HERC and trustee-level partner jobs.ac.uk recently held a webinar on ‘Global Academic Careers: Exploring International Opportunities’ for our jobseekers and here we summarize some of the important points covered in the event. Don’t worry if you missed it though because you can watch the recording here.
The internationalization of education has not just been about students; faculty, too, are increasingly looking overseas to advance their career, develop greater awareness of other cultures and engage in exciting teaching, research and other valuable experiences.
How an international experience is a plus for an academic career
Today, most universities view favorably faculty who have gained international experience. In China and many other Asian countries, for example, most new faculty appointments in top universities are expected to have completed post graduate study overseas. An international experience adds to the diversity of faculty and helps to develop their cultural IQ. This cultural sensitivity and awareness is especially valuable given universities in the US and most other countries are now admitting increasing numbers of international students. Having the experience of being a ‘foreigner in a strange land’ provides faculty members with a deeper understanding and empathy that enables them more effectively to engage foreign students in their classes and advise domestic students about the benefits and challenges of study and work abroad.
Research and teaching opportunities
Teaching overseas also affords an academic with multiple research opportunities. Indeed, in Australia and China, for example, grant application guidelines often give weight to applications that are international in nature and bring together academics and perspectives from other countries.
Funding bodies such as the Asia Development Bank and UN also offer significant grant and consulting opportunities for academics engaged in research and capacity building in relation to overseas countries. Finally, those US academics who work overseas and return home will typically bring back with them a network of faculty, student, government and industry contacts and network that will result in significant benefits and additional future opportunities.
Look particularly at countries where the higher education system is expanding rapidly such as the Mid-East, Eastern Europe, developing countries such as China, India and Brazil as well as Africa and South America. If you speak another language in addition to English that is of course a huge plus.
Dual-career couples & benefits for the whole family
On a personal level, too, an international experience can be educational for the whole family. In my family, for example, we have in most years had an international student living with us. This experience has helped to inculcate in our two daughters an acceptance and appreciation of other cultures. Again, this cultural awareness had benefitted them in both their personal relationships and careers. By way of example, when we visited our home-stay student in Thailand and met her family, my daughters (then in grades 4 and 7) were taken along to school, gave speeches, and learned much about Thai culture and people. In doing so, they also learned more deeply what is uniquely Australian and American in their Australian-American backgrounds.
Most countries and universities today also recognize that it is common to have dual career couples. In Australia as well as China, my partner had little difficulty also securing work first as an accountant and later in her career as a university lecturer in accounting.
How to find job opportunities
Finding opportunities requires both a self-assessment of your particular strengths and interests as well as an outward evaluation of the different higher education markets that need what you have to offer. There are multiple ways to find out about international opportunities. One of the best is through leading career sites such as jobs.ac.uk.
Major job listing sites, government employment sites, major international and national agencies and others will often post international jobs, projects and consulting opportunities. Many governments seek to both internationalize their faculty and attract foreign faculty members to work with their local faculty.
The China Global Talents Program that I was fortunate to participate in, for example, is designed to attract foreign experts to work in China for a three year period.
There are special programs like the Fulbright awards as well as international exchanges and volunteer opportunities for faculty. The major professional management and accounting firms also often advertise opportunities for international consultancies.
When travelling abroad one can visit other universities and get to know foreign scholars who are teaching and researching in the same area. These connections often lead to joint papers, projects, visiting lectures, short-term teaching, research consulting and other opportunities abroad.
There are many pathways for faculty to have an international experience—an experience that is highly valuable both personally and for career advancement.
For those seeking such an experience, the key is to remain open to the different possibilities, start small, do your homework and make full use of available networks. Above all, enjoy the journey.
You can watch the recording of the ‘Global Academic Careers: Exploring International Opportunities’ webinar here. jobs.ac.uk also have a really useful free ebook you can download here: The jobs.ac.uk Global Academic Careers Guide .
About the author
Dr Eugene Clark is Distinguished Professor of Law and Senior Foreign Expert with the College of Comparative Law, China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing. He is also an Emeritus Professor and former Pro-Vice Chancellor (External Relations), University of Canberra and Professor of Law and Founding Dean of the Charlotte School of Law.
Originally from the US, Professor Clark has worked in China,Thailand and Australia. He has earned five university degrees that include post graduate qualifications in law and also education from universities in both the US and Australia.
This contribution has been provided by HERC Trustee-level partner www.jobs.ac.uk, the leading international online recruitment website for academic, research, science and related professions in the UK and worldwide.