Monthly Archives: April 2016

My Experience

Interning with the Center for Global Studies throughout this semester has been an indispensable experience. I have had the opportunity to partake in so many projects such as writing monthly collaborative newsletters about events on campus, creating flyers and PowerPoints, attending and photographing CGS’s Brown Bag Series, which included global studies related lectures given by professors and graduate students on topics such as sustainability, gender justice, Confucianism, expats in hardship locations, and many more. Additionally, I helped photograph and manage the Spring 2015 Undergraduate Thesis Symposium. During that time, I had the opportunity to listen to and learn about Penn State University and University of Pittsburgh students’ brilliant and innovative research topics with feedback from doctoral degree students.

One of my favorite things that I’ve done this semester was organizing and attending our World Stories Alive series at Schlow library. Lastly, my very favorite project that I have done this semester was run a Chinese mythology and folklore club at a local elementary school in State College called Young Scholars Charter School.

This internship has also helped me learn time management skills. During this semester I have had to write my honors thesis, keep up with demanding school work, and tutor English to Chinese students (my part-time job) all while completing CGS tasks. Somehow I’ve managed to do it all, thanks to the help of Sarah and Mary, and am finally ready to graduate and apply my newly developed global studies skills in the real world.13106039_10207661662231914_393717327_o

Departing Thoughts

This internship has been an interesting experience for me. I have a passion for travel and international issues, so the internship seemed like a good fit. The Center for Global Studies was my first choice for the internships I applied to, so I was thrilled to have been offered the position. Because it was my first internship experience, I came in with little/no expectations.

I was immediacy immersed with tasks and had to ask for a lot of guidance initially, but as time went on I began to understand the position more and more. Recently, I decided to take matters into my own hands with our newsletter. In the beginning, the Newsletter task seemed very difficult to me because there were virtually no guidelines. After speaking with Sarah and Mary we agreed creating a Newsletter Guideline would be helpful for future interns. Using the Chicago Manuel of Style, I was able to create a detailed checklist of every aspect of the newsletter to make sure the newsletters would be consistent in the future. I hope this checklist makes the process of figuring out how to complete the newsletter in the future.

What I have discovered from this internship is I love working in collaborative environments. I also learned to work in collaborative environments you need to be open to others ideas, which I continued to exercise throughout the semester by constantly asking for feedback from other interns. I also learned love challenging myself in creative ways (i.e. the flyer, event planning). I would hope my future opportunities allow me to think outside the box. Overall, it was a great experience, I was able to meet my goal of getting hands-on Public Relations experience in the field and I can’t wait to see what other opportunities I encounter.

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I loved immersing myself in the event planning: me interacting with a participant during our World Stories Alive series

My Final Post

As my internship slowly comes to an end, I can honestly say I’m sad to have to go. I have gained so many enriching experiences through lectures, movies, presentations, and good ol’ fashioned hard work. I will miss eating my salami and cheese sandwich during the Brown Bag Series every Wednesday, and (believe it or not) I will miss waking up early on Saturday mornings to attend World Stories Alive. Throughout the course of one short year I have become a well-rounded “young professional” complete with a whole new set of valuable skills (feel free to read about said skills in my CGS Story or previous blogs). Most of all, I will miss the staff.

Our advisor, Sarah Lyall-Combs, is the person who taught me the majority of these skills. She has sat patiently with every intern as we went through multiple drafts of newsletters, and tried desperately (and failed) many times to coordinate all of our schedules, but she also taught us how to do all of these things on our own. For the first time in my college career, I don’t feel afraid of the “real world” that all seniors talk about and dread because I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to learn the necessary skills to succeed.

I want to thank the Center for Global Studies for giving me the confidence I need to start the next journey of my career. I especially would like to thank Mary Price, who has given genuine support to all of us as we cope with the daily struggle of being a college student. To Lauren, Kayla, and Loredana, I wish you all the best of luck as you continue to work towards your dream careers. I’m looking forward to seeing how my fellow strong, independent female interns move on to make a difference. Whatever my own future has to hold for me, I can only hope that it treats me as well as the Center for Global Studies has treated me this past year.

My favorite picture from my year with CGS

My favorite picture from my year with CGS

Penn State German Day: Seeing a New Point of View

This month’s most memorable learning experience to me was volunteering at Penn State German Day. When I was in high school, I remember attending German Day with my German class and favorite professor. It was always fun to get a day off of school to compete for prizes while participating in my favorite activity: learning German. As a high school student, I remember the activities always being fun and engaging, especially because of the prizes that could be won at the end. I also remember interacting with a lot of fun volunteers, who were all college students taking German, that seemed so old to me at the time.

It was interesting being on the other end and actually being the person I thought was once so old. Interacting with students who were just as excited about German as me was both fun and a learning experience. I found that when I was involved in something I was truly passionate about, I found myself more engaged in that activity. The best part of the experience was running into my high school German teacher, who was thrilled to learn I was pursuing German as a minor. Penn State has given me so many incredible opportunities to better myself in German, from the outstanding teachers to the numerous study abroad experiences they offer. I was proud to be apart of educating high school students about these opportunities as well. I hope I inspired them to pursue German in the future.

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Me volunteering at Penn State German Day

What can U.S. Companies Do to Get the Most Out of their Expatriates in Hardship Locations (My Very Own Brownbag!)

This past month I had the opportunity to share with the CGS’s staff and some of my peers about my graduate research paper.

Having moved from my hometown at a young age, and having to adapt fast to a different culture and a new environment, combined with my passion for human resources management, made me very interested in the expatriate management topic. For this reason, when I had to decide on what I was going to write my research paper for my M.S. in Human Resources and Employment Relationships, I decided to do it on expatriates.

To give it an even more specific focus I decided to do research on what can American enterprises do to better manage their expatriates in hardship locations. In today’s globalized economy many American companies are looking to penetrate new markets, and even though this is a great business opportunity, most of the times these new markets are located in countries that are considered hazardous.

A country can be categorized as a hardship location when it provides poor quality of life, it has a very different culture from the home country of the expatriate, or it is very far away from the home country of the expatriate.

I started my presentation defining what an expatriate is and why is my research relevant to U.S. companies. Even though expatriates are the best approach to manage subsidiaries in different countries, it is also very expensive (expatriate compensation packages can cost up to $1million per year to a company!!!)

Therefore, if a company wants to get a large return on investment, they need to make sure they manage this process with caution.

On my research I found that the biggest challenges hardship locations have are: cultural adjustment, struggle for the expatriate’s spouse and family to adjust, and poor quality of life due to crime, violence, or diseases. Finally, another challenge companies have with expatriate assignments is that up to 20% of American companies suffer from expatriate failure because of such challenges, and many times they lose the expatriate to a competitor after the assignment because of dissatisfaction during/after the assignment.

To cope with such struggles, during my presentation I suggested several recommendations:

  1. Offer pre-departure and post-departure cultural training for the employee to build up expectations of the new country and for the employee to re-adjust once the assignment is over. This training should be administered to the expatriate and his/her family.
  2. Offer career-planning services for the accompanying spouse. With the increase of dual-income households, spousal career and the ability for a partner to be able to work during the assignment has become increasingly more relevant.
  3. Repatriation: this process should start months before the expatriate is back to the home country. Once the expatriate is back, he/she should have a significant role within the company where newly acquired skills can be used.

This was a great opportunity not only to share my findings, but also to practice my presentation skills. I was glad that all the people who attended my brownbag were interested on the topic and that we could have a short discussion at the end.