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Alumni Spotlight

Read about this month’s International Studies Alumni Spotlight. Alumni were asked to share how their International Studies major or minor has influenced their path after graduating from the University of Michigan.

April 2019

Alison Climes

BA International Studies (Global Environment and Health); BA Spanish ’15

Hometown: Okemos, Michigan

University of Michigan Affiliations: WeRead, Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program, Barger Leadership Fellows Program, Michigan International Internship and Service Program (MIISP), Alpha Phi Omega, Peer Advisor in the International Center's Education Abroad Office

“Before my senior year, I participated in the Design for Global Development program through the Department of Mechanical Engineering. This was a very informative experience and helped me recognize that while I thought I was interested in public health, what I was most drawn to was the education aspect of it. I shifted gears and after graduating, I spent a semester teaching English through the English Opens Doors Program in Puente Alto, Chile. This gave me the opportunity to practice my Spanish and gain further exposure to the world of education. I returned to Michigan and taught a semester of high-school Spanish before moving to Tucson, Arizona, to work with a refugee education program for middle- and high-school youth. This was a very challenging and eye-opening experience as well. This past fall, I began a master's program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California, in International Education Management (IEM). I'm currently very interested in comparative and international education, and education diplomacy programs. Next semester, I will be doing a practicum, hopefully with an organization that administers youth or scholar international exchange programs.

My major in International Studies opened so many doors for me while I was at the University of Michigan and directed me to my experiences abroad, as well as what I pursued after graduation. I think that something that is important to recognize is that it is the type of major that you have to take ownership of. There is no one, common path, and it's up to you to pursue the opportunities that are of the most interest and value to you. I have been trying to do this within my graduate work as well. Currently, I'm taking a class outside of my major that is focusing on advocacy in action and working on a semester-long project to further improve the IEM program that I'm currently in. I think my experience in the Program in International and Comparative Studies helped me to develop the skills to be successful in my current master's program.”

Read about past International Studies Alumni Spotlights: