On Friday, the Office of Career Services will say farewell to one of its staff members who is about to embark on a two-year stint in Mongolia with the Peace Corps. This news started me thinking about how unusual the Fletcher staff is – a vastly disproportionate number of us (relative to the U.S. as a whole) have international experience. Of course, it’s expected that Fletcher students will have international experience, and the students would be correct to assume that their professors teach from personal experience, too. It’s more surprising how deep that global awareness extends into our administrative staff. I suppose that internationally-minded job seekers are drawn to a workplace like Fletcher. Fletcher offices, in turn, are drawn to internationally-minded applicants when filling staff positions.

My own experience was in China, where I taught English for two years. When I returned to the U.S., I worked in New York for a Hong Kong-based company, and continued to travel to China for work. More recently, I have spent a good amount of time in Europe during, or tacked onto, visits to my husband’s family in England. The first passport photos of both my children show blob-like infants being held upright for the photographer. Like many children from families with an immigrant parent, both had traveled internationally before the age of one.

That pattern doesn’t make me unique in our office. Laurie majored in Asian Studies and Japanese as a Tufts undergraduate student, and she studied in Japan. Her 16-year history of admissions work shows continuous outreach to international students. Meanwhile, Kristen’s interest in Latin America and Spain has been fostered by living in both Buenos Aires and Seville as an adult. The roots of her interest go back to her childhood when she lived in a town not too far from the Mexican border. Peter spent a year teaching English in Poland, and a few summers teaching in France and Japan, before he worked several years for the Council on International Educational Exchange. And Roxana grew up in countries around the world with a parent who was a Foreign Service Officer.

So what does that mean? In admissions, it means that we often have a first-hand understanding of the background of our applicants. For our students, it means that they can find like-minded individuals in positions throughout the School. Even without the international experience, the staff would be dedicated to their work in supporting the educational mission of Fletcher. With the experience, we can also contribute to the shape of the community.

 

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