Chelsea Eakin ‘09

Current Job: Public Affairs Manager at Paulson Institute

 

What has your career been since graduating from Colby?

I moved to China shortly after graduating, inspired by a Jan term course I took my senior year. After a year teaching English in Shenzhen I started looking for a job that had something to do with international cooperation and environmental issues. Seven years later, I’m still in China, advocating for US-China cooperation and environmental protection in both countries.

How did being a Global Studies major give you advantages after you graduated?

I was drawn to the Global Studies major because of the real range of courses and topics you cover, including language, economics, history, culture. That broad foundation gives you options and can take you many different places. After graduating, I felt I had the basic tools and confidence to try a range of internships and jobs to figure out what I was really passionate about in the long term.

Where did you study abroad, and how did that experience impact you?

I studied abroad in Quito, Ecuador for a spring semester and stayed for the summer to work on a tropical fruit farm. I think spending time in a different culture and speaking a second language causes you to discover new interests and layers of your personality that you never knew existed. Not only did I learn a lot about Andean culture, I also learned a lot about myself.

How did Colby in general help guide you in your career?

My Colby education gave me the scaffolding to pursue broad interests after graduating. I felt that I had the foundational knowledge and tools to be successful in a range of environments. The career services center was also helpful when I was applying for internships my senior year.

What advice would you give to Global Studies majors at Colby about their experience in college and their future careers?

Try new things while at Colby. I studied Spanish and studied abroad in Ecuador, but now I’m living in Beijing and speak Chinese all because my senior year I followed an interest to take a Jan term course on China. College is the time to take risks and discover new interests and sides of yourself. Future employers will pay attention to the choices you made and many will admire strong curiosity and risk taking.

Are there any websites, links or other tools you would recommend to Global Studies majors for career planning?

Networking is important. Keeping your online presence on LinkedIn and other social media up to date is really helpful, especially if you plan to move around. You will discover new connections who live near you. I landed my first job in Beijing after meeting a friend of my college roommate. Her work sounded like exactly what I wanted to be doing, and when she left China several months later she helped introduce me to her boss.