France J-Term Practicum
Immersing myself in the On-Site Perspectives course in France was a wonderful experience for my professional development. Entering MIIS I was still unsure of the direction I wanted to go with my career in international education, so I took classes with an open mind in a variety of fields, from International Students and Scholars Services, Education Abroad, Marketing and Recruiting, Design and Assessment, and so on. When I had the opportunity to join the On-Site Perspectives program in France, I was able to see all that I had learned in the past year applied in the field, and reflect on what areas of international education I felt I could make the best contribution as a professional.
What I came to realize I enjoyed the most was partnership development. In order for education abroad opportunities to thrive, there need to be mutually-beneficial partnerships established between institutions. Not only should the institutions and their administrators see value in the partnership, bu so should the students. They should feel safe leaving their home institution for one abroad, trust that their credits will transfer, and not worry that they will find themselves in over their heads with issues involving language, host families, or coursework. It’s up to the administrators to identify these issues and work collaboratively to mitigate them.
Additionally, to build successful and sustainable partnerships, you have to be good at relationship building. This was something I felt I really excelled at while our team was in France. Meeting with the learning partners, we were very intentional about working hard and making a good impression — providing something of value to them so that they would appreciate us as professionals and consider us as future partners. I believe we did an excellent job with this and have certainly strengthened the ties between ourselves, MIIS, and the many international education institutions we worked alongside with in France.