From CAPA Student to CAPA Staff: Seeing ‘The Other Side’ of Study Abroad

Nov 4, 2016 8:30:00 AM / by Stephanie Sadler

CAPAStudyAbroad_Florence_Emily_Kearns_Column_Profile.jpgWords by Emily Kearns, a CAPA Florence study abroad alumna. Emily will be writing a column called "Remembering Florence" on CAPA World the first Friday of every month.

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I’ve said this in several of my past blog posts, but studying abroad was 100% the best decision I made in my college career. It led me to lifelong friends, endless memories, tons of pictures, and experiences I’ll never forget. As a result of this life-changing experience, I began to really think about different career paths that I could take upon graduation and started looking into careers within the international education industry. I am still in disbelief that, after a very stressful senior year and summer after graduation, I somehow ended up working for one of the companies that made such a huge impact on my life.

I can definitely say it’s been an interesting ride so far. Being on ‘the other side’ of this exciting industry is something that has been pretty eye-opening the past month.

CAPAStudyAbroad_From Emily Kearns - Behind the Scenes.jpeg

Here are a few thoughts and observations I've collected during my time here at CAPA so far:

  • Study abroad is a business. Though it may sound obvious, something that a lot of students don't realize is that even though study abroad is such a fun experience for almost every student who goes abroad, CAPA, and other providers are all running businesses. There are so many people working behind the scenes and not everyone realizes that their experience is made possible because of the work of so many people. It’s not all fun and games behind the scenes (though I’ll admit it is a pretty fun industry to work in).

  • A whole lot of effort, from different teams, goes into making study abroad possible for students. When I was a CAPA student, I admit I was a bit selfish and really only thought about my experience, what I was going to do in Florence, who I was going to live with, etc., without really thinking of how that was going to happen or who was going to make that happen. At CAPA, we all work so closely together to ensure we have similar goals and ideas in mind for how to work with the students and if one team were to not do their job, it would be difficult for the other teams to succeed. The admissions team, which I'm now a part of, recruits and nurtures students through the application process. The pre-departure team works with students once they're actually accepted onto a program. The institutional relations team creates and fosters relationships with universities all around the country to become a reputable source for students to work with. The marketing team crafts printed materials, social media posts, emails, and blog posts to give students more insight into studying abroad and convey to students why they should choose CAPA. And there are others too such as the executive team, the finance team, the HR team, and all of the overseas teams who collaborate. Without the work of one of these teams, CAPA wouldn't be nearly as successful, and it’s important for students to understand all the work that goes on within so many different departments.

  • Everybody really is looking out for the students’ best interests. Every individual at CAPA has a similar goal of making sure that students have a memorable and impactful time abroad. Each and every day, I love walking into the office and seeing how hard-working everybody is. Everybody at CAPA truly has the interests of the students in mind and we all work together to ensure that students who want to go abroad are able to and that the students who do go have positive experiences with CAPA.

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Those are just a few thoughts I’ve gathered throughout my first month here. I’m still learning something new every day, and I’m sure by the time next month rolls around I’ll have a whole different list of observations about this industry and company. It really is so refreshing to be surrounded by individuals with similar passions as mine and it is rewarding to work with and guide students through this exciting journey!

Thanks Emily!

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Topics: International Education, Study Abroad