Traveler is director of international programs


Michelle Fromm

Jen Siebert in front of her office door in the Academic Resource Center.

Amanda Smith, Staff Reporter

Jen Siebert is using her experiences from traveling the world and her ten years of being part of the Lakeland community to improve the international program here at the institution.

On March 20, Siebert became the college’s director of international programs.

“It was a great opportunity to be able to work more with study abroad and our sister schools, and that’s what I really wanted to do,” said Siebert.

A national search was performed and 40 other people applied for the job before the school decided to appoint Siebert.

“Finding [Siebert] willing and able to do this has been fantastic,” said Dan Eck, Lakeland College interim president.

Siebert brings a lot of experience to this position because of her many travels, which include countries like Honduras, Mexico, France, England, Scotland, Spain, Greece, Israel, Japan, Australia, China, Indonesia, Tanzania, and counting.

Her favorite things about traveling include listening to and speaking different languages, communicating with different people, and learning about the culture. She can speak Japanese, Spanish, and some Chinese, but wants to learn more.

“[My travels] will help me with my job because I understand how it feels to be in another country studying and the concerns and questions that our international students have,” said Siebert.

She studied in Mexico during high school. She also studied in Japan throughout her junior year of college to improve her Japanese and to experience another culture.

“I then worked in Japan after college because I had fallen in love with the country during study abroad and wanted to go back,” said Siebert.

Living in another country made her feel accomplished and independent.

“I learned so much about the culture but most of all I learned about myself in ways I never would have if I hadn’t studied abroad,” said Siebert.

Her education includes a bachelor’s degree in East Asian and Hispanic cultures and a master’s in business and international administration.

This job is brand new to Lakeland as the vice president for international programs left last summer and allowed for changes to be made in how the program runs.

The vice president for international affairs had other responsibilities, but this position will allow Siebert to focus solely on the international program.

Siebert will handle the relationships with the Japan and partnership schools, the study abroad program, and will coordinate the other international components of the college. She will also be able to help students if they are interested in attending a school that Lakeland is not partnered with.

The institution has sister schools in Korea, Germany, China, Columbia, and Luxembourg. Lakeland College also has a campus in Japan that Siebert will be working closely with. She is also going to urge more students to study abroad, so expect emails from her in the coming years.

Eck is interested in creating a place where students can go to learn about the international program and hang out with international students. Siebert will also have presentations about different international programs to get students interested in studying abroad.

According to Siebert, there is a lot more to traveling than just seeing the sights. “Traveling has exposed me to new cultures and languages and has made me a much more mature person,” said Siebert. “[It] has helped me understand our country’s place in the world, made me a better thinker, sparked my curiosity, has totally rocked my world, and I’ll never stop!”

As Miriam Beard, author and traveler, once said, “Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”