Saint Michael's brought me where I am in three primary ways.
First, and most important, I gained international experience through two semesters of overseas study and an international service trip to Spain, Mexico and El Salvador. That led me to pursue an interest in working in international economic development and, as an entry-level employee, gave my passion for the sector some credibility when I was applying and interviewing for jobs.
Second, it's a tremendous asset to have a recognized qualification (B.A.) and experience in a second language. In virtually any job related to foreign assistance—with an NGO, the government or the private sector—you will always benefit from having demonstrated knowledge of a foreign language.
Thirdly, an alumnus helped me land my first substantive job after graduation. He had also studied Spanish and was working for the recruiting department of a leading international development contractor based in Burlington, VT. Before applying for the position, he met me for lunch and told me about the position and industry so that I was better prepared for the interview. I worked for the company for more than two years in both Burlington and the Washington, DC area.
Much of what makes people successful isn’t ever taught in classes or discussed with academic advisors and career counselors. Networking and contacts, charisma, hard work, entrepreneurial spirit and luck come to mind. The ability to see new opportunities, and the confidence to seize them, is crucial, as well. But, it's very difficult to find success if you can’t communicate or write well.