This is a reoccurring series in Healthy Glows Guide to Having an International Career.
When I was younger I always had a deep interest in working abroad. It might have been the immigrant experience of my parents, the international trips I took throughout my life, spending nights reading a copy of my Dad’s Time Magazine (when I was younger), my ability to really chase my dreams, and being dedicated to my career plans.
Now, I can proudly look back at my storied, (even though it is at its beginning stages of what I hope will be a very interesting career), and can point to the people, internships, connections, and “jump out my box opportunities” I took advantage of.
If you are interested in working/interning abroad I implore to you to do your research, make a plan, and put your plans into action! In these difficult economic times, finding a job or switching careers is not easy. But if you go to international events, have the ability to intern, find a temporary position, or seek out mentors who can help you with connecting you with people who have your dream job, do it!
If you are not willing to put yourself out there, make connections and jump out of your box no one will do it for you! Before you get too engrossed in the information and day dreaming about international travels, talk to someone who has an international career. Ask them what are the positive and negative aspects of the career that you should consider. Will havng an international career fit into the life you want for yourself, now or in the future? Think of the tough thought provoking questions before you dive in feet first!
Still Interested in interning abroad? Check out these links. It may not seem like much but at least I have pointed you in the right direction!
Interested in the work of a U.S. Diplomat? Click any of these links below:
Read excerpts from the 2011 3rd edition of Inside a U.S. Embassy. (To view the files listed below, you will need the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader, which you can download for free by clicking here.)
Working Abroad: Recent Graduate Shares Her Experience at the American Embassy Kinshasa
"When most people picture the life of embassy staff, they might envision schmoozing with dignitaries and nights of chauffeur-driven rides to glamorous parties. Granted, there are those glamorous events, but the diplomatic life is not all luxury and limousines. It is hard work to maintain the positive relationships between the United States and its host country, which in my case was the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). I was selected by the American Embassy Kinshasa (the capital city of the Democratic Republic of Congo) to serve as the intern in the Public Affairs section of the Embassy. The DRC is located in the “Great Lakes Region” of Central Africa, with a storied past.
As a Public Affairs Officer you are the face of the American Embassy. Their mission is to “promote an informed and objective understanding of American policies, institutions, and societal values amongst the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Emphasis is placed on explaining US policy toward the Congo and the Great Lakes/Great Rivers sub-region and on promoting democracy, peace and reconciliation, and sustainable development.” In simpler words, this section serves as the face of the embassy and does all of the fun programming to maintain the relationship between the United States and the DRC.
Kinshasa is considered a hardship post as defined by the United States Foreign Service. Hardship posts are those where the living conditions are dangerous or difficult due to various factors such as the climate, crime, health care, and/or pollution. But it was still one of the best experiences that I have ever had, because every day I was able to interact with Congolese people while still improving my French language skills. Public Affairs was great for me because creating a positive relationship between the United States and the Congolese people could take any form. I was able to lead a discussion about the U.S. presidential election process, or lead a two-week summer camp for students who wanted to learn English, talk to Congolese students about my collegiate experience at Indiana University, assist in planning the American 4th of July Celebration, sit in on meetings to discuss the funding of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and how to use the money in that fund to create AIDS relief programming for the Congolese people. And, since the embassy had only two Public Affairs Officers for one of the world’s largest countries, I was able to become a vital part of the Public Affairs section.
I enjoyed being one of six interns who were part of the United States Mission in the DRC (USMC). We set up weekend campaign trips, explored and eventually got lost in the city of Kinshasa (the current population is as much as 10 million), went dancing, visited other embassies, and played tennis at the Ambassador’s house. My favorite activity, however, was swimming in the Congo River, which is one of the largest and fastest moving rivers in the world. My time at the embassy was one of the best experiences of my life, and if I could do it for the rest of my life, I would be happy to.” Now, I am actually a U.S. Diplomat!
Katherine Ntiamoah graduated Indiana University.
Oh, did you know I created a facebook page for my little old blog? Well know you do! “Like” it immediately! I also created a survey and it seems that most of my blog readers want more information on international careers. Every so often I will post information about career opportunities. Here is a great one through the United Nations. Act fast, the due date is September 10, 2011.
The UN is currently accepting applications from for its Young Professionals Program (formerly the National Competitive Recruitment Exam); the deadline to apply is September 10, 2011. See https://careers.un.org/lbw/home.aspx?viewtype=NCE&lang=en-US for a list of participating countries and more information. The US is on the list again this year. The process of obtaining a job through this exam can be very lengthy and involves several steps, including:
· students or recent grads with eligible nationalities (who must be 32 or younger) apply to sit for the exam before September 10, 2011.
· if you are accepted, then take the exam – which is very substantive – on December 7, 2011.
· if you pass the written exam, then move on to an oral exam, now called an interview but still very substantive.
· if you pass that you will be placed on a roster which gives you priority for applying for entry level jobs (entry level within the UN system meaning those with 2+ years’ experience).
Anyone with a first university degree in a somewhat related field is eligible to apply and the process of getting a job can take up to 1-3 years.
Job seekers who are US Citizens, please see related message from the US Department of State below:
2011 YOUNG PROFESSIONALS PROGRAM (YPP) EXAMINATION (*)
The U.S. Department of State announces for all qualified U.S. citizens:
United Nations 2011 Young Professionals Program (YPP) Examination
for UN junior professional posts.
Examination Criteria (all must be met)
1. Be no more than 32 years old as of December 31, 2011.
2. Have at least an undergraduate degree (advanced degree is an advantage, but is not required) in one of the following occupational fields or related areas:
· Humanitarian Affairs
· Public Information
3. Be fluent in English and/or French, the two working languages of the UN Secretariat. Knowledge of additional official languages of the UN (Arabic, Chinese, Russian, and Spanish) is a definite advantage.
NOTE: Admission to the exam may be limited to the 40 most qualified Americans per occupational group. Potential employment offers depend upon test results, interview, number of vacancies, and competition from applicants from other nations. Applicants should be aware that the selection and placement process can be lengthy.
The deadline for applications is September 10, 2011.
The examination will be given on December 7, 2011,
in New York City and possibly another location.
Travel expenses to and from the exam site will NOT be paid
by the UN or U.S. Government.
(*) Formerly known as UN National Competitive Recruitment Examination (NCRE)
Beyonce told Gaddafi to shove it! Well, his money that is. Hounded by the press to give back the money she earned performing for the Gaddafi clan at a New Year’s Eve Party in 2009, Beyonce told The Associated Press that she already gave the money to charity…a year ago. According to her publicist, Bey gave the money to “earthquake relief efforts in Haiti, over a year ago.” Apparently, “once it became known that the third party promoter was linked to the Qaddafi family, the decision was made to put that payment to a good cause.” Good for Beyonce. We’re just waiting to see if Mariah, Usher, and Lionel Richie will follow suit. [Hollywood Reporter]
Patrick Gaspard is the Director of the White House Office of Political Affairs and is the highest ranking Haitian-American official in the Obama Administration states, “this is an important time for us to reflect on the important progress that’s been made, and the many players who have made it possible, while reaffirming the American commitment to Haiti and looking ahead to the work that remains to be done in cooperation with the Haitian people and international partners.”
To read his whole blog post click here.
A picture of downtown Melaka, Malaysia in July 2010.
A friend of mine, a couple of weeks ago posted a story that really caught my interest. It was about one of my favorite topics, traveling. After thinking about travel I sat down and thought. I have gotten on and off a lot of PLANES in the last couple years of my life, some trips I was excited about, some trips forced upon me. I can confidentially say that every single trip I have gone on, has changed my character profoundly. I have seen some awe inspiring sights, the daily struggles of living in a developing country and even how the very wealthy live.
My eyes are wider, my suitcases are in tatters and my camera is beat up. I think I have earned the right to complain a little bit about how much I do not like flying coach (one day I will fly business or first class…). But I know that I am blessed to be able to have to the funds, the support and wanderlust to pack my things time and time again. I travel because I love it. I am even more addicted to the ups and downs of experiencing a new country. I love the jet lag, making new friends, getting lost, that feeling of contempt, homesickness, falling in love with the food and then being able to come home and do it all again.
Anyway, back to the story that started my ramblings. World Hum, a website dedicated to compiling the best travel stories on the internet, published a travel feature entitled, “Why We Travel” by Pico Iyer. “In this classic essay, Pico Iyer explores the reasons we leave our beliefs and certainties at home to see the world with open eyes.”
You can read the whole article here.
Some of the portions that stood out to me the most:
We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again—to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.
The beauty of this whole process was best described, perhaps, before people even took to frequent flying, by George Santayana in his lapidary essay, “The Philosophy of Travel.” We “need sometimes,” the Harvard philosopher wrote, “to escape into open solitudes, into aimlessness, into the moral holiday of running some pure hazard, in order to sharpen the edge of life, to taste hardship, and to be compelled to work desperately for a moment at no matter what.”
For what we all too often ignore when we go abroad is that we are objects of scrutiny as much as the people we scrutinize, and we are being consumed by the cultures we consume, as much on the road as when we are at home. At the very least, we are objects of speculation (and even desire) who can seem as exotic to the people around us as they do to us.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Pico Iyer is the author of several books about his travels, including Video Night in Kathmandu, “The Lady and the Monk,” “The Global Soul” and “Sun After Dark.” His most recent travel book, The Open Road, describes 33 years of talks and adventures with the 14th Dalai Lama.