Working World: Careers in International Education, Exchange, and Development is intended to be a resource and a useful tool for job seekers in international affairs, particularly those interested in international education, exchange, and development. It is designed to ease the burden of the initial stages of career research and help you put your job search in broader perspective. The approaches and lessons shared throughout the book have evolved over the course of a rewarding career.
About twenty-five years ago, as a new director at the Institute of International Education (IIE), I was amazed by the many requests for “informational interviews” I received each week from job hunters. In the intervening years, the requests grew exponentially. Motivated originally by a desire to save time and yet provide sufficient help, in 1982 I initiated what became known as Roundtables on Careers in International Education and Exchange. After several years of conducting monthly roundtables at IIE with Alex Pático, in 1986 Archer Brown and Lorenda Schrader at NAFSA: Association of International Educators joined us by hosting the roundtables on alternate months.
Individuals seeking career guidance were invited to the IIE or NAFSA conference room on the third Thursday of each month. At the roundtable, each participant shared his or her educational and professional background and described the types of positions sought. Then the facilitators and fellow participants offered suggestions and contributed ideas for the job search. The roundtables proved much richer than one-on-one interviews because of the synergy that so many perspectives generated. A group of people inevitably has more knowledge of relevant job openings and successful job search tactics than one or two individuals do. Collectively, roundtable participants could recommend more resources to explore and offer contrasting analyses of trends in the field. In addition, the participants did not feel so alone as they interacted with others going through the solitary activity of a job search.