Archer, Buckwalter, Petrucci, and Saeva Present at Study Abroad Returnee Conference

Posted on 11/20/2015 8:15:34 AM

The first Pittsburgh Regional Re-entry Conference "Lessons From Abroad: Three Rivers," which took place at the University of Pittsburgh on November 14, 2015, provided international returnees with resources. IUP presenters include Emma Archer (International Education: ALI), Chad Buckwalter (International Education: International Students and Scholar Services), Michele Petrucci (International Education), and Zach Saeva (Career and Professional Development). Many IUP students also attended the conference.

Jessica Halchak, assistant director: education abroad in the Office of International Education, cofounded and cochaired the conference with a colleague from the University of Pittsburgh Center for International Studies.

Halchak and fellow colleagues at IUP, Andrew Kent (International Education) and Buckwalter, were active members of the LFA planning committee, which worked for over a year to produce this one-day conference for students and young professionals.

Archer, Buckwalter, and Kent presented a session on teaching abroad, where they drew from their own vast experiences of teaching abroad in Mongolia, China, and Honduras. This session discussed the rewarding options for individuals looking to make a difference in the world and advance their career in a global setting. Topics included the job search process and challenges associated with living and working abroad.

Petrucci presented the session "Graduate Schools Abroad." The panel discussion was to inform students about weighing the options and find the right graduate school abroad. Topics of discussion included academic rigor, quality of degree, costs, and learning styles. Petrucci shared the discussion with a staff member from the School for International Training (SIT) and a senior communications manager from UPMC.

Saeva presented a career-focused session on how to market study abroad experiences to employers through resumes, cover letters, and elevator pitches. Saeva was also part of an interactive networking event at the conference where students sought feedback from the career professionals on their resumes and discussed career strategies. 

For the first time in the Pittsburgh Area, more than 150 college and university students from western Pennsylvania converged at the University of Pittsburgh for the regional “reentry conference.”

Students who have recently returned from an international experience such as study abroad, international internship, volunteer program, or work abroad had the opportunity at this conference to network with local professionals and fellow students, hear from field experts, and attend sessions for international career counseling and overall professional development.

Conference plenary speakers included Brooke Roberts of Yoga Travel Tree and Inside Study Abroad, and Aaron Bruce, chief diversity officer at San Diego State University. High-ranking officials from the U.S. Department of State presented along with many professionals from the area on various topics ranging from working abroad to living an internationally focused life, teaching abroad, and exploring fellowships, scholarships, and grants to further pursue international goals and interests.   

The conference planning committee was comprised of individuals from Carlow College, Duquesne University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Robert Morris University, Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh, and Washington and Jefferson College and Lessons from Abroad. In addition to the aforementioned, presenters from various entities contributed to the diversity of the conference: SIT, UPMC, Global Pittsburgh, Amizade, Packed Panda and Deloitte. Students also met with individuals from the Peace Corps, API, CIS Abroad, ciee, Athena Abroad, the Education Abroad Network, and PaCIE. 

The conference, open to college and university students who have had an international experience in the area, was held at the O’Hara Student Center at the University of Pittsburgh, Oakland Campus, Saturday, November 14, 2015. For more information, visit the Lessons From Abroad website.

A fall 2016 LFA conference is planned. For more information on how to be involved for the next conference, please contact Jessica Halchak, co-chair, LFA Three Rivers, at