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.

After her stint with the Peace Corps, she returned to the States and worked at the Pearl Fincher Museum of Fine Arts in Spring, Texas for three years.

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.

Recently, she coordinated a program that allowed students from SHSU’s sister university, Momoyama Gakuin University in Osaka, Japan to study English here from mid-February to mid-March.

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.”

About Cheval John

Cheval John is the Founder and CEO of Vallano Media, LLC, a marketing agency which helps small to mid-sized businesses use social media correctly to build a loyal following and in the process become more profitable. Cheval is also the host of "What's The Word?" a podcast about finding out what inspires people to choose their respective careers and how social media impacted their lives and business. He is the author of two books including the Amazon Best-Seller, "8 Lessons Every Podcaster Needs To Learn." He has spoken at Social Media Week Lima in Ohio and at Social Media Day Houston 2017 about topics around live streaming and podcasting. Cheval has been featured in media outlets like Ebony Magazine and was named a Houston Top 25 Social Media Power Influencer in 2016 and 2017.

3 Responses to “Studying Abroad: A Stepping Stone to Change the World”

  1. Bobbi says :

    I’ve been reading through your blog and I like how you find people to interview. Do you do this for personal enjoyment or are you apart of your school newspaper? Someday I hope to travel abroad, hopefully to Spain. 🙂

    • Cheval John says :

      I was originally hired in January of this year to blog for the Houstonian, the independent newspaper of Sam Houston State University. That was how the blog started and I was given the freedom to write what I wanted. From there, I was able to contribute as a sports reporter and that is how it all happen. Adding on to this is the fact that I had develop relationships with most of the people that you see in this blog before I got the job. Thanks for checking it out.

    • Cheval John says :

      Adding on to this, I feel like I am in charge of my own website. Though the responsibility is huge, I enjoy it very much.

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