From Studying Abroad in London to Helping Others Get There

Jan 30, 2018 3:30:00 PM / by Irene Kanthan

A CAPA Staff Interview: Rachel Long

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Meet CAPA London alumna and admissions advisor Rachel Long. Below, she tells us how reflecting on her study abroad experience led her back to CAPA, why there are many opportunities to study and intern abroad, and how she can help you (and your parents) with your study abroad dilemmas.

CAPA WORLD: Tell us a bit about yourself and some of your hobbies and interests and where you’re from originally. What’s the coolest thing about living in Boston? 
RACHEL LONG: My name is Rachel, and I'm originally from Hopewell Junction, New York. I studied and interned abroad in London with CAPA in 2016. I was also the CAPA Ambassador for SUNY Oswego (where I graduated in May 2017) and now I'm an Admissions Advisor! The coolest thing about Boston is, even though it's a smaller city, there is still plenty to do and explore. I also have family here so it's always great to see them. Some of my hobbies are: playing and watching sports, reading, and traveling!

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CW: How and when did you make the decision to study abroad? What was the reaction from your friends and family?
RL: I have wanted to study abroad since I don't even remember. My grandparents are big travelers and I was always interested in learning about where they went and what they did. In high school I was fortunate enough to travel to Italy and Greece and after that I couldn't wait to go back. So, my parents always knew they'd be sending me abroad during my college career, it was just a matter of when and where. The study abroad opportunities at SUNY Oswego were a big reason I ended up there.

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CW: Did your experience going on a CAPA program lead you to want to work for the company? Take us through the process from student to employee.
RL: Absolutely. I was looking back at the interview I did for the blog as a CAPA Ambassador to see what's changed in the almost two years since I had been abroad. At the time I said I was looking to work in the corporate social responsibility area of public relations. But as I continued to reflect over my study abroad experience, I realized I wanted to work in the international education/study abroad field. It just so happened CAPA had an opening when I start applying for jobs and now, here I am!

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CW: What are three of the most common questions students ask and how do you answer them?
RL: 1) How do I get an internship?
It's easier than you think! During the application process, students provide a résumé, cover letter, professional reference, and three fields of interest. Our internship teams thoroughly reviews all those documents and our internships sites to find the best fit for our students!

2) What's included in the program cost?
Lots! Included in the program cost is everything from tuition and housing to transportation passes and excursions! CAPA's My Global City events, immersive social experiences that allow students to really explore and understand the city and culture are also included. Airfare and meals are not included, but it's always fun to cook for yourself and explore the grocery stores of your global city!

3) What was your favorite part about the program?
In one way or another, my experience as a CAPA student comes up in conversation, whether it's a student looking at the London program, or a parent unsure of sending their child abroad. I think hearing from a study abroad alumna excites students and calms parents. I always speak to the exceptional internship teams who do a great job of not only placing you in an internship site, but continue to work with you to ensure you are taking advantage of everything you can while you're there. Also, the My Global City events! I don't think I would have explored and loved London as much as I did without those events led by CAPA.

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CW: What's the most interesting thing on your desk right now? What do you wish was on your desk right now?
RL: My cousin gifted me a "1,000 Places to See Before You Die" calendar for Christmas. Every day features a different site, city, or event around the world! So now my colleagues, Mary and Taylor, listen to me read aloud the "place of the day" every morning. I'm writing this post on January 12, 2018 and today's place is Bukhara, Uzbekistan. I do wish I had some pretzels or something on my desk, as I am currently craving a snack.

CW: Favorite travel quote?
RL: "Travel is never a matter of money, but of courage." - Paolo Coelho

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CW: Where are the top 3 places on your current wanderlist and why?
RL: Ah, my 3 P's.

1) Poland: I am of Polish descent and every year my family gets together and makes homemade pierogis from scratch (and we do not share). So I'd love to go to Poland and see try the most authentic pierogis there are!

2) Prague: Everyone I know who has gone has loved it! And most recently, due to ancestry.com, my family has discovered we are Czech, so I'd love to visit another country that's a part of my heritage!

3) Peru: I've never been to South America, and I really want to see Machu Picchu.

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CW: Why is studying abroad important?
RL: Studying abroad is important on so many levels. It allows for total immersion into a culture which lets students really understand and appreciate how other people live around the world. Being abroad allows for tremendous amounts of personal development and a greater sense of independence. It is truly a life-changing experience.

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CW: Is there anything you wish you would have done while you were studying abroad that you didn't manage to fit in?
RL: I wish I could have explored more of England. London has so much to offer, so other than my spring break trip, my friends and I were exploring the city. I would have loved to travel around the country to cities like Oxford, Liverpool, and Cambridge.

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CW: Share one myth about study abroad that you can debunk for other students.
RL: My favorite myth to debunk is that STEM majors can't study abroad. CAPA has internship opportunities in many of these fields in many different cities. We also offer summer programs and seminars for those students who can't deviate from their university schedules but still want to go abroad.

CW: What's the one subject you are always excited to talk about with students who are thinking about study abroad?
RL: I am always excited to talk about academics! CAPA offers some really interesting courses in so many different fields. I love chatting about what courses students can take and finding the program that fits their academic needs best!

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Thanks, Rachel!

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Topics: Interviews, CAPA Staff, London, England