Study Abroad Advisors – You Think You Know But You Have No Idea

I receive emails every day from aspiring study abroad professionals asking me for advice on how to get into the international education field. These are people who have typically studied abroad before, loved it, went off and did some kind of work in (insert almost any country name here), and now want to “keep the experience alive” by working in study abroad. More often than not, I first have to do a lot of coaching and explaining on what it actually means to work in education abroad, because phrases like these pop up a lot when someone is explaining why they want a gig as a study abroad pro:

  • “I’ve always thought it would be cool to travel for my job.”
  • “I’m really skilled at booking travel online and know all the secrets.”
  • “The chance to travel with students and show them how amazing the world is…well that would be awesome!”
  • “It seems like a pretty laid-back job which would allow me to travel a lot.”
  • “I’ll get paid to travel! Amazing!”
  • “I country hopped during my entire semester abroad and could really provide MUCH BETTER advice on cheap travel to students than my advisor told me.”
  • “I just love travel.”
  • “I just love studying abroad.”

You can sense a theme, right? Don’t get me wrong. Not every person that writes to me says things like this and frankly, I don’t fault the ones that do. Understanding study abroad as a professional is more complicated than most would believe and takes time and education to get to know it. Heck! I’m still working on it every day – currently reading a history of education abroad (because I’m basically a study abroad nerd).

Anyway, I digress. In response to the emails I get every day, I’m working on a post that’s all about what it’s really like working as a study abroad advisor (coming soon!), but for now, I thought I’d take a turn at one of those profession memes that have been circulating the web: Study Abroad Advisors. It’s definitely a tongue-in-cheek look at what it means to be a study abroad advisor, but I’m guessing it will hit home for a lot of people. We’ll see…There are a bunch of these, but here’s one of my favorites for the IT peeps out there.

What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Funny? Shocking? Let me know!

Oh yeah! And happy Valentine’s Day! 

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  • Missy Gluckmann

    I love it! Great post! Those who work in the field know how stressful it can be. We love what we do, but I can definitely relate to that last image! Confirms why I created this:
    Thanks again for sharing this.
    Missy Gluckmann
    Founder of Melibee Global/MelibeeU

    • Brooke Roberts

      Thanks Missy! Clearly these are all extremes. What the image doesn’t convey is how most of us still walk away from our jobs smiling. :) Good luck with the workshops! They sound amazing!

  • Mattie

    A) Brooke, this is just scary how perfect it is. Well done!
    B) As a past participant, I can definitely confirm that Missy’s workshop is a fantastic remedy for people experiencing something like the last photo…!
    C) You are both an inspiration. I browse your sites all the time!

    • Brooke Roberts

      Thanks Mattie! Funny thing about the last phone: I almost used a classy image of a woman in a business suit juggling a globe, phone, computer, etc. It would also been true to most of our experiences…but not nearly as funny. ;) Thanks for stopping by! Let me know if there are any topics you would especially like to learn more about. Onward…

  • Tiffany H.

    Before GoAbroad, I was definitely one of those study abroad-returnees saying MANY of those lines you mentioned haha. I have you to thank for your guidance in that respect! And at the end of day, every moment ACTUALLY working in the industry has been worth it :)

    • Brooke Roberts

      Oh Miss Tiffany! You know I think you’re on your way to being a GoAbroad rock star! :)

  • Kurt

    Whenever I get these requests I always start with “I’m going to spend the first 10 minutes trying to talk you out of this. If you’re still interested after that, we’ll move on.” I can’t believe anyone would say this is a “laid back” job! Well, maybe compared to President of the United States.

  • Kelly H.

    Great post! I think “laid back job” is the one that made us all laugh out loud, am I right?

    I attended a workshop in Madrid last year for study abroad professionals. In a room of 30 people, only 2 of us had pursued international education as a degree! While it is a fact I love about our field, working with people from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds, new grads looking for sage advice often hear, “I just fell into it.”

    So although there is no tried and true equation .. at least now we have a meme to show for it :)