Career Counseling POV from an On-campus Expert
By Guest Blogger Brian Hirsch, Director of Career Services for Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.
It is always great to talk to students who have an understanding of the inter-connectedness of the world into which they will graduate. I often get comments, sometimes thrown out rather casually, that students are interested in international work or global professionalism. As I have tried to provide resources and programming through our Career Services Office at Trinity University, I am struck that in spite of the expressed interest, students do not show up for these programs. Which leads me to ask the question, just what is it that students are really looking for?
One thing that we know is that if you truly want to work abroad it takes a great deal of effort.
First, defining exactly what you want to do in terms of occupation and industry. Specificity here is important because without it you will either gather information that is way too broad or not specific enough. Secondly, where geographically do you really want to be? You may be fascinated with China but do you have the skill set to survive, much less thrive in a culture that is very different from the one you are used to? If you conclude that you don’t have those skills, then where does that leave you in terms of working abroad? Is it China or bust? Finally, networking specifically in the occupation, industry, and geographical location will be key. It has to go just beyond just finding an online job board and actually meeting people who work or have worked in those areas.
And do you really want to work abroad at all? Or are you just interested in understanding and appreciating how even if you work domestically you will still be a global professional. What does global professionalism mean to you, and what can career offices, mentors, and blogs like this provide by way of resources to help?
There is literally a world of opportunity out there and this generation of college graduates appreciates that more than any previous and if I may say is better prepared to deal with it. So, spend some time making some decisions, knowing that they are not necessarily permanent and that your career will almost definitely take a different turn down the road. Then tell us, what we can do to help.
Dr. Brian Hirsch is a native of South Louisiana, and he finished his bachelors degree at LA Tech University in Zoology. From there he worked five years in private industry as a pharmaceutical sales representative for a national company. In 1990 he returned to pursue a graduate degree in College Counseling and Personnel Management from the University of Southern Mississippi and completed his Doctorate in Higher Education Administration from USM 2 years later. Dr. Hirsch has worked in several areas of higher education including residential life, drug education and prevention, and Greek Life. Most of his experience has been in the field of career services where he assists college students to formulate their plans for after-graduation. He has been an Assistant Director at the University of Southern Mississippi, and Director of the Career Center at LSU in Shreveport for nearly 10 years. He is currently the Director of Career Services for Trinity University in San Antonio, TX.