An International Career & Coronavirus

COVID-19 has had an enormous impact on our world… and international careers have not been spared! With travel restrictions everywhere, you may be asking yourself: Do I really want to study for a career that depends so heavily on international travel?

This is a good question. But before you make any life-altering decisions out of fear of the unknown, consider the following:

  1. Global pandemics highlight a need for more international cooperation, not less.
    I’d like to say that COVID-19 is only a temporary visitor to our world. Yet, even if it sticks around forever, there is no question that mitigation strategies will require international cooperation:
    – Somebody has to facilitate the sharing of testing and vaccine innovations.
    – Somebody has to argue for more or less research dollars.
    – Somebody has to advocate for testing in refugee camps and amongst our world’s most vulnerable populations.
    Rather than a hurdle, think of this as an opportunity.
  2. International affairs degrees have many uses.
    That Master’s in International Public Management could still land you a job in a local business back home. That may not be your plan, but it can always be a back-up plan. In the meantime, why not shoot for the stars?
  3. Competition may thin.
    Make no mistake: others in your place may also be unsure about a career in international affairs. Even more so, they may be nervous about attending university anywhere outside their home country.
    Recently Sciences Po has moved all of its classes online. Online classes may seem less exciting or useful, and while I’m certainly not privy to any numbers, this might discourage some individuals from even applying in the first place. After all, the greatest joy of studying in France is, well, being in France!
    But even if you have to do a semester or two from a distance, that doesn’t mean you won’t eventually get to France. Plus, online classes are becoming the new norm all around the world, even for elementary school students! But remember: just because classes are online doesn’t mean they are lesser quality or they don’t allow opportunities to interact with other international students. Most online class forums still allow for substantial back-and-forth conversations with your peers — you just might have to be a bit more proactive about it.

I cannot predict the future any more than you can. Yet, I would argue that fear simply isn’t worth letting your dreams fall to the wayside.

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