I have been trying to figure out the future for myself and my family. In the summer I begin working for Housing and Residence Life at UNC Greensboro, and in the fall I begin studying in their SPAHE/SAAHE program for my master’s. But before I have even begun, I have started looking into other experiences -outside of classes/work etc- both during my degree time and for the future. My ultimate goal would be to move abroad, hopefully to the UK or Europe. I know that fulfilling this dream would be a challenge, moving abroad without large sums of money & particularly in-demand skills is difficult. At my post-graduate level of expertise and skills, many universities (in the UK) won’t be hiring out of country. Another challenge is that if I pursue ResLife -which I would like- many Uni’s in Europe don’t have Residence Life programming and so that would mean translating ResLife skills to other functional areas.
In order to try and prepare myself for applying to overseas universities I have been reaching out to professionals on the forum for the national organization for Res-Life ACUHO-I for advice. Much of the advice was sobering but very helpful. I know now about differences in language on resumes and job applications, how in particular the UK’s accommodation system is set-up and the differences of the private sector, as well as the fact that ResLife is new to the few universities that have such a program. The last point is one that potentially gives me a leg up on competition from within the UK. As universities begin to adopt and ramp up these offices, my having professional experience in ResLife will be a major potential benefit. I have begun looking into which universities have ResLife in the UK, many only starting them as recently in 2016. I have also looked into the organizations ASRA and CUBO both of which operate national conferences, CUBO also operate the CUBO conference and Study Tour where attendees are given a glimpse of various types of accommodation provided in the UK to uni students. The only downside being that the 2017 conference in this summer before I even start my classes. ASRA is for accommodation officers specifically and has a spring conference that I am hoping to attend, it hasn’t been announced yet but I’m trying when it does.
Another suggestion that was made by a couple respondents to my post was that I consider applying to further education. I’m not opposed to going beyond my master’s -it is expected to some extent to work at colleges and universities- but I just don’t know if i’m the kind of person to do the research necessary for a doctorate which would seem like the best academic chance for getting abroad. I understand the suggestion, it took my fam and me to the UK when my wife pursued her Ph.D.
The other side of this is furthering my range of experiences while I am in school. My master’s degree will only take another two years, the same amount of time I had at UNC Chapel Hill and Craven Community College. This time I will be working a 20hr/wk live-in position while doing my classes. Either way I -like my cohort- want to bolster my academic/professional experience with other opportunities. One challenge that I will have is my live-in position will likely require me to work over the summer, which is the time many will participate in internships and other opportunities. I have looked at possible enrichment opportunities through the professional Student Affairs organizations NASPA, ACPA, and ACUHO-I and their more local arms. I also learned of NCARH a local arm of another housing org. I am interested in a lot of the few opportunities I have found so far but not being able to take up a fuller summer internship will hamper me.
I am not sure what the future will hold at this point but I am excited to get it started.