Milan Morales- French

February 19, 2024
Milan Morales

Milan Morales graduated from SSU in 2014 with a BA in French.

Tell us about your studies at SSU.

I started at SSU completely unsure about what I wanted to study, just that I wanted to Study Abroad. The International Office (now called the Center for International Education) helped me quickly execute that dream alongside my French studies, and set me on a path of foreign exploration! I don’t know quite what I would be doing if I hadn’t gotten involved with CIE.

When you were at SSU, did you have any idea of what you would do after graduation?

No idea! I thought I might go into teaching, but quickly realized that International Studies was more my passion, which led to travelling myself! 

How did your studies or activities at SSU influence your future job opportunities / choices?

I was lucky to work at CIE as a student during my last two years at SSU, and was offered a full-time position as Programs Assistant, working with international students and prepping SSU students to travel abroad. I worked there and loved it, but then I decided I was inspired enough to make the dream of living abroad my reality! My working at SSU in an International setting and becoming immersed in French studies grew my communication skills exponentially! Not to mention, my curiosity for other cultures and languages.

Tell us about your trajectory after SSU.

After working at CIE for a total of nearly 5 years, I moved to New Zealand to complete a Working Holiday Visa, working at a French Bistro! I stayed there for a year, and then went on to travel South East Asia for a while, until I came back to California for a new career path and some much-needed time at home. I then went back to Europe to meet up with some of the beautiful people I had met! But after returning back to California again, I just couldn’t stay still. So, in 2020 I moved to Australia for another Working Holiday Visa which has turned into 3+ years here, and still no shortage of cultural exchanges! I will soon be starting a new job at a start-up in Sydney, using my experience working in CIE and cross-cultural understanding. What a ride!

How has your French major helped you in your career?

My knowledge of French language and culture has gotten me far both in my travels and my various jobs! The kind of relationships you can build with people when you are both intimately familiar with the same cultures and languages is incredible! From understanding the simplest of miscommunications to being the “American Woman that Speaks French” odyssey, it has gotten me far!

How is working in an international setting different?  

In my various jobs in various countries, it’s amazing to see different standards of the typical work-week and work etiquette. For example, in Australia it’s standard to receive 4 weeks of Annual Leave on a full-time contract. Or in some countries, both parents receive Parental Leave after having a child. It’s definitely increased my expectations for a balanced work life!

Although I’m no longer working in International Studies in a formal setting, I am still gaining similar lessons while living and working with people from all over the world.  I am grateful to have lived as the SSU local, and I am equally grateful to be the foreigner now.

What advice do you have for current students?

Study Abroad!! You never know who you may meet, or what may inspire your path in life. Alternatively, explore visa options (like the Working Holiday Visa) to a country that inspires you after graduation. Of course, traveling overseas for as long as you like is so valuable as well – hostels and volunteering are enriching! There are so many incredible experiences waiting for you! If those are just not an option, try your best to surround yourself with people from different cultures than your own, and stay curious!