Teaching Transition Strategies

By Kristen Aquilino, International Career Fellow

A really neat component of this fellowship is the opportunity to teach! The Student Professional Development Center organizes a series of courses called Transition Strategies. The idea of these courses is to focus on topics that will help students be prepared for and navigate changes as they leave college and begin their next steps following graduation. Discussion themes range from financial literacy and preparing for certain career paths, to exploring personal strengths and how to create a positive social media presence. Amber, Danielle and I are all involved in teaching Transition Strategies courses and have the unique opportunity to build skills in lesson planning, preparing a syllabus, and co-teaching a course from start to finish. As an international career fellow, I work with a colleague, Bill Burress, in the Global Education Center to teach “Preparing to Go Global after Graduation.”

In meeting with senior students, many of the conversations that we have revolve around the idea of going abroad after graduation. For some that means finding a temporary post over the summer to allow for travel and an uncharted adventure, other times there may be a regional interest or cultural focus, sometimes students are working to jump start their careers in education, global health, or other fields – or all of the above!  There are many different ways to accomplish these goals including internships, full- and part-time work, volunteering, etc., and it can be challenging figure out what the right opportunity may be. Having been in their shoes, our aim for this course has been to help students understand the realities of going abroad following graduation, and to take a look at some of the different paths to get there, how to best prepare, and tools that will help them along the way.

As a quick side note, a number of times so far at Elon I have stopped and thought, “it would have been great to have a class like this in college”, or “I wish I had known about this resource”… and this is yet another example!

Throughout the semester we have worked to implement collaborative and dynamic exercises such as: sharing about and reflecting upon the students’ experiences abroad, creating position profiles based on a job that each student is interested in following graduation, and mock interviews with a guest interviewer in attendance that has experience in the student’s field of interest.  We have had great discussions throughout the course and it has been very rewarding to see students sort through the realities of next steps and take ownership of the professional development opportunities as they prepare for globally-oriented futures.

Both Bill and I had (have!) the travel bug ourselves and it has been a wonderful opportunity to share our experiences in hopes that others can learn from them. However, a not-so-secret, secret about teaching is that a great deal of the time it is the students who challenge and inspire the teacher… and that absolutely applies to this class.

While this semester is quickly coming to a close, we will continue to teach this Transition Strategies course throughout the winter and spring terms and it is always helpful to try news ideas. So, if you have any thoughts about topics, activities, and/or resources to include in the course, please do share them!


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