API’s alumni programs offer returned students a chance to engage with campus in exciting ways. This blog series will highlight how alumni plan innovative events on campus and what they learn about themselves and their API experience along the way.
Meet Julia McGuire, API Galway alumna, who is serving for a semester on her campus at Hofstra University. Interested in being a global leader on your campus by sharing your story and advocating for international experiences? Check out API’s Global Leadership Academy and apply today!
Why did you choose to apply to an API alumni program?
Studying abroad in Galway, Ireland was the greatest decision of my college career. I am so thankful for the opportunity, but it took a lot of work to make sure that my dream of studying abroad came true. I decided to [apply] because I know a lot of people have the same dream that I do, but are wary to pursue it because of the many obstacles that might stand in their way. I know just a little support and encouragement can go [a long] way. I wanted to spread the word about study abroad on my campus so my peers feel they have the support they need to be able to face the obstacles that so often stand in the way of the dream to study abroad.
How did you decide to host the “Get Global / Study Around The World” night?
Having heard from my peers about their study abroad interests, I found a lot of people knew where they wanted to study abroad, but were unsure how to study abroad in that place. With this in mind, as well as knowing I wanted to host a large event that incorporated speeches from study abroad alumni, food, and games, I decided a Study Around the World night that spotlighted regions to study abroad would be best. This way students could choose the table that had information about study abroad opportunities in the region or country that they wanted to go to, whether it was API, Hofstra, or another program. I wanted to assist students to find the program that best fit their personal needs. I decided to co-host this event with Get Global, [a student organization on my campus], as many of Get Global’s members have studied abroad and would be able to speak about their experiences at the event.
What were your goals for the event?
I wanted the event to at least spark a discussion about study abroad. I hoped that people who attended, even if they did not decided to study abroad right then, would take the next steps in talking to professors and the study abroad office and continue researching the right program for them. All the while, they would know they could reach out to either Get Global or myself with questions and concerns as they took those next steps.
What was your favorite part of hosting the event?
I loved working alongside Get Global, because members of the club found they really enjoyed hosting the event. The club loved doing the event and showed interest in hosting again. This made me feel that even when I graduate, this club might be able to continue the study abroad dialogue I had created through this event. Everyone who spoke had had such a unique study abroad experience. It was wonderful to hear how different study abroad can be from person to person, proving that each individual needs to find the program that works for them.
How did you spread awareness of your event?
I spread fliers around campus about the event. I took to social media and advertised through FaceBook and Twitter. I advertised at another of Get Global’s events the week before. I also reached out to other departments on campus, such as the Hofstra Honors College, to spread the word via email to their group members.
What did you learn from hosting your event?
I learned that although the event may not be as highly attended as expected, it does not mean it was unsuccessful. A few students who came reached out to me to tell me they were studying abroad the next semester, and if I could get one person interested in the prospect or encouraged to face the obstacles to study abroad, then I felt the event was a success.
Thanks, Julia, for sharing your experience.