development, Social Cognitive Career Theory, Cognitive Information Processing Theory, Chaos Theory, Systems Theory, Internationalization, International Relations, Diplomacy, International Student Exchange Programs, Study Abroad, Exchange, Direct Enroll


Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Leadership | Higher Education Administration | International and Comparative Education | University Extension