I was a mess the first month of the Teach & Learn in Spain Master Program– a total disaster. Everything I had going for me turned into disappointment. I applied with my best friend in college…she left after two weeks. I found a great apartment in a trendy neighborhood…couldn’t sleep because of all the noise. I felt great and had intermediate Spanish skills….extremely sick on the first night of class lacking the confidence to the doctor by myself. I had a boyfriend…you get it.
When you feel alone, tired, sick and heartbroken all at once while you’re trying to assimilate to a different culture and balance work and class, it’s a challenge to say the least. These life experiences made me a stronger, better-rounded, qualified candidate for employment after graduation. I gained a true sense of compassion for students that choose to seek out education in a foreign country, to an extent at which I believe is only possible from first hand experience. When you add in the courses you’ll be taking, you’re graduating with a well-rounded education and the life skills to be successful in the international education field. It’s the perfect combination of personal and professional growth.
I couldn’t stand the thought of being a nini, and thanks to Instituto Franklin-UAH, I was employed shortly after I graduated. I was recruited by Shorelight Education (they’ve hired other Teach & Learn alumn, too!) and felt confident in my role as an Admissions Officer at the University of Central Florida- my alma mater. Sure, employers consider your international experiences during the hiring process, but when I added my in-depth understanding of international education, it allowed me to stand out from the crowd and solidified their decision to hire me. There was no need to get my degree evaluated- they recognized it as a master’s degree without hesitation. From class, I was full of knowledge about education systems around the world, giving me the opportunity to stand out as a knowledgebase for academic credentials. I was also able to take on more responsibilities as the Sponsored Student Liaison thanks to my personal experiences assimilating to a new culture, as well as a Salesforce Database Manager based on organizational skills that only curriculum design can prepare you for.
In my favorite class, I found myself centered on two key components- career outcomes and professional development. Knowing I was going to return to the U.S. after the program ended, I listened intently to Martha Walliser’s every word. Her class taught me how to create a vision for my future. I’m now working at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA as the Assistant Director of International Admissions because of her guidance. My dreams of focusing more on international recruitment and marketing gave me the courage to take a risk, leave Shorelight and move across the country to start a new adventure. During my short four months at Duquesne, I’ve travelled to China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam with another amazing international education company, EduCo.
So now you may be wondering how my less than ideal experiences turned out after the first month. My best friend from college is now a travelling, organic farmer- it turns out international education isn’t for everyone (and that’s okay). I ended up making a life-long friend in one of my classmates who I may never have gotten to know if my college friend stayed in the program. I found a new, even better apartment with quiet, respectful roommates. My health and Spanish improved- and when I had to go to the doctor again I did it on my own! Oh yeah, I almost forgot the best one- it’s not bad to be single in Spain!!
The point is, I’m forever grateful for having the opportunity to be part of the Teach & Learn in Spain program. My experiences at Instituto Franklin-UAH, both inside and outside of class, showed me that life is all about versatility, flexibility and taking full advantage of every opportunity. The benefits from the program as a whole contributed to my success in the international education field by giving me a major advantage in the job market. You may have small, inconvenient setbacks when you arrive, but if I can make it through, you can too! You’ll be surprised what you learn about yourself and how well prepared you’ll be to reach your career goals upon graduation.
Melissa Davison. Franklin Alumni Master Teach & Learn in Spain 2014-2015
She graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in Spanish. She completed Master Teach & Learn in Spain in International Education on June, 2015.
She is working like Assistant director of International admissions at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania)