Emmitt Smith '13 Encourages Auburn Students to Study Abroad
Lebanon Valley College graduate Emmitt Smith ’13 found the experience he gained and skills he learned at The Valley to be instrumental in his professional career.
“My professors and advisors always allowed me to tailor my learning and experience to best help me, and I was never limited in my imagination of where my education could take me,” he says.
During his junior year, Smith took the opportunity to study abroad in Cheltenham, England, where he gained a new worldview.
“After this experience, my interest in world affairs and culture grew exponentially,” he recalls. “I began to view life from a different perspective.”
After graduating, Smith enrolled in a graduate program at Shippensburg University to become a high school counselor; however, before beginning, he accepted a graduate assistantship in international programs at Shippensburg University.
“This position made me re-evaluate my career choices, and after my first year in the graduate program, I switched tracks within the counseling field to work with college students,” Smith explains.
Smith completed all three of his graduate internship placements in the international education field, which included two semesters with Jill Russell and Caitlin Murphy ’12 in LVC’s Center for Global Education. While working alongside faculty and staff, the practices that he observed as a graduate student are those that he attempts to mimic in his own teaching.
“Their approach to student learning is personal, and even though I work at a large university, I try to take the same approach and not treat students like ‘just another customer,’” Smith outlines.
Smith currently works as the study abroad coordinator at Auburn University, where he has a wide range of responsibilities. They include, but are not limited to, student advising, intern advising, working with faculty to create study abroad programs, event planning, co-leading pre-departure orientations for students, coordinating and co-leading pre-freshman study abroad programs, and many administrative duties that are associated with sending students overseas.
“We wear many hats in the study abroad process, and do many things behind the scenes that are never seen by students,” he admits.
Of these responsibilities, Smith says that his favorite part of the position is seeing the transformation in students who return from studying abroad. “I truly believe that study abroad experiences change the lives of students. I feel like they have a new ‘swagger’ about them when they return from a study abroad experience—that’s what keeps me going!”