Maren Welch, who graduated with her Masters from the School of Diplomacy and International Relations in 2008, recently moved to Manila and the experience was nothing short of an adventure. After graduating, Maren was handpicked by her company, SterlingBackCheck, to work at the one of their first overseas offices in the Philippines. For some, a big move abroad might be a bit nerve-wracking. For Maren, however, this was an exciting opportunity to put to use the skills and experiences she gained from her time at Seton Hall.
Maren was first drawn to the School by none other than Catherine Ruby. After receiving an invitation to the annual Global Leaders Forum, Dr. Ruby piqued her interest in the program by describing the quality of university faculty and the close ties with the nearby United Nations Headquarters. The Diplomacy faculty and administration are, in Maren’s opinion, the most valuable resource the program has to offer. However, her experiences were shaped not only by faculty, but by her peers as well.
The diverse student body exposed her to a wealth of new knowledge and career options. Through interacting with her fellow students, she became comfortable with different cultures and languages. The network she created within the School of Diplomacy allowed her to transition seamlessly into the new culture of Manila.
Maren stresses that smart networking is a crucial key for success. Whether you draw from your network of friends or from your local exercise class, you should always make it known who you are, what you want to do, and how you’re looking to do it. Maren advocates beginning your network by reaching out to university alumni. She shared an experience where, just a few years prior, she helped a recent graduate secure a position with her company’s Ohio office. It’s important to always take networking opportunities seriously, and never be afraid to ask a potential connection (or two) out to coffee!
While Maren was confident in making her own transition, she recognizes that it may be a daunting experience for some to start life anew abroad. She shared that as she was getting settled into the new culture, she found it very helpful to reach out to fellow expatriates. There are many expatriate networking groups that offer opportunities to meet others in the same situation through outdoor activities and events. This is a great way to explore your new city and make new connections.
When searching for a job, Maren advocates being open minded. She stresses that navigating a career path isn’t as obvious as it used to be, and you have to take a chance on different opportunities. Her own company was quite small when she first signed on, but offered her incredible opportunities as it began to grow.
Maren looks forward to continuing to grow with SterlingBackCheck, and has just extended her contract for another six month period. While she keeps an open mind towards professional opportunities, she hopes to work abroad for as long as she is able to. She enjoys the challenge of working in new cultures, and enjoys sharing her experiences with those in her network. Just last year, she was able to meet up with President Esteban over a traditional dinner and show to share stories of her time in the President’s hometown. Surrounded by new opportunities and connections, it’s easy to see why Maren’s move abroad has been nothing short of a success.