Bantams Without Borders

Armed with a global education and charged with a sense of adventure, more and more Trinity grads are living, working, and thriving abroad.

 
Like many places in China, the Suzhou Industrial Park is really a city—practically a world—unto itself. This past summer, a group of Trinity undergraduates drove through the sprawling industrial park, trying to wrap their heads around the global economic conditions that make a place like this possible. Lucky for them, they had a man on the inside.
 
Charles Moll ’93 is the general manager of MTD China, a company that builds lawn mowers for export to the United States. During a private tour of the company’s production line and offices, Moll explained to the students—all participants in Trinity’s “Boomtowns of the Yangtze River” summer abroad program—the logic and logistics of moving an entire manufacturing operation to China. Thanks to the personal connection with Moll, a place like Suzhou suddenly made a lot more sense to the Trinity students. And so did the life of a Bantam abroad.
 
More than 50 percent of Trinity students study abroad during their years at the College and more and more of them are parlaying their international experience, language studies, and Trinity degrees into jobs in other countries. At last count, almost 400 Trinity alumni are currently living and working abroad in places like Berlin, London, Singapore, Budapest, Shanghai, Addis Ababa, Dublin, and Dubai.
 
As Jason Fenner of Trinity’s Office of International Programs, located at the Center for Urban & Global Studies, explains, Trinity is serious about “connecting the undergraduate experience—particularly study abroad—straight through to the post-graduate experience, and helping students capitalize on the extensive Trinity network.”
 
Rebecca Mayer ’02 is part of that network. An economics major who studied Chinese at Trinity and spent a summer in Hong Kong, Mayer originally considered law school after graduation, but couldn’t shake her interest in living abroad. Unsure of how to connect with job opportunities in China, she took a position with a law firm in Washington D.C., only to discover that the firm had an office in Hong Kong. And she soon learned that the senior partner in Honk Kong was another Trinity alum.
 
“During our first conversation, he told me there was an opening in their office,” remembers Mayer. “Two days later I made the decision to move and a week later I was living in Asia.”
 
Six years, a master’s degree, and two jobs later, Mayer is still in China, engaged to another expatriate, and working as a corporate strategist for the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. She’s in good company. Dozens of other Trinity alumni call China home, including Coley Dale ‘03, who started his own men’s fashion company, DressMonkey.com, while living in Shanghai and working in business development for Ctrip, China’s version of Expedia.
 
Asia is a hot destination for Trinity graduates, but Bantams can be found on every continent. Patrick McGrann ’98 studied abroad in India and Nepal during his junior year and has had one foot outside the U.S. ever since. After working for the United Nations and the Gates’ Foundation in Peru, Italy, and South Africa, McGrann founded KiteGang, a nonprofit that trains war-torn and impoverished communities to manufacture kites and other toys. The kites provide a revenue source for adults and a playful escape for the children, many of whom are refugees.  After working with communities in Chad, Somalia, Kenya, and Jordan, McGrann is now launching projects in Gaza and Iraq.
 
Trinity alumni around the world have been closely following the evolution of the College’s distinctive global and urban programs, with innovative course offerings, international internships, and faculty-led international program sites in six world capitals.  Successful Bantams like Mayer in Hong Kong are strengthening alumni clubs abroad and collaborating with the Center for Urban and Global Studies and the Career Services Office to make it even easier for the next generation of Trinity graduates to connect with international job opportunities.
 
Last Fall, Mayer traveled back to campus to participate in a panel discussion titled “So You Want to Work Abroad. Now What?” Dozens of students turned out to pepper the panelists with questions not just about careers, but also about logistics (“How do I get a work visa?”) and lifestyle (“How do you make friends?”). At a second event this spring, panelists included Patrick King ’01, who works for the Dublin Chamber of Commerce, and Roosh Vora ’09, who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald in Singapore before moving to Mumbai to start a new venture with his brother Sahil, Class of 2007.
 
For Jason Fenner of the Office of International Programs, success in the international job market is all about making personal connections. Fenner accompanied the Trinity students on last summer’s “Boomtowns” trip to China and remembers the final night in Shanghai, when 15 Trinity alumni came to dinner with the students.
 
“It was great for them to meet and talk with today’s Trinity students and reminisce a little about the College,” says Fenner. “And when those students get back to campus and want to pursue an internship or a job opportunity in Shanghai, now they know 15 people who are working there. And that’s a great start.”