Tag Archives: Career

Looking Good. . . . and the Power of #Reputation

8 Jan

Times Higher Education

During a quiz, two students start whispering in the back and lose points for cheating. Later, “Teacher, please don’t take away our points! We weren’t cheating. We promise. You should trust us!” 

To be honest, maybe 75% of the time, the students AREN’T cheating – just bored.  But it LOOKS bad. 

The problem is a matter of REPUTATION. People trust their eyes. If it looks like you do questionable things (behaviors that look bad), people will not trust you when you say you are innocent. They will trust what their eyes tell them.  

Example: You do not always follow the rules and make a note of the money you spend at the company. Suddenly, some goes missing while you were in charge. No matter what excuses you make, even if you are very honest, people will often see missing money and a careless worker and be suspicious that you stole it. 

Example 2: You take things from the company without permission. Small things — stuff no one really cares about. Pens. Paper. Staples. Toilet Paper. Coffee Pot. $1 or $2 from the register to buy a soda here or there. Maybe you take a meal without paying. Sneak an extra bread roll off the shelf. Then one day, $300 goes missing from the register you have access to. Suspicion turns on you.  What exactly is your defense?  “Guys! You know me! I wouldn’t do something like that!” . . . . Yeah, we do know you. You take small stuff, why would we believe that there is some magic limit on the big stuff?  Even if you are completely 100% innocent, it’s harder to prove your case. 

Real World Example: A teacher frequently talks to students alone in his office with the door closed. He hangs out with several of the female students. He goes out to dinner with one of them (a lot). He gives her presents (Christmas, her birthday). He helps her study for classes. He invites her to the faculty Christmas party as a student friend.  Students start asking questions . . . . Then the teachers start asking questions.  Even though the guy was never ACTUALLY caught having a relationship with this student, it sure looked bad. So when students complained to the administration, he was fired. It simply was too questionable. Whether or not something bad REALLY happened, no one knows. But he put himself in a situation where it was questionable. People weren’t sure. MAYBE he could have done it. 

Don’t be that person. 

One of the lessons I hope my students remember in the future is that it is not enough to “be a good person” — you must also LOOK like a good person. It’s simple risk management.  Never put yourself in a situation where there can be any QUESTION as to your morality. Be the person where, when someone says “They say he stole money from the company!” the people around you respond “Him? Never! He’s not that kind of person. I’ve seen him at work and he is a good man.” 


20 May

I’m so wonderfully blessed. ❤ Just spent the afternoon chatting with a student about his dreams for the future and past accomplishments. He has worked incredibly hard and gone from speaking broken Chinese only to speaking Chinese, good English, and good German. He’s now graduating from college with an American Bachelor’s degree, and he’s off to Germany to start new adventures.  It’s such a blessing to see what he has done and to hear about where he is going.  And to be the proud teacher of a student this awesome (who brings me cola every time we talk 😛 ) is just a wonderful feeling. I’m so happy to have a chance to be part of their lives. ❤ 

Teaching is not an easy job, I’m a little surprised at just how difficult it actually can be.  Well, time-consuming is probably a better word than difficult.  It just takes a lot of time, effort, and heart.  To be rewarded with students who get to move forward in their lives, who are seeing dreams realized and lives blessed is worth every last bit of work.  


Sweet Students 🙂


Where to Study Abroad? – 10 Things to Consider

29 Apr


Once you have made the important decision to study abroad, it is important to find the very best place for your dream adventure. Regardless of whether this is a once-in-a-lifetime trip or a one-in-a-billion trip, finding the ideal location is a big process.

But the world is large and glorious in all its wonder!

There are approximately 200 countries in the world, and almost all of them offer at least one collegiate institution for you to study in.  So many options, so little time!  It’s mind-boggling how study abroad can open your horizons and offer you the world on a silver platter.

So making that final decision of where to go can be a bit tricky and stressful. To help you out, I’ve talked with several study abroad students and drawn up a list of ten different considerations that can help you narrow down the choices.

Tag Archives: who makes more money

1. Money

It seems a bit petty, but money tends to be the first element worth considering when choosing your program. Studying abroad is hardly inexpensive, but some countries and cities can take less out of your bank than others.  For example, China and Korea have somewhat similar cultures and many similar programs; however, Tianjin is statistically cheaper by far than Seoul.  And Japan can run at New York costs if you stay very long.  So look at the cost of living for your country choices, not just the cost of tuition!

Map of Europe and European Political Map

2. Extended Travel

Some places make it easier than others to travel around a bit. People who travel to Europe are pretty free to hop on a train and set off all around the many nearby countries. The trip from Paris to Berlin in hardly worth mentioning, and maybe next weekend, you could pick up Spain or Switzerland?  South-East Asia is similar in some respects (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, China, India, etc.); however, keep in mind VISA costs and requirements.  On the other hand, Hawaii is a lovely state, but travel to other places is hardly easy. Same is true of most islands or isolated countries.  The middle of Russia is beautiful, but you’ve got a ways to travel to get out of it. Moscow on the other hand, might be a possibility.


3. Multiple Places?

Most students think of spending all their time with one program, but did you know it’s possible to do more than one if you plan it right? One summer, I picked up consecutive programs in Japan and China, spending the week in between relaxing in South Korea.  I carefully shopped around the different programs and found two that were close in time, but not overlapping.  Since I stayed in Asia, I wasn’t paying extra flight costs, it was just a matter of applying and being accepted to both programs. Think about the possibilities!

4. Extra-Curricular Activities

As I’ve said before, Study Abroad isn’t entirely about the program itself. Look into locations where you can pick up an internship or two. Maybe you know someone there who will give you a job or let you trail them at work.  Places where you can see some history and culture; watch some current major events; maybe even contribute some help of your own like a mission or volunteer program.

5. Career

Presumably, you picked study abroad because it will benefit your career in some way. Mostly for the fun sure, but there should be some small piece of you that’s hoping this will help your future. So think about places that will offer the most resources.  If you are interested in Asia-focused topics (languages, history, economy, government), then don’t look at European schools. On the other hand, if you are all about Brit lit, the EU system, the debt crisis in Greece, Renaissance art, etc. then maybe Europe is the place for you. Once again, think about places where you can get internships, visit relevant businesses, interview beneficial contacts, do some networking.

6. Language

This one is obvious, but worth noting — are you interested in learning a foreign language? If the answer is no, then stop. Go look at programs in countries that speak your language. There are tons of places that speak Chinese, French, English, Spanish, Arabic, etc. Just find one in your language and go with it. If language-learning is not part of your study abroad goals, then don’t bother with the stress.  On the other hand, if you think learning a foreign language will be helpful or you want the adventure, then stop looking at countries that speak your language and find one with a language that looks interesting to you. 

7. Program

Of course, you can’t forget to look at the program itself. In fact, it might be one of the first things to look at if it’s at all important to you. Despite what it seems like, study abroad programs aren’t all alike. There aren’t a million of every kind in every single country.  For example, I studied law, and there aren’t law school programs everywhere in Asia. I had to shop around before I found one in Korea at all. Options were very limited. Same is true of many other programs. Study abroad programs tend to be for the arts, business, or some sciences. Other programs, you may not have much of a choice. So before selecting the land of your dreams and getting your hopes up, make sure a program you need is available there.  

8. Time

How much time do you have to spend on this excursion? One week? Three weeks? Five months?  Trust me, you don’t want to waste your big opportunity spending a whole semester at a school in the middle of no-man’s-land with little means to get out. One week there, meeting the locals and becoming familiar with traditional customs? Might be a lot of fun!  If you have a lot of time, I recommend picking a place that has several nearby places you can visit that interest you.

9. Safety

Of course, keep in mind your own safety.  There are a lot of countries that I have always wanted to visit, but I really don’t think are safe right now. For example, I’ve always wanted to see the Sphinx and Pyramids and parts of Africa, but Egypt and Nigeria have had some problems. As a single, white Christian female, I may want to find a different country for now.  Or think about the places that are having bad disease outbreak.  Maybe there are places for you that are less safe than others; don’t risk your life recklessly just for a fun experience.

10. Dreams

Don’t forget to think about your dreams. If there is that one place that you’ve always wanted to check out, now would be the perfect time. I once visited China with a friend who can specifically to see Pandas in their natural habitat. She loved, breathed, and lived pandas, and this was just a major dream for her. Of course, the program was good for her too, but she really came for the pandas. And that’s okay too!

Life is about being happy, finding the things that light up your world, making a difference, and reaching the dreams that lay deep in your heart. Take this time as the opportunity to do that – find the place you love, that home away from home. And enjoy the heck out of it!

7 Tricks for Making Your Study Abroad Experience Pop

13 Mar
"In front of Pudong Skyline" by leniners

“In front of Pudong Skyline” by leniners

In 2012-2013, the United States saw 289,396 students studying abroad. (1) While that is still on 1% of the student body population, the number is ever increasing. Add to that the students and people who are traveling via vacations, volunteer missions, immigration, military, and other international-related events and you have a surprising number of people with experience travelling abroad. In fact, in 2012, one billion people travelled abroad as tourists, and that doesn’t include those who go on a different type of VISA, such as teaching or business.(2)  

Studying abroad is a highly advantageous experience; offering a wide number of benefits from increased confidence and self-determination to broader understanding of how the world works.  Still, perhaps the #1 reason why most students go abroad is the concept of resume-stuffing.  When launching ourselves into a new career, it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd; especially when most students have little practical work experience to fall back on.  Study abroad is one of the ways we give ourselves an edge over other candidates.

But now the word is out – Studying internationally offers excellent opportunities, builds your qualifications, and is fun to boot. So more and more people are joining the group of college and high schoolers stepping on planes  every summer, winter, spring, and fall.  

When the goal is to make yourself stand out, it’s starting to be more difficult to achieve this with study abroad. Too many people are doing it along with you. So how do you make your Study Abroad experience POP! What will help you rise above the crowd, pushing you in front once again?

1. Try a long Summer or Semester

Many programs in the Winter or Summer are actually pretty short. The two to three-week jaunt is pretty popular for universities, more like a small tour than classroom experience. While the shorter programs have a lot to offer (easy to fit into schedules, allows time for other experiences, lower costs), there is something to be said for taking a month or semester long program.  Attending a foreign university, taking actual classes with substantial assignments, getting more time to make the most of your trip and all the trip has to offer.  It will add to the legitimacy of you program in the eyes of Interviewers.

2. Step Out of Your Box

I say this quite frequently, but don’t just follow the program guide. Try planning your own adventures; adding friends or locals is even better. Too many students want to follow the schedule and then hang out at the hotel or nearby club. While the clubbing may certainly be fun; neither of those things adds to your hire-ability.  Instead, use the time to visit a museum, check out the main sights, try to get new and unique experiences. Feast at a random, untested food stall on the street. Go to an unmapped area in the city and wander the streets to see what you find. Employers who  look at study abroaders are significantly looking for people who show initiative, adventurousness, and adaptability. The best way to demonstrate that is to offer examples of times when you struck off the main roads and did something new and daring.  

3. Choose Well-Known Schools

One of the surprising things about Study Abroad is that it is usually easier to study with a reputable university for a short term than a long one. A lot of universities that would overlook you as a full-time student will gladly accept you as a student in their global program.  There is also the opportunity to pick a program at one of the hundreds of internationally recognized universities with ranking similar if not equal to US Ivy Schools. The international world of education has a lot to offer. Studying abroad is an easy way to study at a somewhat better (or more well-known) school than you otherwise might have.  

4. Pick Up a Internship

For some reason, most students don’t take internships into consideration when studying abroad. However, adding on work experience is one of the best ways to boost your resume.  You can find a lot of programs that offer an internship as part of the program itself (e.g. I studied with Fordham who organized a month-long internship with Samsung’s Legal Team in Seoul at the end of their summer program).  But you can also go out and find your own internship. Contact local companies; get ahold of your university’s career office and see if they have any contacts. 

5. Build Connections (and communication skills)

One of the worst mistakes Student Abroaders make is to hang out with fellow internationals and ignore opportunities to meet the locals.  It’s easier and more reassuring to sit and chat the night away with fellow English-Speaking members of your group than to stick yourself out there. But one of the skills to market to Employers on your return is that very skill – The ability to communicate with people regardless of background, culture, or language. Plus, you’d be amazed at the fascinating people you might meet! By opening up to the locals, you’ll meet expats who have had superstar careers or travelled to 150+ countries, local businessmen who own cool companies and invent awesome things,  maybe even some connections to help your career. Speaking of which, deliberately seek to meet and introduce yourself to people in your career field – ask for appointments, request interviews, and keep in touch with all the people you meet via LinkedIn or Email.

6. Take time on your Own

Having tested out several different types of study abroad programs, I found that the best and most beneficial experience were the trips I struck it off for a few days on my own. Maybe it’s just for a weekend trip from Madrid to Paris or jetsetting off for the holiday down to Shanghai. Or even just scooping out the little village an hour out. Planning and successfully completing a trip on your own in a foreign country is an amazing opportunity, and it grows you somehow. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it shows you and your hirers that you have it to go. Dump you in a complex, difficult situation, and you can thrive. That’s not something a lot of students abroad do, but it sure helps you move out from the crowd.

7. Don’t slack on the Grades

Don’t use the study abroad trip as a chance to slack off and grab easy grades. Did you know that a lot of schools offer “Highest Grade in. . . . ” even for study abroad classes?  It looks great on your resume if you can grab something like that. Plus, this is a good chance to boost your grades since Study Abroad classes tend to be more laid back and relaxed.  Use this as a chance to show people that you can adapt and succeed in any situation, even classes in a totally different country, maybe in a second language.


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