I feel very fortunate to have been invited by my alma mater, la Universidad de Alcalá de Henares Instituto Franklin-UAH, to present at the 2nd Franklin Alumni Meeting earlier this month. I left Spain over three years ago to move back to Dallas and start my career at a non-profit but I will always think of Spain as my second home, which is thanks in large part to my experiences at Instituto Franklin-UAH. Upon returning to Madrid for the conference, the sense of home felt stronger than ever to me with the opportunity to stay at the university, see old friends from the program, and meet current students and alumni.
The conference took place on December 1st and 2nd at the UAH Colegio Mayor de San Ildefonso and in Madrid, where I had the opportunity to give a short presentation about the work I’m doing with the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth as Director of Education. I oversee the organization’s Global Young Leaders (GYL) program, which is an international education initiative that creates an intelligent pathway for North Texas high school students to achieve ambitions in international careers and education. I spoke to the institute’s students and alumni about how the Master in International Education Master at Instituto Franklin-UAH prepared me to be successful professionally and helped me develop the global competence skills that I now provide high school students.
Global competence is a major focus of the GYL program through four areas of concentration including diplomatic leadership, civic engagement, problem solving, and cultural intelligence. We emphasize global competence because it is a transferable skill set that equips people to be flexible, adaptable, independent, and creative; which are very hirable traits. Employers located in the DFW Metroplex are seeking applicants who are not only technically educated but also able to work with diverse groups. Thus, using the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) framework for global competence, our GYL program is preparing North Texas students to be successful in the international economy of our region. To learn more about the GYL program, you can visit here.
To learn more about global competence and it’s increasing importance in educational initiatives around the world, I would recommend reading about PISA at the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD). To meet this emerging demand and recognize the unique roles that schools play in preparing our youth for this interconnected world, the PISA Programme at the OECD has developed a framework to explain, develop and assess global competence among adolescents around the world. The framework directly informs the PISA global competence test to be administered in 2018. To learn more about the launch of this framework, visit here.
By living in Spain and pursuing my Masters at Instituto Franklin-UAH, I was provided opportunities to develop global competence skills and legitimize my international experiences to qualify for a career in world affairs. I hope that the students who attended the conference and listed to my presentation learned that the skills we gain through the Teach and Learn in Spain Master Program are transferrable to many career paths, and the experience of living abroad and doing a bilingual masters sets us apart from other job applicants. Though, the key to success is to learn how to sell the experiences and the skills that you hone through your time living and working in Spain.