Emily Crane is a junior here at Roanoke College and is majoring in international relations. Although she is a student here at Roanoke, it is fair to say that some of her best educational experiences throughout her academic career have occurred off-campus, even around the world. Taking advantage of the opportunities our public affairs department offers and also taking some self initiative on her own over the summer, Crane has built up a resume that will propel her in her future endeavors when she leaves Roanoke College.
Crane first spoke with me about her summer internship at Virginia Tech, where she interned at the Office of International Research, Education, and Development. During her internship, she worked specifically with the Women and Gender program. Connecting the relevance this internship has with her major, the OIRED works in international development research and has projects worldwide with a portfolio of $134 million, most of which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development. Reflecting on her experience, Crane said that “As an intern I was right in the middle of an office with incredible international experience, with some who had worked in the development field for 30 plus years. Some were returned Peace Corps volunteers or had worked in emergency relief organizations, and I was able to get a lot of advice about working in the field in the future.” With her experience with the OIRED, she has really opened up to the idea of working with international development in the future. As we know, all summers come to an end and it was time for school to start back up; however, Crane would be spending her fall studying abroad in Meknes, Morocco.
Being an international relations major certainly points students towards considering studying abroad experiences, but Crane’s minor in French and a year in a pilot Arabic class is what opened her up to considering destinations like Morocco. Regarding her coursework at Roanoke, Crane said that her “Modern Middle East” class taught her a lot about the region historically and politically, which sparked her interest in spending a semester in the area. Reminiscing on her time spent, Crane said that, “During the semester I got to travel all around the country to Rabat, Casablanca, Tangier, Fes, Chefchaouen and Asilah. The highlight of the semester was when the program took a trip down to Merzouga to spend the last weekend in the Sahara desert iding camels and camping out nomad-style in the dunes. It was a really incredible experience!” One of the most interesting aspects about studying abroad is that you have the opportunity to stay with a host family, and experience cultural life of another nation through household daily life. Staying with a host family is what gave Crane the window to Moroccan daily life as well as opportunities to meet people that she wouldn’t have been able to without the experience. Practicing different languages was very difficult, but Emily came out with skills she can share with peers when she returns to classes here on campus. Crane recommends the experience of studying abroad to even student at Roanoke College, considering she felt pretty confident about saying it was one of the best decisions she ever made.
Crane is rounding out her academic year this spring semester in Washintong D.C, partaking in the Lutheran College Washington Semester. Currently in D.C, she is working as a Program Analyst in the Office of Emergencies in the State Department. Crane’s office handles the K fund, which coordinates donations to States as well as domestic representation, evacuations, rewards, and other emergencies in the diplomatic and consular service. Crane said that the State Department is “a perfect place to explore a possible future in diplomacy and I have already talked to a lot of Foreign Service Officers about their experiences.” Crane closed off her remarks about the Lutheran College Washington Semester by saying that anyone with a public affairs major can get an internship that they are interested in because there is a variety of diversity in Washington D.C, the heart of the political world.