Studying Abroad: A Stepping Stone to Change the World
by Cheval John
Everyone has ambitions to change the world, whether it is recycling or making cars that would avoid using carbon emission fuels. But what about doing something that would not only have an impact on the world, but have an impact on a person and changes the direction of their career. That is exactly what happen to Jesse Starkey, Study Abroad Coordinator at the Office of International Programs at Sam Houston State University (SHSU).
During her time as an undergraduate student at Metropolitan State College of Denver, she always wanted to study abroad, but could not afford to do it. Instead of feeling sorry for herself, she was looking for alternatives to studying abroad and found out about the Peace Corps.
“I have always been fascinated about cultures outside of the United States,” Starkey said. “When I found out about the Peace Corps, I felt that it would allow me to immerse myself in the culture and learn the language.”
After receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in December of 2005, she applied for the Peace Corps and was accepted. Almost a year later, she was in Morocco volunteering as a small business development coordinator. In that role, she worked with a group of women that formed a weaving cooperative and taught them the basic skills to improve their business. During that time, they were able to start a two-year accredited technical school that would allow women in the local area to obtain the skills to succeed.
Then one day, her boyfriend decided to attend graduate school at Sam and so they moved to Huntsville. While she was looking for a new job, she found out about the study abroad coordinator position at SHSU.
According to Starkey, “I stumbled upon the position and I felt that it would allow me to apply the skills that I learned in the Peace Corps.”
After applying for the position, she got hired and started working in July of 2010. In her role, she assists students to find programs that will allow their credits to transfer to SHSU and international students to find housing, register for classes and to integrate in the campus community successfully.
For students who are hesitant about studying abroad, she offers this advice:
“Having international experience will be a huge benefit to those that are looking for jobs and studying abroad will allow a person to acquire that experience and to expand their worldview.”