Nurturing a love for multinational understanding and intercultural experience
From learning Italian in High school, doing an internship in Ecuador to studying abroad in Poland, Catherine Krol ’17 has long followed the sound of her heart to globally engage with the world. To continue the exploration, she became a Fulbright Teaching Assistant in Indonesia right after graduating from Beloit with a major in International Political Economy.
Why did you choose Beloit College back then?
Could you share with us some of your first-year experiences with Beloit College?
I would say I pretty much enjoyed my freshman year. I auditioned for the Chamber Singers, where I studied choral literature and the history and development of musicianship. At the end of my freshman year, I applied for the CareerWorks Common Grant (ultimately, I did not get it) but still rounded up the funds to travel to Ecuador that summer. This experience changed my life and was instrumental in my return in the summer of sophomore year for the Intern position at Centro de Promoción y Empleo para el Sector Informal Urbano.
As an alumnus now, what would be some advice you offer to first-year Beloit College students?
To first-year students, explore everything! It’s a great time to explore academically, socially, and personally. The rest of your years will be nailing down your primary interests, but the first year is for trying anything and everything.
What were your majors at Beloit College, and when did you declare?
My major was International Political Economy, and I declared my major halfway through my sophomore year. I always knew I wanted to work in an international context, so that was why I declared my major in International Political Economy. Learning hard skills, for me, were the tools and techniques to apply to social and cultural themes and challenges.
Could you share with us your experience in Ecuador?
My main tasks were communicating with micro-businesses to collect data on significant barriers to supply chain operation and applying my quantitative skills to create reports and analyses as preliminary research.
Through your story, I can see your love for multinational understanding and intercultural experience. So did you take the opportunity to study abroad while at Beloit?
Yes, I did. In my junior year, I studied abroad at Wroclaw University in Poland. During my time abroad, I had chances to experience and explore various things: I did market research on the chocolate industry, learned to rock climb, learned basic German, traveled to many countries, and met people from both in and outside the EU. It was an eye-opening experience, and I was so glad to have a chance to reflect on and share my abroad story with other fellows through Student International Symposium.
What were the most important milestones or achievements (they could be academic, co-curricular, or career-related) you have attained while at Beloit?
First was my involvement in the Duffy Partnership program. Through Duffy, I was able to work with an internship and a subsequent research project at Beloit Health Systems, using the econometrics skills I learned with professor Jermaine Moulton in the Economics department. Second, with the help of the Anthropology Research Design class and the entire Anthropology department, I merged my qualitative skills with my quantitative skills to create a survey-based research project analyzing the saving behavior of Polish immigrants in Chicago, building skills in non-parametric data analysis learned in Professor Leslie Lea William’s Quantitative class. I also declared my minor in Anthropology with all the support from the Anthropology departments in my last year at Beloit College.
Thinking back on your 4-year experience at Beloit College, how did you think the college helped prepare you for your post-Beloit life?
For me, the beauty and terror of life after college is that nothing is permanent, so my road has been varied after Beloit. My liberal arts experience was pivotal for being adaptable in any job, which led to me choosing to spend a year teaching English in Indonesia and coming back to do market research. My first job was being a contract Research Associate at Stax Incorporation, which first introduced me to the market research career path. After that, I got offered a position as a Fulbright Teaching Assistant in Indonesia. With this position, I not only provided lessons on cross-cultural differences, but I also engaged in fully immersive experiences to learn the host language and culture. And ultimately, I landed my full-time position as a Research Analyst at Euromonitor International. My main task is researching the Latin American region for the beverage and tobacco industries. My research is mainly based on secondary sources such as consumer reports, trade press, and annual reports to understand and predict the underlying trend directions for strategic purposes.