What I Learned From International Career Day

Even though you and I may never hold an “international career,” each one of us is a member of a global society. Thanks to our technological advances, we are linked to people thousands of miles away through the media, commerce, the environment, education and international relations. Because of this, global awareness is important.

The Dallas World Affairs Council organizes International Career Day every year as an opportunity for high schoolers to explore their options and learn about international career paths. On Tuesday, Nov. 27, 14 girls from Ursuline’s Junior World Affairs Council and Global Advisory Council attended and listened to a variety of speakers at the event.

Opening presentations, breakout sessions with speakers, resource booths and a unique opportunity to listen to two U.S. ambassadors made up the busy day. The ten guest speakers covered a diverse range of international careers, including human rights advocacy, engineering, law and environmental conservation.

I listened to a foreign service officer, the editor of the Dallas Morning News, a doctor and professor of emergency medicine, a CEO of a consulting firm and the president of ConnecTeach, a non-profit focused on education. No two speakers were alike, but each one engaged, educated and inspired me.

No matter the speaker, a few points seemed to be repeated often. One was to explore internships. Internships are wonderful opportunities to learn outside of the classroom, as they involve putting things into practice rather than just the study of them. They are surefire ways to figure out what you do not what to do in life, at the very least.

The second point was to read books, articles and magazines, and read them as often as possible. Reading the news was a recurring appeal. It might be expected of the editor of a news organization to encourage high schoolers to read the news, but the educator, the foreign service office and the two U.S. Ambassadors all firmly recommended it.

Lastly, multiple speakers reinforced the necessity of challenging your own beliefs. Doing so is possible through reading and listening to those with opinions different from your own, something both the foreign service officer and the Dallas Morning News editor advised. Bhavani Parpia, the president of ConnecTeach, took it one step further: “To examine and challenge your own beliefs, you must spend time with people of different viewpoints,” Parpia said. Only through doing this can you see the root of the issue and avoid being blinded by prejudice.

It is easy to be blinded by prejudice when your society is made up of many others who look, act, and seem different. Yet, as U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker was quick to point out, the hall that day was filled with young people of all colors, religions, and backgrounds. From different schools in the area, we all gathered together to learn. The possibility of the future was mirrored by each of us – people within a diverse nation working together, nations within a global society supporting each other.

International Career Day may be an event for those who want to decide what their job will be as an adult. But it also teaches far more valuable lessons and imparts far more effective advice for any young person growing up within a society that extends across the globe .


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