Thursday, June 1, 2017
When Siena Saints set their hearts on studying abroad, they often imagine the cultural immersion they’ll experience, the historical sites they will witness and the months that will inevitably shape their college experience. Most don’t think, however, that it will shape their future career paths.
When Nicole Elking ’15 decided to study abroad in London, England, she never imagined it would be the place where her career began. As an accounting major, Elking spent her semester as an intern through the Siena College London Internship program. On top of taking three courses, she gained real world experience working at a specialized risk management firm.
“I had never had an internship in accounting before I went to London, let alone one in the specific field I was pursuing. Siena offers one forensic accounting class that you can take your senior year, so it wasn’t the most popular accounting track.”
After experiencing the world of forensic accounting for herself, Elking was hooked and knew it was the right field for her.
While Elking left London with memories of iconic spots such as Big Ben and the London Eye and traveling to places like Venice and Copenhagen, she also left with much more. Before she returned home, she was offered a summer internship at the Firm’s New York City headquarters, and after that, a third internship and eventually, the company decided to make her a permanent member of the team after she finished Siena’s Masters in Accounting program. Today, Elking lives in New York City, where she continues to work at the Firm where it all began.
Alana Strassfield ’14, always knew that travel was a big part of her life plan. She thrived off going outside of her comfort zone, learning new languages and meeting new people.
So, when she came to Siena, she hit the ground running; in the summer of 2012 studying in Italy, Uganda that fall, traveling to Iceland Sweden and Denmark during her junior year and capping off her time with a visit to Guatemala.
“I knew I wanted to spend my semester abroad in a developing country,” said Strassfield. “I had met an American a few years back who worked in Rwanda. We had a really interesting conversation about the differences in vocabulary of one of the languages spoken there, Kinyarwanda and that conversation sparked my interest in East Africa. I began to question how a society processes the genocide when one of the first words that I would use to describe it doesn't exist in their native language. I questioned what other words they might use, their meanings and translations.I started doing research and talking to professors and when it came time to meet with Brother Brian about where to study abroad, I knew I wanted to be in Rwanda or Uganda.”
After returning home from Uganda, Strassfield felt regret over her decision to spend just one semester abroad. Little did she know what was waiting for her after graduation.
With a great passion for where our products come from and more importantly, the rights of the people who produce them, Strassfield set her mind on living in China and Southeast Asia.
“I found internships after graduation in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), but had China on my mind throughout. I looked for various opportunities to study or work in China, but wanted to wait for the right opportunity.”
Eventually, the right opportunity knocked on her door. She accepted an offer to work on an analytics team in Shanghai for a Corporate Social Responsibility consulting firm. In the summer of 2016, Strassfield moved to Shanghai to start her career abroad.
Siena’s study abroad programs are open to students in all majors. With opportunities to study in more than 50 countries, Saints pursue internships, conduct original research, engage in service learning and form lasting bonds and friendships. All of these experiences set our Saints up for their future careers, whether here or abroad.