The Carlson Global Institute (CGI) depends on key partnerships committed faculty, alumni willing to give back, and corporate friends—to support the international experience for students. And often, the experience has far reaching effects on them as well.

 

Increasing Confidence and Satisfaction

While Beth Blankenheim, ’10 BSB, was still a student, she had one marketing class with an international component—about three weeks in Paris and Bordeaux. “It was only my second trip to Europe at the time, and I never imagined that I would be living there one day,” she says.

However, the wheels were already set in motion. As a junior, she did a semester in Ecuador, where for two months she took classes in international development and then worked another two months at a bank evaluating its microloan program. “I think my semester abroad in Ecuador was really the starting point for me to start to shift my mindset about what was possible and what I wanted out of life,” she says.

A few years after graduation, she took a position in France. “I found a role at Arrow Electronics that combined my skills in financial analysis and system implementation working at its European headquarters in Paris,” she says.

Blankenheim says one of the things about living abroad is that you are constantly feeling between worlds— you don’t quite fit in your new country and you no longer fit in your home country. This is why she became a mentor.

“An opportunity to bridge those two worlds is always welcome,” she says. “When I heard that the Carlson Mentorship Program was looking for international mentors to work with students during their study abroad experiences, I was happy to be a part of it and connect to my other world.”

Through the mentorship program, she has mentored two students so far who were doing their international experience in France. She says she has three main messages she tries to instill in her mentees or indeed to anyone who is interested in pursuing an international career: know strategy, get a skill, and anything is possible if you want it badly enough.

 

You can read more about Carlson School international experiences in the latest Carlson School Alumni Magazine, where this feature was originally published.