January 2017-August 2017
The aim? Create a home away from home for international students.
This meant keeping students content and comfortable during their stay and engaged in their cultural immersion. I did this by leading on and off-campus events once per week, and as the customer-facing front desk attendant 10-15 hours per week.
Located in the heart of Brighton, MA, this educational language program offers English language courses and Boston travel excursions to hundreds of international students, most between the ages of 16 and 24, many of them new to America.
Prioritizing customer service in a supportive educational environment
On a typical shift, I would be on the phone with the Sales Team addressing last-minute travel updates, often while comforting a worried parent on the other line, all while printing out a map for a student to help them locate the nearest CVS. At its busiest, this job was an exhilarating juggling game — each logistical snafu worth resolving because it was in service of opening the world through education. At its best, this job was an opportunity to learn about other countries and cultures through our students, and addressing the unique challenges these learners faced: language barriers, a desire to make the most of a foreign world, an American political climate at odds with their long term goals.
And well, a tad of homesickness here and there.
The RA team equipped international students with the resources they needed to succeed in EF’s programs.
On-shift our responsibilities required welcoming incoming students each weekend, keeping tabs on the building safety, documenting policy violations, and addressing needs as they arose. Our around the clock duties meant keeping a positive, can-do-it demeanor, continuous collaboration with a fabulous Housing team, occasional emergency response, patience and adaptability, constant interpersonal tact, and — above all — empathy for students.
I organized a weekly activity for students, working closely with the Activities Coordinator to ensure students had opportunities to explore Boston with a trip leader. My favorites: Lindy Hop dancing at MIT, climbing the obelisk at Bunker Hill, Sh!t Faced Shakespeare in Davis Square, hosting Karaoke nights, and touring Fenway Park!