Any International Student Exchange area representative will tell you that this job isn’t for everyone. Area representatives are a key part of ISE’s mission to bring cultures and people together through study abroad, which doesn’t come without its challenges. Superb time management, a great work ethic, and a knack for de-escalating stressful situations are just some of the qualities successful ISE Area Representatives have.
But for those that embody these traits and many more, being an Area Representative is one of the best stay-at-home career opportunities on the market today. Why? Because unlike many part-time remote roles, being an Area Representative gives you the opportunity to build an extensive network, create your own schedule and travel the world all at the same time!
What makes being an ISE area representative such a great part-time job? Check out some of these awesome perks and benefits of becoming an ISE Area Representative!
For extroverts, being an Area Representative is the perfect challenge.
One of the core responsibilities Area Representatives have is creating a vast and engaged network of host families in their area. For extroverts, that means using their skill with people to help students experience the United States.
Just take it from long-time Area Representative Brenda Hendrickson. “Host family recruitment is definitely one of the most challenging parts of the job, but once you complete the task, it’s incredibly rewarding, “ she says. “Not only do you have the trip, but you have a new group of people that you get to connect with, as well as the students!”
As an area representative, you are responsible for creating and posting information about becoming a host family on social media, setting up booths at local fairs and events, and even creating incentives for host families to talk to their friends and family about the hosting experience. For extroverts, that means a great excuse to expand their already vast social network!
For globe-trotters, being an Area Representative means opportunities to travel (for free!).
Rarely do work-from-home jobs offer opportunities to travel the world — but that’s exactly what being an ISE Area Representative does! Every year, Area Representatives that recruit a certain number of new host families are invited to attend the Celebration of Success trip with other Area Reps from around the country.
This all-expenses-paid excursion visits a new international destination each year and includes most meals, activities, hotels stays, ground travel, and flights.
In the past, Celebration of Success tours included trips to Germany, France, Spain and Ireland among many other beautiful destinations. If you’re looking for a challenge and a great incentive, becoming an representative might be the perfect opportunity for you.
For self-starters, becoming an Area Representative offers way more flexibility than other jobs.
One of the best things about becoming an Area Representative is the flexibility to create your own schedule. This is especially fitting for busy parents who need to organize tasks around school drop-offs, kids’ activities, and chores around the house. Of course, being a self-starter is a critical element to being a successful representative, since with inherent flexibility comes a lack of direct oversight to keep you focused.
“You have to be very self-motivated [when] you are working from home,” says one long-time Area Representative. “It’s easy to get distracted and even easier to say ‘oh, tomorrow I’ll get to it’. But in order to be successful, you have to be the type of person that can say ‘I could do that tomorrow, but I’m going to do that today.’”
For those that have a natural tendency to problem-solve independently, being an Area Representative is one of the few at-home jobs that allows you the autonomy to create your own success.
For altruists, becoming a Representative allows you to make a life-changing impact on a young person’s life.
Few people can say that their career changes lives — but for ISE Area Representatives, that’s exactly the case. In many ways, cultural exchange equips young people with the skills they’ll need to solve the global challenges of tomorrow. By helping students experience the United States through international exchange, you are an integral part in molding the minds of our next generation.
Of course, it’s not just the lives of exchange students you’re changing. Any student or even adult that interacts with an exchange student learns a lot about their own culture and the culture of others. This kind of discourse builds bridges between world nations and can help build empathy and understanding of others’ perspectives.
Jennifer Miller — an ISE Area Representative, educator, and host mom — counts this as one of her favorite “perks” of the job.
“One of the biggest benefits [of being a host mom and Area Rep] is the personal learning experiences it offers — not only for the students we’ve hosted as a family but also my students that I work with personally,” she says. “So let’s say there’s an exchange student from Brazil. The students can read about it in a textbook, or they can spend a day actually interacting with someone from Brazil or even Skyping with previous students currently living in Brazil. That experience is just so much better than anything they would have gotten from a textbook.”
Related: Field Notes from the Global Classroom — A Conversation with Jennifer Miller
Not sure if you’re the right fit? Check out this inside scoop on what makes the perfect Area Representative.
We invite you to read more about what it is like to work with us. If you have specific questions about the area representative role, check out our Area Representative FAQ page.. Still on the fence? Complete our Area Representative interest form and one of our regional managers will get in touch with you to answer your questions and to help you get started.
In addition to working in the student exchange industry, we like to encourage everyone to explore the option of becoming a volunteer host family to host an exchange student.