Alumna Spotlight: Margaret Morgan

Margaret Morgan
Tue, 11/30/2021 - 09:17

Major: Global studies
Minor: French
Graduated: May 2021

What were some of your favorite memories of being at UNL and majoring in global studies?
My favorite thing about UNL was the diverse curriculum that was offered. If I wanted to explore a new topic there was almost always a class for it.

Along with this diverse curriculum came amazing professors. These amazing professors encouraged me to do things I wouldn't normally do, like apply for Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF).

Global studies was a great major because it is a broad concept that gives you an understanding of the world, along with opportunities to focus on a more specific subject. Also, the requirement to study abroad was a great excuse to go to Paris. Thinking about global studies can be overwhelming since it encompasses a multitude of topics, but the different classes offered allowed me to narrow down my studies and interests within global studies.

Extracurricular Involvement
When I was at UNL I was an Intelligence Community (IC) Scholar for a year, was a part of Iron N, volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club, and studied abroad in France for a semester.

During my sophomore year, I had an interest in National Security and people in one of the classes encouraged me to add that as a minor and apply for IC Scholars. I thought it would help me narrow down what I wanted to do. I enjoyed the experience for a year, but it ultimately showed me I did not want to pursue a career in national security. I never saw this as a bad thing because it only helped me get closer to what I was passionate about.

I joined Iron N because I wanted to do something a little more laid back and creative. I met some awesome people and my appreciation for Husker sports grew.

Volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club was one of my favorite experiences at UNL. I felt like I was making a difference in the kids' lives. It was very rewarding and I will never forget the kids.

Then my junior year, I got to study abroad in Paris. I was meant to go for 17 weeks, but thanks to COVID I was only there for 7 weeks. During those 7 weeks I learned more about myself than I did in the previous 3 years of college. This is why I am a serious advocate for studying abroad and stepping out of your comfort zone. I lived with a host family, which was a challenge at first, but I wouldn't have changed a thing about my experience.

Great things happen when you make yourself uncomfortable, studying or living abroad will do that.

What have you been up to since graduation?
After I studied abroad in France, I knew I wanted to go back and I knew TAPIF was the best way. I learned about TAPIF through the French professors at UNL and I thought it was a great opportunity. Especially because I was unsure about what I wanted to do after graduation. I applied because I have always liked working with kids and I also wanted to work on my French. Teaching French kids would allow me to do both. I began the application at the beginning of my senior year, it was due in January. The application process was manageable, just an essay written in French and a resume. The worst part was waiting until April to find out if I was going back to France or not!

So far, my experience has been great. I was placed in two middle schools right outside of Paris. The kids are excited to see me each day and are usually interested in what I am teaching. It can be challenging some days, but that comes with the territory.

I think others should consider this program because it pushed me out of my comfort zone and I am gaining valuable knowledge about France, different school systems and myself. This program is not like studying abroad, I needed to do a lot after I was accepted to be here. Getting a background check, obtaining a visa, finding my own housing, planning my travel, getting to my living situation and much more. Once I got to France, I had to open a bank account, get insurance and social security. It was difficult and a little frustrating at times, but the teachers from my school were a big help and it was all worth it. The work weeks are short, only 12 hours which is great for travelling on the weekends.

What is your advice for current global studies majors who aren't quite sure what to do after they graduate?
I had no idea what I wanted to do going into my senior year. I saw my friends accepting job offers or planning to go to graduate school and I still did not know the direction I wanted to go in. I considered graduate school, but I also wanted a break from studying. I also considered finding an entry level job and starting my career, but that didn't feel right because I didn't know what I wanted my career to be. I also wanted to enjoy my summer because being a working adult could wait.

TAPIF had always been on my mind and I knew I was going to apply but I still hadn't decided if I was going to commit or even get accepted. Once April came around and I got my acceptance, I thought, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am young and able so I need to do this. To save money for TAPIF, I spent my summer working at a marina in northern Michigan and then at the end of September I left for France. I think the best advice I could give someone about to graduate is do not rush into a job or internship because you feel like you have to, do it because you want to. I know a lot of people who jumped into a job right out of college and regretted it. So I did what I wanted. I didn't think I would be working at a marina right out of college, but it turned out to be my favorite job I've ever had and now, I am in France and everything is working out.

There is no need to panic at the end of college because there are hundreds of different paths to take and you will find the right one.