Alumni Spotlight: Sarah McClanahan

SarahAlumniProfileName: Sarah McClanahan

Home Town and University: Ames, Iowa. I studied Communication Studies and Music (B.A.) at Iowa State University and Higher Education & Student Affairs (M.Ed.) at the University of South Carolina.

Fulbright ETA placement location and year: I was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) at CT Foundation school in Medan, North Sumatra for the 2014-2015 grant period.

Current city and job: I am currently the Senior Assistant Director of International Admission at Bryant University in Rhode Island.

Life after Fulbright: A severe bout of typhoid and typhus cut my ETA grant a bit short this spring, but after a few months of recuperation back home, I was back up on my feet and ready to continue working in the field of international education. I’m thrilled to be back working with international students who are looking to study at a university or college within the U.S. I focus efforts globally, and work with alumni and current student networks to hold events in different countries to promote international education. I am also partnering with EducationUSA offices around the world to hold events and seminars (such as essay writing, financial aid, life in the U.S., etc.) for prospective students. I’m excited to be spearheading an expanded effort to work with Indonesian students this upcoming year. It will be wonderful to return to Indonesia and join efforts with the EducationUSA offices that are aiming to promote educational opportunities Stateside.

My time as an ETA prepared me in every possible way for what I am now doing. Working in International Admission, I will be traveling internationally around 11-weeks out of the year, and my time in Indonesia taught me how to be a savvy and cautious, yet open-minded world traveler. It also taught me the value of each and every student, no matter the financial or social background they may come from. A big piece of my heart will always belong to CTF school in Medan, and I feel so blessed to have an employment opportunity now that allows me to continue working with my “home away from home” in Indonesia, yet also focus on global education efforts.

A piece of advice for current ETAs is to invest in your relationships at your school and in your communities. Yes, those are people you will share life with during your nine months as an ETA, but you never know how those relationships could blossom and provide opportunities for your future as well! Enjoy your everyday moments, let your students teach you (because they have so much to offer), and inspire those around you to dream big. You’re in the midst of a transformative time for both yourself and those around you, so aim to be purposeful with your efforts. You’re in for an exciting journey!

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