Ethnicity - Mixed Race - Mexican, Filipina, Slovenian
Occupation - Study Abroad Advisor
Place of Employment - University of San Francisco
Years in the field: 6
What global experiences have you taken part in when you were a student and/or a professional?
When I was in undergrad, I took a work-study job at my study abroad office without any other intention to further my professional career in International Education. As a business student with a double major, I was not sure if a semester-long program was something I could do. I quickly learned that I could not work in the office effectively without studying abroad. I therefore chose to study in Florence, Italy where I took Fashion Marketing courses along with Italian language.
When I came back, just like many other students and colleagues, I continued to travel and worked abroad in Istanbul, Turkey. Being a mixed race, 1st generation study abroad student, I did not understand (until I did it) how important it was to my personal growth. I have met amazing people and mentors throughout my career who have invested and believed in the impact In make on students and others working in International Education and Diversity & Inclusion. I have also coordinated and led some short-term programs to the Dominican Republic, South Korea, Thailand, England, New Zealand, Hungary, and Colombia.
How has Global Education impacted you and your career choices?
My career path and passion is entirely due to the fact that I studied abroad. I will be receiving my Master’s of Science in Organization Development (OD) in 2021 with hopes to unify my experiences in International Education and OD to improve cohort dynamics of students studying abroad. The plan is to create an inclusive framework where cohorts of students foster an understanding of one another through identity based facilitation on site in the study abroad country.
What do you enjoy most about the work that you do in Global Education?
I love the camaraderie of passionate professionals in the field! I have met amazing professionals locally through Bay Area Young Professionals in International Education (BAYPIE), at conferences, hosting study abroad fairs, through NAFSA and Diversity Abroad.
I also love hearing stories of my students who were afraid or unsure about leaving, and then talking about their time abroad upon return. I enjoy hearing about their research projects and giving them the encouragement that these skills they learned while abroad are important to the work they will do after graduation.
What challenges have you had to overcome as you work in Global Education?
I'd say age and the education level can be a challenge in this field. I have worked to increase my knowledge of the global education field and build my cultural competencies and have always believed in my capabilities, but, it can be difficult to convey that while networking and showcasing my personal skills.
How has your cultural identity impacted your experience working in Global Education?
The identity work in Global Education is truly amazing and spearheaded by many talented professionals. It has helped my own identity learnings which has in return helped me teach others the importance of their identity in an abroad context during pre-departure and upon return from country.
How has seeing other people of color/diverse backgrounds in Global Education inspired you?
Surrounding myself with peers and colleagues who encourage the work I am doing is what inspires me to keep going. I enjoy working in a small study abroad office with all BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) who are passionate about their work even through unexpected barriers. I have grown as an individual from studying, working abroad, and being in this field. Using my own personal experiences in this field has inspired me to support and work with individuals of similar backgrounds.
As a Kultural Kurator, what does culture mean to you?
Culture is all-encompassing in everyday life.
Self/Soul Care is important as we live our lives and do this work. How do you incorporate self/soul care into your life?
My Soul Care routine consists of taking long walks in my neighborhood and heading to the beach to breathe some fresh air!
What advice would you give a future Kultural Kurators as they think about working in this field?
Continue learning about cultures at home and abroad. Strike up conversations because you never know what you can learn from other people.
Be open to the many pathways of working in global education. Something that has helped me grow within the field is presenting and implementing new ideas to my office (ie. returnee programming, collaborating across campus and with other universities or providers). This may be easier said than done, but do not be afraid to fail. New ideas can present a new perspective, a chance to learn from mistakes, or change things up. Being able to talk about the success or failure helps to facilitate a conversation about how you are looking to grow within the field.
I also think that knowing what causes you are passionate about (social impact, diversity, political/social issues, language acquisition, etc.) and using those things to create meaningful conversation is helpful while networking.
How can others follow you on social media, website, and/or is there an email address that you'd like to share?