by Natalie Spencer MAIEM '15

Natalie Spencer sitting at her work desk at the American Councils for International Education

Middlebury Institute graduates discuss where they are working today, what it was about the Institute that helped them get there, and what advice they’d give to current and future MIIS students.

My name is Natalie Spencer. I graduated from the International Education Management program in 2015. I am currently the senior outreach and selection officer at American Councils for International Education. At the time we shot this video, I was the program officer for recruitment and selection in the Critical Language Scholarship Program at American Councils for International Education.

Why Middlebury Institute: Shaping the international career you always wanted

When Natalie Spencer discovered the growing professional field of international education, she looked to the Middlebury Institute to give her the specific skill set those employers valued.

My name is Natalie Spencer. I graduated from the International Education Management program. And I’m currently the program officer for recruitment and selection on the Critical Language Scholarship Program here at American Councils for International Education.

The Critical Language Scholarship Program is a study abroad program for U.S. students funded by the U.S. Department of State.

We send about 550 students abroad each summer to learn languages that are critical to national security, to U.S. economic prosperity and are really helping to build national competitiveness for American students to go out and be competitive in a more globalized workforce.

“So there’s talking points in this presentation from last year I realized.”

I think, like many students who studied abroad during undergraduate and also had other experiences overseas, I was really interested in trying to find a way to make a career out of that. So I started looking into what skills that might take and I realized that it really is a professionalized field that did need a special skillset and that the Middlebury Institute was a way for me to get that.

The International Education Management program and I think a lot of the programs at the Middlebury Institute are really focused on connecting theory to practice. It was really about getting to know the field, understanding the work and coming out with those solid skills that employers would see as valuable. And two days before I graduated, I applied for a job and was hired.

“It’s not just about diversity numbers. It’s not just about statistics for the organization. It is about providing access and being inclusive.”

The field of international education was pretty unknown to me when I decided to go to the Middlebury Institute.

All I knew is that I saw a job posting for a study abroad advisor. I read it, and it was the first time that I really connected with the job description.

We live in a globalized world, and I think the power of international education goes beyond students, goes beyond administrators. It really does have that capacity to change the world. Now I’m in this field and doing what I never knew I always wanted to do.

Critical Language Scholarship Program

The Critical Language Scholarship Program is a study abroad program for U.S. students funded by the U.S. Department of State.

We send about 550 students abroad each summer to learn languages that are critical to national security, to U.S. economic prosperity, and to helping American students go out and be competitive in a more globalized workforce.

From Study Abroad to a Career

Like many students who studied abroad, I was really interested in trying to find a way to make a career out of that experience. I looked into what skills that might involve, and I realized that it really is a professionalized field that needs a special skill set. The Middlebury Institute was a way for me to get that.

The International Education Management program, and lots of programs at the Middlebury Institute, are really focused on connecting theory to practice, which is about getting to know the field, understanding the work, and coming out with solid skills that employers see as valuable. And two days before I graduated, I applied for a job and was hired!

International Education

The field of international education was pretty unknown to me when I decided to go to the Middlebury Institute. All I knew was that I saw a job posting for a study abroad advisor. I read it, and it was the first time that I really connected with a job description.

We live in a globalized world, and I think the power of international education goes beyond students, goes beyond administrators. It really does have that capacity to change the world. Now I’m in this field and doing what I never knew I always wanted to do.