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Living and Working Abroad Will Give You a Fulfilling Experience

Photo of Ari Nicholson (fourth from right) with Mexico semester students and host families

Mina Himlie, copy editor

Just like on the Minneapolis campus, when students study at Augsburg campuses around the world they need an international resident assistant (IRA). The IRA in Cuernavaca, Mexico when I studied abroad in 2022 was Ari Nicholson. They have been in the position since December of 2021, but their contract is almost over, and the Center for Global Education and Experience (CGEE) is looking for a recent college graduate to fill the IRA position starting in August of 2023 and ending in August of 2024, with the possibility of an extension.

The primary responsibilities of the IRA include providing emotional and medical support to study abroad students, helping them develop intercultural competencies, and assisting in executing all the CGEE programs based in Cuernavaca. The position also comes with a stipend of $650 USD (approximately $13,000 MXN) per month, room and board, health insurance in Mexico, airfare to and from the US, the possibility of deferred student loans and educational opportunities.

Job descriptions can be pretty dry, so Ari shared some of their experiences in the role.

Ari studied abroad with CGEE in Latin America while they were in college and loved it. When this position opened up they applied because CGEE’s values of social justice and community learning aligned with their own. They also emphasized the intense, transformative nature of study abroad and their desire to be part of that for others: “I think that study abroad is one of the last times that you’re gonna be in this group experience before you become an adult, so I think contributing to that experience for people is really important.”  

A large part of the IRA position is supporting students through their experience abroad. This role has allowed Ari to develop their skills in talking to people, helping them solve their problems and seeing the complexities of the world. “You’re not only experiencing your own experience,” they said, “you’re experiencing everyone else’s experience.” 

While the position can be challenging, they also expressed fulfillment from it. Ari explained that there’s always something new going on, and they’ve learned a lot about critical pedagogy from great professors and community leaders. They have gained an international perspective on organizing and social justice in the U.S. and been exposed to new ways of doing this work. Ari believes these new ideas will serve them well if they return to the U.S. to do more organizing work; however, they also showed an interest in potentially not living in the U.S. for their whole life. The future is open, and there are many opportunities for which this experience will be valuable to them.
Ari expressed a lot of love for their time as the IRA, and it seems like a great transitory position. Since it’s a temporary role (one or two years), you don’t need to commit your entire life to something right out of college. You could be the IRA for a couple of years while you gain experience, live in another country, expand your cultural and self awareness, and generally figure out what you want to do while advancing social justice in an educational setting. Click here for the full job description and to learn more about applying for this once in a lifetime experience!