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Emily Merson

Emily Merson
Emily is the Executive Director of AIFS Abroad and former CEO of Global Experiences. Emily has lived in 5 countries, traveled to over 40, and holds 3 passports. Emily loves to paint, draw, cook, read, throw fabulous parties and create amazing travel adventures for her family. She has three kids and a super cute golden retriever called Bronte, named after her favorite beach in Sydney. Emily is a native of Sydney, Australia, and has a global resume with degrees from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, and Uppsala University in Sweden. Emily started her career in International Relations with an internship at UNESCO in Indonesia, and her first job at the Asia-Australia Institute in Sydney working with Asian Young Leaders. In 2001, Emily co-founded Global Experiences, an International Internship organization, serving as CEO from 2013 to 2020. During her time leading GE, Emily developed a range of innovative and award-winning programs focused on connecting academic and careers experience through international education.

Recent Posts

Global Experiences Celebrates 20 Years

Emily Merson | April.22.2021

Global Experiences started with the goal of helping US students gain professional experiences abroad.

In 2001, the birth of the internet made it possible for young and unfunded entrepreneurs to create a storefront in a totally new way.

Remote Internships-Biggest Pandemic Success Story in Global Education

Emily Merson | April.05.2021

A little more than a year ago, the Global Experiences team was challenged to move its spring semester global interns from in-person to remote internships.

Many students required credits from the internship to graduate and we worked with hundreds of our partner employers to move to remote supervision to ensure academic continuity.

While we rushed to reorient our participants and partners, I challenged our whole team to work together to build a new virtual internship program from scratch. How could we create a virtual program as successful as on-location programs we had been refining for almost 20 years?

We had no idea at the time what the biggest issues or opportunities would be, and whether the experience would measure up to the benefits of interning abroad, in-person.

Be Brave, Be the Boss: Happy International Women’s Day!

Emily Merson | March.08.2018

Happy International Women’s Day! What a great day to celebrate how far we have come and also, how far we have still to go. It is a privilege to work in an industry that attracts so many talented women. At Global Experiences we see twice as many young women than men participate in internships abroad, a trend that has been in place since our inception and mirrors the majority of the US study abroad sector.

5 Simple Tips for Finding a Job Abroad

Emily Merson | May.04.2016

With over 5,500 alum from our international internship program  we are often asked “how do I get a job abroad once my program is finished?” Global Experiences International Internship Program is the launch pad for many intrepid globetrotters to build the network and confidence necessary to work abroad. Here’s some simple options for getting that first foot on the career ladder overseas once you finish your program and graduate from college.

1. Go Down Under, Mate

US citizens can work legally and travel in Australia for up to a year on the working holiday visa . Unemployment is low in Australia but Americans enjoy a solid reputation for their great customer service, confidence, and work ethic. Struggling to find that entry-level job in your field from abroad?  Consider part time work in cafes, restaurants and service related businesses while you explore professional opportunities face to face, a much better way to land that dream job. If nothing else, Oz has the highest minimum wage in the world so you can always support yourself while living in this incredible country. Check out the GE network  and connect with alumni for a warm intro to opportunities in Australia.

2. Shamrocks & Entrepreneurship in the Beautiful Emerald Isle

Ireland is a hotbed of activity for startups and is now considered the center of entrepreneurship in Europe. US citizens are eligible for a working holiday visa for Ireland in the year after they graduate and if you happened to have been an intern in Ireland on the Global Experiences program you have probably already have some professional contacts so reach out to them! Ask for informational interviews at organizations where you’d love to work and let them know you are exploring some options to work in Ireland for a year.

3. Teach English Abroad & Get Paid to Travel!

One of the easiest avenues to working and living abroad is teaching English as a second language. It is an experience that has launched many people into global careers, including Global Experiences Co-Founder Stephen Reilly, who taught English in Hong Kong before going on to visit more than 50 countries. Global travel also inspired Mitch Gordon of, who credits his international teaching experience as the catalyst for starting the fantastic business he created, which helps students and young professionals find unique study, travel and work opportunities abroad. Online courses are a great way to get certified to teach and the International TEFL Academy  is one of the best in the business.

4. Use Your Network, All You Have To Do Is Ask!

During your internship with Global Experiences you were building a network of connections in your professional field whether you realized it or not at the time. Always keep in touch with the people you meet. Share your goals and ask for advice. You will be surprised how helpful they will be. The GE Alumni Community on Linkedin  is also an amazing resource of professionals, many of whom have been in their career for 5, 10 or even 15 years by now.

5. Join a Global Company with a US Office

Your international experience is valuable to many US based businesses, or overseas businesses with offices in the US. All areas of the economy have some global component and your first hand knowledge, network and language skills can be a great way to land your first full time job. You may also consider joining the growing field of International Education, and share your love of the world with others. GE is always hiring- so check out our careers page.

The main thing to remember is perseverance is the key. Don’t get discouraged if things don’t come together quickly or an opportunity doesn’t present itself. Keep to it and you won’t be disappointed. If you want it bad it enough, everything can happen…and it will.

Why You Should Intern in a Start-Up

Emily Merson | January.13.2015

Peter Ballagh is Global Experiences' placement director in Dublin, Ireland. Here he lends his expertise on the advantages of start-up internships.

Stronger Through Strengths - Annual Team Retreat

Emily Merson | December.16.2014

We have had another exciting year at Global Experiences in 2014. I always say that change is constant and again we have seen some changes during the year: new locations, awards, record breaking enrollment, and lots and lots of conferences and campus visits.

Salisbury University President visits Global Experiences Interns

Emily Merson | December.09.2014

Lead by example. Model the results you expect. Just as successful CEOs and leaders of corporations cultivate their missions and strategic plans towards company goals, successful University Presidents also lead by modeling the kinds of bold leadership that inspires students on their campus.

5 Free Things To Do In Milan

Emily Merson | March.21.2014

Milan is the heart of Italian high-fashion and glamour and houses some of the world's most expensive shops and hotels. Milan is also Global Experiences' most popular location for internships in the fashion and a great location to get first hand experience working in your field. Living in the second largest city in Italy can definitely add up, but there are tons of free things to experience and free things to do in Milan during your internship or visit.

Lessons I Learned From Interning Abroad

Emily Merson | March.18.2014

In January 1998, in the summer before my last semester of my BA degree in Political Science and Science and Technology Studies at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, I did a 3-month internship at the United Nations in Jakarta, Indonesia. It was experience that changed my life in so many ways and set me on a path that has lead me to a place I could never have expected.

A Letter from Global Experiences' CEO

Emily Merson | September.08.2013

Global Experiences is excited to join Hubspot in making a big difference this September through a partnership with charity: water. We will be raising money to provide clean water to villages in India. I was at the Inbound Marketing Conference in Boston this past week and was inspired by the stories I heard. I was reminded just how much the water access in India specifically impacts the female population. Collecting water in poor villages can take many hours of the day and this role falls almost exclusively to women and young girls. Many of the women spend their days traveling to and from water sources instead of attending school, which ultimately denies them future opportunities to live a life out of poverty. Providing clean water access in each house is key to also providing a future to half the world’s poor girls.

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