Program Coordinator Rebecca Hart of Georgetown’s English Language Center is interviewed by fellow staffer Regan Carver.
RC: How did you get involved in international education?
RH: My journey in international education started on Long Island, New York, where I’m originally from. I worked for about a year at a Caribbean medical school called Xavier University School of Medicine in its admissions and administrative satellite office.
I primarily did a lot of administrative work- for example, working under the president and CFO, and processing immigration paperwork and student information for clinical rotations. I also did admissions outreach there. It was a lot of fun to experience working within the different departments. I was working with students from all over the world who wanted to become medical doctors and wanted to experience studying in Aruba. I knew I eventually wanted to move to DC, then I found this opportunity at Georgetown and I work with a lot of different international students and groups that want to come study with us.
RC: Excellent. Where, where did you go to college?
RH: So I went to Syracuse University. I graduated six years ago with a bachelor’s in history. And I also had a minor in Education Studies. I originally thought that I wanted to be a high school social studies teacher, but then I realized that I really liked working and connecting with students more in higher education in a supportive advisor role.
RC: What about your graduate studies?
RH: Yes, it’s been an adventure. In the fall of 2018 I joined the inaugural class of the School of Continuing Studies Masters of Professional Studies in Higher Education Administration, so I will be graduating in August 2020. It’s definitely been a lot working and studying at the same time. Lots to work on each day, to say the least. But I think I’ve been handling it pretty well and it’s been rewarding.
I’ve taken a lot of the things that I’ve learned in my work and in my studies and I have seen a lot of cross-connections between the two, especially within my student affairs role.
RC: Excellent. Could you give me an example?
RH: Yeah, definitely. Last fall, I took a course on global higher education, which was one of my favorite courses, just because I felt like it really pertained a lot to like the type of work that we do. And I did get to use what I’ve learned from working at the English Language Center to help with group projects and presentations.
Group projects require a lot of brainstorming and actual experience working in higher education. Some of the projects that we had to do focused on international students and how to offer support services to them. So I really tried to take some of the activities and services that we offer to the students of the English Language Center and make up a plan, programs, and support services that would be beneficial to students in a case study that could apply to real life.
RC: What is, what is an average day look like for you doing your work with the English Language Center.
RH: My typical days involve working on different projects and programs, as well as supporting our international students with immigration advising and compliance. I like the fact that in a given day, I have the opportunity to work on multiple things and work with different people, whether it be staff, faculty, or students. Whether it’s working on program setup for one of our special programs, working with program partners, advising students, processing immigration paperwork, I’m always up for the challenge.
RC: When you’re not studying or working in the ELC, what types of things do you like to do for fun?
RH: I have a lot of different little hobbies, I’ve had my retired racing greyhound for six years. We love to go on walks with each other and explore all of the different DC streets. I feel like I talk about her all the time! I really love spending time with my dog, loved ones, and friends.
I also really love to travel. Whenever I get the opportunity to travel, whether it’s somewhere close by or abroad, I’m always planning my next trip. It’s definitely one of my passions. I also really love reading. I love shopping. And I just like to do what everyone else in DC likes to do, go out to all the fun places around the city and eat good food from all the amazing restaurants. I also like experiencing new cultural things, which is something really unique to DC.
RC: Where do you see yourself in five years?
RH: That’s a tough question. I think I would definitely still like to work in higher ed. Of course, you know, kind of getting more out of the experiences that I’ve put in so far, between my work and my studies. So, I would definitely say that I would still like to be working in student affairs and international education and taking it from there!