Continental Crossroads

Sarah Frese ’09 has a specific set of skills. No, she isn’t a top-secret CIA operative—but she has studied two languages (and is working on a third), helped coordinate a forum bringing together policymakers from around the world and assists clients at an international political risk firm.

So traveling around the world isn’t just an on-job perk for Frese—it’s definitely work. After gaining a love for travel with Central College Abroad in Germany and Vienna, Frese interned for a semester in Washington D.C., and her career took off from there.

As a political science and international studies major with Spanish and German minors, Frese was well-versed in all things international.

“The study abroad programming and career center’s help were so valuable; my semester in Germany and Vienna taught me how to work in an international environment and allowed me to learn German by jumping in headfirst,” Frese explains. “I am currently learning Russian and don’t know if I would have the confidence to jump into that if I hadn’t had the experience learning German from scratch when I studied abroad.”

After her stint overseas, Frese took on the nation’s capital as an intern for the Atlantic Council during her senior year. What she didn’t expect was a job offer to coordinate the first annual Black Sea Energy and Economic Forum. Leading policymakers, government and business leaders and academics from Eurasia attend the event to discuss challenges and opportunities within the region. Frese had a hand in every minute detail.

“As coordinator, I was involved with every aspect of the forum—from managing logistics with conference venues in Romania, Turkey and Serbia to researching conference topics and working with experts to create a relevant and interesting agenda with speakers representative of the different sectors, international organizations and countries involved,” she says.

After working with international affairs in Eurasia for two years, Frese decided on the direction her career should take. She is now at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and working towards a master’s in Russian and East European studies.

On top of studying Eurasian affairs, Frese works with Oxford Analytica, a macroeconomic and political risk analysis firm. She works out of D.C., advising clients and coordinating client relations. With offices located around the world, Frese often gets to travel, including to Oxford, England, the company’s home base.

None of this would have been possible without the Central experience—activities both in and out of the classroom that prepared her for success.

“My professors and classes provided a challenging academic environment that prepared me well for writing in the ‘real world’ and graduate school,” Frese says. “Outside the classroom, I was able to get involved in many different campus activities that have helped me be successful in life post-college. I learned teamwork as part of the women’s soccer team, organizational skills and time management from Campus Activities Board and how to talk with people and lead groups through SOS.”

But support from the Central family is what sticks with her the most.

“The people at Central are also amazing—I found mentors in professors, group advisers, coaches and many staff members. Their support and being able to get involved in a variety of things on campus helped me put together a well-rounded skill set and graduate with real-world experience that is invaluable.”

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