What is Career Integration?
Career Integration builds upon the Learning Abroad Center’s proven methodologies of our long-standing Curriculum Integration initiative. The focus is primarily on integrating students’ experiences abroad into their career and life planning. Career Integration is designed to:
- Apply the methodology of Curriculum Integration to a specific focus on career planning
- Engage campus career and education abroad colleagues in a dialogue
- Partner to integrate learning abroad resources into career advising structures
- Communicate the cross-cultural and global needs of industries to students
- Integrate career-related outcomes into articulated individual program learning outcomes
- Create program selection and advising tools designed to help students choose opportunities to explore or build skills in career interests
- Identify student goals for careers earlier in advising and planning for going abroad
- Assist students in maximizing career reflection and opportunities on-site
Why did we create the initiative?
We created this initiative to help students do a better job articulating their learning abroad experiences and why it matters, including transferable skills developed and how those can be leveraged in the workplace. We also wanted to expand resources and support for returned students in communicating and articulating the value of their specific experience abroad.
Who is involved?
In partnership with our University of Minnesota Twin Cities Career Services colleagues, the Learning Abroad Center launched this initiative to articulate a plan for “Career Integration.” This project is designed with a specific focus on career planning and impact related to student activities abroad.
UofM as Leader
In July of 2014, we hosted the first conference in US higher education to focus on the interface between experiences abroad and careers. The conference was attended by professionals from education abroad offices and programs, campus-based career offices, academic advisers, and campus administrators.
As a follow up to this highly successful conference, the Learning Abroad Center in partnership with CAPA International Education produced a publication titled Career Integration: Reviewing the Impact of Experience Abroad on Employment.
The Learning Abroad Center and CAPA The Global Education Network hosted Minding the Gap: Career Integration Strategies for Educators and Employers on July 14–16, 2016, in Boston, MA.
The Learning Abroad Center and CET Academic Programs hosted Leveraging Partnerships on August 8–10, 2018, in Washington, DC.
The Career Integration work of the UofM has been presented on at numerous national conferences and the related resources have been shared and replicated widely. Our model and the initiative have also been discussed as a model in several industry publications nationally and internationally.
We are also one of the first US institutions to survey study abroad alumni on the impact of experiences abroad and have responses from over 700 alums sharing the ways their careers have been impacted by University of Minnesota experiences abroad.
Work with Industry/Business
In addition to helping students understand and articulate the value of their international experiences, we also have the goal of helping our employer partners better understand the value of our students’ international experiences. Examples of outreach include:
- Individual conversations with employers asking about the value of students’ experiences and sharing these quotes with students in various planning resources.
- Asking employer partners to serve on panels—such as at the Career Integration Conference
- Communicating with employers that they can interview students using technology such as SKYPE while students are abroad
- Hosting pre- (or early-) season recruitment events prior to students departing for their learning abroad experiences
Kim Hindbjorgen, Assistant Director, Curriculum and Career Integration