Sarah Snodgrass has been the Director of Partnerships and Student Care for Study Abroad Lithuania at LCC International University and a member of the LCC community since 2019. Apart from her involvement in various cultural activities and being in constant connection with students, she is a passionate advocate for anti-human-trafficking movements, dedicating her time to work with NGOs. Sarah talks about her journey to LCC, how she became interested in human trafficking and NGO work, and the challenges when you serve the greater good to make the world a better place.
Talking to Sarah you can instantly feel her spark and charming personality. Originally brought up on the West Coast of the United States in Oregon, Sarah didn’t settle in one place and has lived all over the country. When she was twelve, with her adventurous family, she moved to live in a floating home on a river. Regularly moving from place to place might be nerve-wracking to some, but to Sarah it was a great experience, shaping her traveling spirit and nomadic lifestyle. In 2019, while hiking in the Himalayan mountains in Nepal, without a normal wi-fi connection, she was constantly having email conversations with LCC representatives, discussing the terms of her future job at LCC. “It’s funny. I had no plans to move to Europe or change jobs, but by the time I was done with my hike, I had a new job in Lithuania,” reminisces Sarah. So, after living in different places in the United States, and spending three years in Nepal, Sarah made a choice to settle in one place and relax from short-term traveling.
The first time Sarah became familiar with LCC was back in her university years, when she studied Business Communication at Azusa Pacific University in Southern California. After graduation, she became passionate about international work and eventually ended up at Gordon College near Boston as the Director of Global Missions. She became even more interested in LCC after hearing about it from Hannah Schundler, who she had worked with at Gordon, and is also a current colleague here at LCC.
As the Director of Partnerships and Student Care for Study Abroad Lithuania, Sarah’s day-to-day tasks include leading student teams internationally, helping them integrate into new cultures, and analyzing things outside their cultural framework. “I love leading students and having conversations with them,” says Sarah. Additionally, some of her favorite parts of her job at LCC are networking with partner institutions, Study Abroad offices, and different schools. However, the biggest highlight of the year for Sarah was overseeing student leaders, and building meaningful relationships with them.
Naturally, once you start a new adventure in an unknown country, there are some challenges to deal with. Even though Sarah mentions that the language barrier was one of the biggest challenges, having had so much traveling experience, she learned how to navigate emotions, and deal with little frustrations, like an elderly lady raising her voice saying things in a language she did not understand, while she was walking her dog. Another challenge she faced was feeling she didn’t have a chance to integrate into the LCC community as she would’ve liked. As a recruiter, Sarah was consistently traveling back and forth to the United States, and then later the pandemic and quarantine made even that much harder.
During the times Sarah has spent working with college students, she felt that rather than spreading the word alone, more impact could be made by empowering students to take genuine interest and passion to help communities at risk. This is one of the reasons why Sarah enjoys working in Christian higher education.
Since college, Sarah has been interested in the bigger picture of life matters and injustices in the world, and wanted to make our world a better place. She volunteered a lot, trying to find a specific field that aligned with her passion, where she could collaborate with international non-profit organizations and help communities at risk. In 2010, Sarah was hired by Wellspring International, which focused on fundraising money for and giving grants to different organizations around the world that were working to help communities at risk. Soon after she was hired by Love Justice International, an organization in Nepal that focused on tackling human trafficking and sex trafficking issues. Working with Love Justice International was the starting point for her, of delving deeper into the human trafficking problem in the world. Despite the challenges these organizations face, like corruption and ignorance of power, Sarah mentioned that people have great determination and willingness to work hard to help these communities. “I hope that the good always outweighs the bad,” she shares. She believes it is important that people should focus on doing good, spreading awareness, advocating an issue, considering donations of money, and encouraging everyone to educate themselves about the bigger things that are happening in the world.
Whenever Sarah is not working or involved with NGOs, she loves to spend her free time running. In fact, she is an experienced runner and has competed in different countries. With so much traveling experience, she doesn’t shy away from outdoor activities like hiking, and simply enjoys the time in the wilderness. As a spontaneous person, Sarah is always up for an adventure.
When asked what the future holds, she is positive that soon the world will go back to normal, and the right opportunity will arise to continue working in higher education. Sadly for our LCC community, it’s time to bid a farewell to Sarah, but it’s definitely not a goodbye but instead, we wish you the best of luck and hope to see you soon.