'Go Global': Exploring the International Career Mindset

January 30, 2014

by Laura Pochodylo ‘14

"It is imperative for every student to have international experience," international careers consultant Stacie Berdan told a group of Knox College students with a variety of majors, multicultural backgrounds, and foreign language proficiencies.

Berdan, who visited and spoke at Knox on January 14-15, defined international experience as including studying abroad, interning abroad, learning a foreign language, interacting with international students, and being active in clubs on campus that focus on international cultures. These experiences, she explained, are becoming increasingly attractive to employers in a growing global market.

"There is a need out there for students like you," said Berdan, a writer, speaker, and consultant who focuses on global careers, cross-cultural awareness, and international experiences. She worked in communications at major corporations like Unilever, during which she lived in Hong Kong for three years, and she has worked in more than 50 countries across the world.

Immersing yourself in a culture during study abroad can be very beneficial for a future career because of the adaptability, problem solving, and cross-cultural awareness inherent in the experience, she explained.

"You have to be comfortable in this global market," she said.Stacie Berdan at Knox

For Arianna Elnes, a senior majoring in integrated international studies, Berdan's lecture was helpful as she looks toward her job search.

Elnes has studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and in Costa Rica through Knox, in addition to other personal international travel experiences. (Photo at right: Stacie Berdan consults with a student at a resume workshop held during her visit to Knox.)

"I hope to work in another country someday," Elnes said, "But it was also interesting to hear her say an international career can happen in the United States, too, and that my international experience is valuable even in working with global teams from this country."

Berdan shared that her international experience "catapulted [her] career," moving her up faster than contemporaries who did not go abroad. This inspired her to begin sharing her advice with students looking to launch international careers.

The Bastian Family Center for Career and Pre-Professional Development and the Stellyes Center for Global Studies collaborated to bring Berdan to campus.

Ultimately, Berdan said, the most important thing is believing you are able to work in an international market.

"Going global is easy to do if you put your mind to it," Berdan said. "It's essentially a mindset."