Friday Favorites – Volunteering & Study Abroad

If I told you that volunteering, joining certain non-profit organizations or studying or working abroad could help you stand out to employers, would you be surprised? Probably not.

Having experience volunteering, studying abroad or working with special organizations can give you an advantage against other candidates. Plus, it will help you learn new skills, it will expose you to a whole new field, with a whole new group of people, and you may possibly be put in a leadership position, which is always attractive to employers.

VISIONS Service Adventures, British Virgin Islands, community service summer programs for high school students

Here are five ways you can get involved on your campus, in your community and even internationally, and a few resources related to them.

Community Service/Organizations on Campus

If you’re looking to volunteer on or near campus, there are multiple places you can volunteer at, such as the Center for Students with Disabilities and at elementary schools in Whitewater. Tutoring other students or reading to children at the Children’s Center on campus are easy and fun ways to volunteer at UW-W.

Getting involved in Greek life is also a great way to volunteer on campus, as they contributed to 83% of the community service completed in the 2011 school year and continue to do many community service and philanthropy projects throughout the year.

Local Organizations

As for local organizations, meaning within Wisconsin, there are tons of organizations and programs you can volunteer with, from working with animals at the Humane Society, to working with underprivledged children for City Year.

National Organizations

Some students still want to volunteer, but don’t want to deal with the hassle of traveling overseas and dealing with a different culture. There are a few national organizations, which work specifically within the United States.

International Organizations

For some students, they might have caught the travel bug, they might want to take a year off after graduation, or just feel that volunteering internationally is their calling. There are various international organizations that students can work with, and programs can last for one week to three years.

Study Abroad

Studying abroad is one way to set you apart from the rest of the crowd. Even some corporate recruiters highly value students who have studied abroad. If UW-Whitewater’s Center for Global Education doesn’t have the right program, university or location you want to study at, there are multiple international organizations you can work with as well, and here is a list of a few of them.

Hopefully these resources will help you look for opportunities to volunteer with, because volunteering is a really irreplacable experience you can have, either while, during, or after college.

Have I missed any important businesses or organizations? Where have you volunteered at? I would love to hear your stories and input!

Photo by Visions Service Adventures.

Where Will Your Career Take You? Tips for Preparation & Common Careers Abroad

Earlier this year we shared information about where the job search may take you. Traveling outside of Wisconsin after graduation is a huge step and it is even more significant when you desire to pursue an international career.

Side of the VE Monument

Traveling abroad has become increasingly popular. Every year, the U.S. has nearly 300,000 students study abroad in addition to the cultivation of unique programs such as Semester at Sea. Traveling abroad provides several benefits such as learning a foreign language and developing a global perspective. Now on to the big question: what happens when you want to work abroad?

Here are some tips on preparing for a career abroad and some common international careers.

 Documentation needs (Passport, Visa, and Work permit)

  • While passports may be applied for through the U.S. Department of State, obtaining work visas and work permits are a bit more challenging. Many countries will require that you have a job offer prior to obtaining a work visa or work permit. Additionally, some countries will require a special type of visa related to work (i.e. business visa, work visa) and a work permit. Going Global, a career resource located on Hawk Jobs, provides excellent information on work visas and work permits.

Getting a Job

  • Preparation: According to the Institute for International Education of Students, you are more likely to secure a job abroad after completing an international internship. In addition to international internships, working domestically, gaining proficiency in a second language, and building a global network are other ways to prepare for an international career.
  • Before or After: Make the decision as to whether you want to have a job prior to traveling abroad or after you have settled abroad. There will be challenges either way, but there are useful strategies for each situation.
  • Study your Country: Different countries have their own unique benefits and challenges. Make sure to gather information about the economy and top companies of the countries you are considering.
  • Build a Global Network: Take some time to get to know individuals from different countries in your field of interest. Try to find out more information about how they have prepared for and obtained their job. This is always easier when you have had some previous travel abroad experience. In any case, using LinkedIn can be a useful tool as well.

Common Careers Abroad

  • Government and International Relations: This includes Foreign Affairs, Government Intelligence, and work with the United Nations.
  • Domestic to International: I once worked with a student seeking marketing opportunities in Israel. After some searching, we found some companies and job postings. Many positions available in America will also be available abroad.
  • Teaching English: We shared some information on teaching abroad earlier in the year.
  • Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO): If you have a passion for issues that span internationally, such as poverty, women’s rights, or community development, then you may want to consider NGO’s with international opportunities.
  • Miscellaneous: Other common careers abroad range from agriculture (WWOOFing) to working as an Au Pair.

You never know where your career will take you! Stop by Career & Leadership Development to find more information about working abroad.

Photo by Ben Demey.

Nonprofit Organizations

Years ago I was working with a student looking for a job. As we were discussing areas where he could look, I mentioned non-profit organizations (NPOs). He told me he couldn’t consider them – his parents didn’t want him to work for a non-profit. It occurred to me at that point people don’t understand what non-profit organizations are and are not.

Service intern Gwen Casebeer works with a stream insect beside Natioonal Park Service staff and volunteers

First, a definition: A nonprofit organization (abbreviated as NPO, also known as a not-for-profit organization) is an organization that does not distribute its surplus funds to owners or shareholders, but instead uses them to help pursue its goals. Nonprofit organizations may generate revenue, but this revenue cannot be distributed to owners or employees as they might be in a for-profit business. Nonprofits include, but are not limited to, hospitals, churches, educational institutions, social welfare organizations, and charitable organizations.

Salary information: You may be surprised at some of the salaries in non-profit organizations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2007:

    • The average hourly earnings of full-time workers in nonprofits were $21.68.
    • Managers in nonprofits averaged $34.24 per hour.
    • Business and financial operations occupations at nonprofit establishments earned an average of $26.49 per hour.
    • Computer and mathematical science occupations average wages of those employed by nonprofits was $32.00 per hour.
    • The average hourly earnings of legal occupations at nonprofits were $33.53.
    • Office and administrative support occupations include secretaries and administrative assistants as well as tellers, dispatchers, and various types of clerks. The average hourly wages of nonprofit office and administrative support workers were similar for those in state government, $15.92.

Sample Job Titles in Non-Profits:

    • Marketing Director
    • Assistant Marketing Director
    • Director of Development/Fund Raising
    • Event Coordinator
    • Publication Specialist

For Further Information:

Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife.