How Studying Abroad Impacted my Career

Dec 2, 2020 9:58:00 AM / by Ellie LaFountain

CAPA alum Ellie LaFountain studied and interned abroad in Dublin, Ireland in fall 2019. Today, she’s back to give us an update on what she’s been up to since graduating from Ursinus College, and she shares how her experience in Dublin helped her get to where she is now.

Hello again! It’s been just about a year since I wrote my last blog post about my CAPA study abroad experience, and my oh my, how much has changed in my life and in the world as a whole since then. With all the craziness that has occurred since March, it is nice to be able to look back at my time in Dublin, Ireland and reflect on how it shaped where I am today! So, that's what I will be sharing with you today.

I’ll start my update to you all with a brief summary of where I am today and what I am doing, and then I’ll dive into the long journey it took to actually get here!

I currently live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and am working as an Executive Recruiter at a company called Pacific International. I live in an apartment just a half a mile from my office with an amazing first year Drexel Law student and am loving the city life (even with all the COVID-19 restrictions!). There has been so much uncertainty since returning from Ireland last December, so I am so thankful to be in a safe and secure situation.

Ellie LaFountain Alumni Blog - Photo 1 - This photo was taken outside of the office on one of the first weeks of my new role at Pacific in Center City, Philadelphia!This photo was taken outside of the office on one of the first weeks of my new role at Pacific in Center City, Philadelphia!

It has been a crazy few months for many, but the class of 2020 definitely had some unique struggles. For starters, my senior year gymnastics season was cancelled, and I entered into an early retirement from the sport that has been a huge part of my life for my past 14 years, which was extremely shocking and tough. Next, my senior year went completely remote, and I headed home to Maine to be with my parents in a new house, where I officially had a virtual graduation from Ursinus College. Now, I had never planned to go home after I graduated from Ursinus—my “plan” was to have a job lined up in the city and to make a swift movement from college life to adult life. Obviously, that did not go as planned, but lucky for me, my study abroad experience really did prepare me for plans to fall apart. From miscommunications to missed flights, I learned key skills on how to better adapt and frankly thrive in tricky situations.

Since I was home in Maine during the lockdown, I had ample amounts of time on my hands. I no longer had gymnastics practice, classes, or social plans to worry about, so I made it my sole purpose to work on setting up my future. I spent many months applying and interviewing for positions—lucky for me I had great mock interview experience during the Global Internship Course with Professor Darren Kelly—and was blessed enough to be offered a position with Pacific International.

Ellie LaFountain Alumni Blog - Photo 2 - I miss Ireland and its beautiful scenery, but Philadelphia is a pretty special place as well.I miss Ireland and its beautiful scenery, but Philadelphia is a pretty special place as well.

Even before the interview process began, I was extremely excited by both the role and the company, as it is an international company that started in London. This really stood out to me because I really enjoyed the internship I completed abroad at the Screen Directors Guild of Ireland and I loved working alongside people from different backgrounds and cultures. I shared a lot about my abroad experience throughout my interviews and often still relate instances back to lessons I learned in my International Human Resource Management class at Griffith College, my internship, and my overall time spent exploring the global city.

Ellie LaFountain Alumni Blog - Photo 3 - I love my new home!I love my new home!

All in all, things are going well for me here in the US, but one thing I know is that I cannot wait to get back to Europe and traveling. Luckily, the US team of my company is planning to take a trip to the UK office once it’s safe to do so, and I’m thrilled! I feel quite confident and proud to say that studying abroad made a major impact not only on my senior year, but on my career choice as well. I would not trade my study abroad experience for anything!

Thanks, Ellie!

Ellie LaFountain


Ellie LaFountain is a Media & Communications graduate from Ursinus College who spent her fall 2019 semester abroad in Dublin, Ireland. She was also an official CAPA blogger and shared her story in frequent posts on CAPA World.

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Learn more: CAPA's 2021 study abroad and global internship programs

Topics: Dublin, Ireland, CAPA Alumni