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International Professional Development Opportunity: Fulbright IEA Program in Germany

International Professional Development Opportunity: Fulbright IEA Program in Germany

EACE Blog contribution by Claire Klieger, Sr. Associate Director, Career Services at University of Pennsylvania
Claire at the Berlin Wall

Claire at the Berlin Wall

Ever wondered how career or student services operate in other parts of the world? I was lucky enough to find out during my participation in the International Education Administrators Fulbright Program to Germany this past October. It’s a two-week, all expenses paid, trip packed full of educational seminars and cultural events. In addition, these interactions lead to what will surely be life-long friendships with fascinating people from different segments of higher education and distinct corners of the country.

The first week of our trip was spent in Berlin, but after that we split up into smaller groups to visit another part of Germany based upon our professional interests. Naturally, I was grouped with fellow Career Services Professionals and spent the next few days in a charming city called Mainz, located along the Rhine river, nestled in the heart of wine country.

While there, our group visited three different universities, each of which had a center dedicated to career services, something that we had not necessarily seen at other institutions in Germany. It turns out that career services is still relatively new in Europe and especially in Germany where unemployment rates for the college educated are low, particularly for students who study STEM-related fields. For students pursuing humanities in an otherwise very pre-professional educational system, it can be a different story, so institutions are responding by offering services similar to those that we provide here in the United States.

The incredible people who work to provide these services do so with very few resources. Often they are part-time staffers or if they are full-time, the career side of their job is only part of what they do.  Since higher education is free to German students, entirely covered by taxes, there are not the same kinds of student fees on which we often rely to support our office budgets. As a result, staffers are creative, collaborative, and as typical of many Germans, incredibly efficient. We were amazed by how much they were able to accomplish with so little and their attitude of truly treating college students like adults with minimal hand-holding was very refreshing.

This once-in-a-lifetime experience was transformative for me. Not only did I learn a lot about the rich German culture and education system, but I was immeasurably touched by the generosity, kindness, and warmth of the German people we encountered. In addition, I am so grateful to have been a part of this experience because of all that I learned from my fellow Fulbright participants. The diversity of educational, professional and institutional backgrounds greatly enriched our conversations to the benefit of all who participated. Moving forward, I know that I have this amazing network of higher education professionals with whom I can share ideas or ask questions.

I highly recommend this opportunity to all student services professionals. You will get to learn about the German education system, hiring trends, and meet some truly amazing individuals. The experience will also give you new ways to interact with other departments on your campus as well as a fresh perspective to bring to your own work.

To learn more about the Fulbright Scholars Program, visit: http://www.cies.org/iea/ . You’ll see that in addition to Germany, there are also programs in variety of other programs but the German one is the only one specifically designed to include Career Services professionals. The deadline to submit your application is February 1st, 2014.

Claire Klieger

Claire Klieger


Dr. Claire Klieger is a Senior Associate Director of Career Services at the University of Pennsylvania where she advises undergraduate students in arts and sciences. She is particularly interested in helping liberal arts students identify and market their transferable skills as well as making students at Penn aware of the diverse array of offerings and resources that Career Services has to offer. In this regard, Claire has presented at EACE and other conferences on using technology to more effectively connect with students and changing student perceptions of Career Centers.  Claire has a bachelor’s degree in English and Anthropology from the University of Virginia (go Hoos!) and earned her doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania. She spent her formative years living abroad in the Middle East and North Africa and still loves to travel when she can.


Originally posted on the EACE Blog in January 2014

 

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