April 18, 2017

Purdue Profiles: Glenda Caudill

Glenda Caudill Glenda Caudill, associate director of programs for study abroad. (Purdue University photo/Rebecca Wilcox) Download image

When she was in high school, Glenda Caudill was an exchange student in Germany. She later spent her first year of grad school at the University of Salzburg in Austria. She loved being in Europe so much that after grad school, she found a yearlong internship in Cologne, Germany, working with German students interning abroad for six months. That was when she discovered the career field of international education and knew she wanted to be involved.

For the last 14 ½ years, Glenda Caudill has been the associate director of programs for study abroad at Purdue.

How did you become involved in study abroad programs at Purdue?

I’d been working in the field of international education for several years in different positions in Germany, New York City and Iowa. In 2002, a position as assistant director of study abroad at Purdue became available, so I applied and ended up moving to Indiana.

What do you do on a daily basis?

It depends on the time of year and what’s happening in the world. In short, we are assisting and preparing students to study or intern abroad for a year, semester, or summer and earn credit toward their Purdue degree. In addition, we’re assisting international students coming to Purdue on exchange for a semester or two. Therefore I am overseeing student advising, processing or approving applications, and managing Purdue’s exchange agreements and partnerships in Australia, New Zealand, and Latin America. I also set up, arrange, and manage large summer internship programs in Sydney and London, and lots of other stuff.

If there is a major emergency abroad, such as a terrorist attack, natural disaster, or a student injured or misbehaving, then we drop everything to account for the students and assist with whatever the issue or emergency might be. Every day can be quite different, and what you think you’re going to do that day often ends up being quite different.

How does study abroad relate to Purdue Moves? How does the program work to meet Purdue Moves goals?

One of the Purdue Moves goals is for a third of all undergraduate students to participate in an international study, internship or research credit-bearing experience before graduation. A lot of scholarship money has been made available to support students to go abroad, and grant money has been provided to the academic units to develop, subsidize and promote programs.

Why do you feel that study abroad is valuable for Purdue students?

I’ve spent four years combined in Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands as well as worked in international education for 19 years, and I still never understand when someone asks me why anyone should study abroad. Why wouldn’t you? How can you not? You learn about the world, yourself, and your home country as well as develop skills such as problem solving, dealing with uncertainty and unpredictability, and working and communicating with people different than yourself. You can have amazing, memorable experiences and interactions with people and places. It’s not vacation. It’s not always easy and fun. Homesickness and culture shock are real. Learning from it all is invaluable.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I firmly believe that we change lives. Sounds cheesy, but it’s true. 

Writer: Kelsey Schnieders, kschnied@purdue.edu 

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