GoAbroad Interview

Kate Foster - Marketing & Outreach Coordinator

Kate Foster - Marketing & Outreach Coordinator

Throughout her childhood in rural Minnesota, Kate's family hosted multiple exchange students from all over the world, igniting her passion for learning about other cultures. After high school, she studied abroad in Frankfurt, Germany through Rotary International. Kate continued pursuing her interests at Concordia College, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Global Studies and German, and studied abroad at United International College in Zhuhai, China. Kate has traveled around Europe and Southeast Asia, and frequently travels back to China to visit life-long friends.

Growing up your parents hosted exchange students and in high school you studied abroad in Frankfurt, Germany with Rotary International. How did this influence your interest in the field of International Education?

I was fortunate enough to be exposed to international education from a very young age. My family hosted many exchange students from all over the world. These exchange students quickly became my extended family, and taught me to think as a globally minded citizen. 

Traditional Chinese wedding gowns in Beijing, China

Trying on traditional Chinese wedding gowns in Beijing.

It’s this global mindset that inspired me to take gap year abroad in Germany after high school. I attended German high school and lived with a German family, it was total integration and completely changed me. After I discovered the possibility to be a part of this cross-cultural understanding, I was hooked! Not only could I provide the experience for people like me who want to go abroad, but I can also inspire the members of our host families abroad to experience and explore new cultures as well.

You studied abroad in college at United International College in Zhuhai, China. How did your experience abroad for a second time prepare you for your current role?

My experience in China was completely differently from my experience in Germany. Although I was much younger when I studied in Germany, I was much more prepared. I had been to Europe before, and knew what type of lifestyle to expect. China was a different story. I was extremely hesitant at first, and very nervous that my first time in Asia would be a four month commitment. I was fortunate enough to have professors in college convince me that it’s important for American’s to learn about Chinese culture. I took the plunge and could not have been happier.

It was after my semester in China that I fully understood that the scarier something is, the more potential it has to change your life. I try to use this knowledge when talking to students who are hesitant about particular program destinations.

How did you get connected to World Endeavors?

Before I started at World Endeavors, I was working in the restaurant industry. Although I loved my job, it was definitely not the type of career I was looking for. When I discovered the field of international education, it felt right. I knew that studying abroad in high school and college was going to benefit my career in the long run, I just had no idea it was going to apply so literally!  I was fortunate enough to have made great connections in college that introduced me to the field of international education. This is living testament that professional networking is just as important as what you actually are studying!

Eating trdelnik in Prague, Czech Republic

Eating trdelnik in Prague.

What does your day-to-day look like as Outreach Coordinator for World Endeavors?

As Outreach Coordinator, I am one of the first points of contact for those interested in going abroad with World Endeavors. I get to spend a lot of time out on the road speaking with students and universities about our programs. Our programs are customized to fit each applicant, and I am here to make sure what the student is looking for, is something we can provide for them.

You spend a lot of time on the road traveling to study, intern, and volunteer abroad fairs. What is your favorite part of being a road warrior?

I love attending fairs on campuses across the U.S.! It's so great to talk to students face to face and share my excitement of international travel. Although being on the road can be exhausting at times, it's definitely worth it. It's great to be able to talk to a student at a fair, and a few months later see pictures of their time abroad on one of our programs!

What makes World Endeavors’ programs unique when compared to other study, intern and volunteer abroad programs?

Before working with World Endeavors, I never really understood the potential and demand for experiential education through intern and volunteer programs. While studying at a university abroad is a great way to spend significant time abroad in college, international internships and volunteer experiences are becoming extremely valuable. Not only do on-the-job training and service-learning projects shine on a resume, but an international experience shows future employers that you are adventurous, flexible, and think outside of the box.

At World Endeavors, we focus on getting to know each of our applicants. We want to know what type of experience you are looking for abroad, so we can customize our programs to fit your interests and goals.

What’s the number one tip you would give to a student applying to a World Endeavors program?

Talk to us! Whether you are just starting to think about going abroad or if you know where and when you want to go, we are here to help make it happen. All of our advisors are experienced travelers and want to speak with you about the opportunities we offer abroad!

Visiting the Great Wall in China

Kate enjoying a visit to the Great Wall in China.

You have a Bachelors in Global Studies and German from Concordia College. Are you able to use your German for your current role? What’s the most important skill from your Global Studies background you use when talking to prospective program participants?

Unfortunately, I'm not able to use my German language skills as much as I would like! My degree in Global Studies though has absolutely prepared me for my role here at World Endeavors. My degree covered many different aspects of our ever-globalizing world, from politics to art. The focus of my degree was to understand the avenues of communication between cultures, and how we are all connected. This definitely applies to our motto here at World Endeavors: Change your World. We believe this applies both internally and externally. It’s easy to think about how this experience will shape our participants and the impact it will have on their education and career goals, but it’s important to remember the impact it will have on their host country as well.