Maria Knutson Adkins '99
My experiences as an International Affairs/French dual major, and my year abroad in Dijon, France certainly shaped my career path and life decisions after college. As for many people, studying abroad had a profound effect on my life, and I had an immediate desire to learn about and explore other cultures. For three years after graduating from UNH I worked for EF Education in travel sales. This job brought me around the world on trips to Kenya, Eastern Europe, Egypt, Ireland and more.
Despite the exhilarating trips, I wanted more. I wanted to be able to work with students and help them study abroad, not just visit a country for a week or two, but live in a country. I wanted to share with them the same experiences I had of culture shock, awe, and trepidation followed by being aware and adapting to another culture that was completely different from my own. I later pursued and received a Master’s degree in International Education from the School for International Education (SIT) located in Vermont. I stayed at SIT and worked with both American and international students for two years in student activities and then I spent one year working at the Office of Off-Campus Study at Middlebury College in Vermont. After that, I was an international student advisor at Suffolk University in Boston. Currently I am working at Roger Williams University as the Assistant Director of the Intercultural Center. I am the primary contact for all our international students. I help them with all of their immigration issues and questions and cultural adjustment. I lead them on trips around New England, plan cultural festivals, arrange the host family program, and try my best to make the students feel at home here. I truly love my job!
My degree in International Affairs and French taught me to appreciate a truly multicultural world and that as citizens of the West we have a responsibility to be good neighbors. One act of self-interest by our government can affect millions of people’s lives in other parts of the world. Overall, this degree and my experience studying abroad impacted my life in so many positive ways; it is hard to imagine where I would be now had I not pursued this course of study.