Opportunities for International Relations Majors

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According to one source, international relations is defined as the multidisciplinary study of the behavior of nations, as well as international governmental and non-governmental organizations.  It allows students to learn about various relationships, conflicts, and the efforts of these nations and organizations in their searches for global order.

Have you ever thought about working outside of the United States?  If so, then you might be interested in finding an entry level job in international relations.  People who want to work abroad are usually drawn to opportunities to experience life in another culture.  By taking part in another culture’s lifestyle, you could clear up any misconceptions that may exist in your mind.  Working in another country allows you not only to learn new skills and raise your cultural awareness, but potentially can give you an advantage over other people looking for jobs in the United States because of your international experience.  Of course there are factors to consider before you decide to accept an entry level job in international relations such as money and travel requirements, but if you can overcome any such obstacles, more power to you.

College students and recent graduates should understand that programs offered in international relations may take a while to apply for, as well as the time necessary to find an entry level job in international relations.  In addition, there is a need to save money to provide for yourself while working globally.  That’s why it’s important to choose a program that fits your needs and wants and to plan early for it.  Some of these programs include agriculture, business, foreign relations, and teaching.

Today, we live in a global economy, where businesses are making and spending money in other countries.  This is due to globalization, the expansion of businesses into other countries.  With this gradually increasing practice in the U.S., more employers are looking for more “globally minded” workers.  Therefore, having experience in the world of international business could be an asset for job seekers in international relations.

There are both professional benefits and personal benefits to having work experience in international relations.  On the professional side, working abroad can help you apply any classroom studies to a real world experience and increase your qualifications in the hopes of getting an entry level job in international relations.  A survey done by The Institute for International Education of Students indicated that more students may seek international careers if they participated in internships overseas.  If you decide not to take a permanent job abroad, the skills you obtain might still be valuable when it comes to finding employment in the U.S. that requires some international experience.  The personal benefits of having work experience in international relations include allowing yourself time to examine career opportunities, having new cultural experiences, and finding out more about yourself.  Also, by living in another culture, you can gain more of a perspective on the lifestyles of people who don’t live in the U.S.

Here is some criteria to consider when working abroad:

  • Professional focus – Is there an opportunity to learn about specific careers?
  • Location of program – How does location impact the type of experience you want to have?
  • Degree of cultural immersion – Can you interact with the local culture?
  • Degree of pre-trip job placement – Will you be responsible for finding a job as well as housing?
  • Duration of program – How long will you be working in the international program?

It’s said that international relations majors should be interested in obtaining a liberal arts education.  Some other characteristics of these students are:

  • Being comfortable in learning a foreign language
  • Doing extensive amounts of reading and writing
  • Developing skills in research, analysis, and presentation/communication and job preparation skills
  • Analyzing complex social and political situations

 

College graduates who decide on a career in international relations usually have a bachelor’s degree in the field.  They have taken courses in economics, political science, sociology, anthropology, history, and business to prepare them for various entry level jobs in international relations.  In addition, depending on the institution, students may take courses such as Diplomacy and Global Security, Global Economy, Current Diplomatic Issues, and The Third World.  Here is a list of some of the jobs:

  • Archivist
  • Demographer
  • Diplomat
  • Foreign Affairs Analyst
  • Foreign Affairs Specialist
  • Immigration Specialist
  • Journalist
  • Language Specialist
  • Market Research Analyst

To find information on getting a job abroad or viewing international job listings or internship listings, contact:

  • American Foreign Service Association
  • One Small Planet
  • The Peace Corps.
  • United Nations Internships and Careers
  • U.S. State Department Career Opportunities

While some of the jobs are not associated with the federal government, employment opportunities in this area do exist for those who have experience in international relations.  Federal agencies that have workers abroad include:

  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Defense
  • Department of the Air Force
  • Department of the Army
  • Department of State (also has internship opportunities)
  • U.S. Agency for International Development
  • Peace Corps.
  • U.S. Information Agency

The federal government also has internship opportunities available in international relations if you’re interested.

Salaries for jobs in international relations will depend on factors like the type of position, your experience, and your location.  In the United States, one source reports an average starting salary to be $41,400, while the average mid-career salary is $80,500.

The most important part of deciding to work in another country is finding something that interest you.  After all, you want to have the best international experience possible.  Consider all the factors involved in this decision, and do extensive research before making any long-term commitments.  Who knows?  Once you’ve had a taste of another culture, you might want to stay abroad and get an entry level job in international relations.

If you have an interest and are willing to make the preparations, then an international relations job may be right for you.

Sources

http://goliath.ecnext.com/coms2/gi_0199-6046143/working-abroad-finding-international-internships.html#abstract

http://careerplanning.about.com/od/occupations/a/intl_relations.htm (Information provided by Dawn Rosenberg McKay, About.com)

http://www.makingthedifference.org/federalcareers/internationalrelations.shtml

http://www.mymajors.com/international-relations-major

Source by William Frierson

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