Our 5 Favorite (fun) Job Search and Career Sites

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With graduation over and summer beginning, it’s time for you recent grads (if you haven’t already) to begin turning your thoughts to getting that full-time job. Alumni looking for a new job and for rising seniors trying to get a jumpstart on the job search should also pay attention.  Here are the top five entertaining and informative job search blogs that can be a great resource for those embarking on the full-time job search.

  • The Muse: The Muse is a fantastic website that not only offers a blog that helps answer any career-related and job search questions, but also offers a robust job board, and a chance to look inside company offices before applying. Be sure to check out the free online classes section that can help you to learn new job skills that will enhance your resume.
  • Ask A Manager: The writer of the blog, Alison Greene, is a former chief of staff and consultant, and has successfully written a few well-received job search books. Alison’s pithy, hilariously sarcastic and blunt opinions about oddities and awkward occurrences in the workplace or on the job search are extremely entertaining to read and can give you great information as to how to navigate these situations should they happen to you.
  • Careerealism: Both job seekers and employers frequent Careerealism–it not only offers a blog with great career advice, but offers an area for employers to showcase their brand, share their story and discover great talent. By subscribing to Careerealism, job seekers can also access LinkedIn lab tutorials, Interview Prep tools, checklists and assessments.
  • Brazen Careerist: Brazen Careerist is a career networking site for ambitious young professionals, as it powers real-time online events for organizations around the world. Their interactive platform, Brazen Connect, is used by companies, professional associations and universities to expand how they recruit and connect with potential employees.  They also have a pretty great blog related to the job search that job seekers can subscribe to as well.
  • Undercover Recruiter: This blog is focused solely on career development processes and the job search. Topics for blog posts include: career management, interview tips, job search, tips and tricks from recruiters, resume & CV writing, and how to use social media in the job search.

So pick you poison and use these helpful sites to get cracking on that job search!

Ashley LoBue is an Assistant Director at Northeastern Career Development.  A Boston College graduate, Ashley has over 4 years of experience working in higher education and is a proponent for international and experiential education.  Ashley also enjoys binge-watching HGTV and aspires to be like the Property Brothers, Drew and Jonathan, as a possible secondary career. 

Work Your Side Hustle

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Life is more than the office and it lives outside the 9 to 5 hours. Sometimes we forget that the work can (and maybe should) end once you leave and head home. But not all work is, well, work. Let me explain..

When you’re working on something you are passionate about, how often do you lose track of time? Is there a passion or activity or thing outside of your day job that makes you happy and that you love to put work into? That is what I like to call your “side hustle”.

Side hustles come in a thousand forms. Whether you’re a yoga teacher after work hours, run a fashion blog, or have a passion for Instagramming the world around you — Congrats! You’ve found your side hustle.

But what’s the benefit of working on something that’s not, well, work? Let’s dive in:

Expand Your Creativity. By working on something other than your day-to-day, you can find yourself thinking and working in new ways. Injecting this newfound creativity into your work life can help you stand out in the workplace and develop new innovations or solutions.

Stress Relief. Sometimes it is hard to forget about that deadline or looming project, but when you have a task or passion outside of the workplace, you can shift gears and focus. Taking your mind off of your work can help to ease any stresses and let you come to work the next day fresh and ready to tackle any project.

Networking Outside Your Field. Getting out of the workplace for your networking can grow your horizons and reach beyond your field. If you’re an Instagrammer, for instance, going to an Instagram meetup and photo event can introduce you to great contacts in various walks of life and careers. It’s a great way to dive deeper into your side hustle and to meet people with similar passions, no matter their career field.

So, find your passion and get going on your own side hustle!

Tatum Hartwig is a senior Communication Studies major with minors in Business Administration and Media & Screen Studies. Tatum brings experience and knowledge in the world of marketing and public relations from her two co-ops at Wayfair and New Balance. Her passion revolves around growing businesses via social media, brand development, and innovation. You can connect with Tatum on Twitter @tatumrosy and LinkedIn.

Get That Daily Dose of Vitamin D

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It’s summer. Not officially, but I beg to differ since it’s so hot out lately! The worst part: you’re stuck at work or in class. Personally, I’ll stare at the window, hoping I can get outside, even if it’s only for a few minutes of fresh air.

It’s beyond important to treat our bodies well and getting the right dose of vitamin D is just a part of it. Vitamin D is crucial in proper bone health, and other body functions, as it helps absorb calcium, phosphate, and other minerals and vitamins. Staying out in the sun for a certain time every day sounds so easy, but add a hectic day of class, work, or a combination? Not so much. But here’s a few ways on how to make being outside easier, despite a busy schedule:

Workout. Go before work, go during lunch, go after work, just go. It’s finally nice out so exercising outside is a great way to get a workout done and get some of that essential vitamin D. If it’s really hot, do yourself a favor and try to go early in the morning. You’ll catch a great sunrise and beat the heat. If you plan on being outside for a while, put on sunscreen!

Eat lunch outside. Our days are often so hectic that we just eat lunch at our desk, in class, or somewhere else inside. Find a table or bench outside to eat your lunch at. Bring friends, bring a book, or even bring some work if you have to, but worry not, you’ll still be getting some fresh air and some sun.

Walk to or from work. It might mean you have to leave your apartment a bit earlier, but you’ll start your day with some sun. If you’re not a morning person, walk home from work. It’ll be a nice end to your busy day of being cooped up at the office.

There’s so many ways to get a bit more sun every day. No need to stay locked up in the classroom or at work all day long; take a break to catch some sun. You need it every day, so work to ensure you can get some rays of sunlight each and every day.

Colette Biro is a 3rd year Biology and Mathematics major with a minor in Chemistry. She is currently on her first co-op in a biology lab at Northeastern working on transgenerational immunity in social insects. Colette is passionate about running, November Project and being a Husky Ambassador. Feel free to reach out to her at biro.c@husky.neu.edu.

How professional organizations can help you

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black-and-white-city-man-peopleDo you know about professional associations, and how valuable they can be as both educational and networking tools?

A professional association is a non-profit group formed of individuals from a specific career or range of careers that focuses on education, training, and networking within their field. The goal of the association and its members typically is to keep up-to-date with new practices in the field, share ideas, and network with each other. Most associations have regular membership meetings, panel discussions, formal trainings by experienced members in the field, and social events. Many even have groups on LinkedIn, and sometimes you can join the LI group without being a dues-paying member of the larger organization.

Professional associations can be a powerful tool during your job search and ongoing career development. Not only do you learn more about the trends and topics in the field, but it’s a great opportunity to meet other professionals, and build or strengthen your network. Members often share job leads with the group, and are willing to give direct insight on potential positions. You can also find individuals who may be willing to meet with you for informational interviews, and advise you on your job search.

Many professional associations also have information on their website specifically for students or those exploring the field, and some even have events specifically targeted to students. For example, the New England Human Resources Association offers an annual career panel for students considering the human resources profession, and the American Institute of Graphic Artists typically hosts a portfolio review for soon-to-be or new college grads.  Most associations also offer discounted membership rates for students.

Ultimately, it’s a convenient way to meet multiple people from your field of interest.  Expanding your connections with professional peers is essential to your job search success, both in terms of their general advice and the potential to help you get your foot in the door of a particular company or job.

To find professional organizations in your field, try Googling “professional association” and your major or career path, for example, marketing, chemistry, nursing, etc.

Tina Mello is Associate Director of University Career Services, and has worked at Northeastern for over 10 years. Nicknamed the “information guru” by other members of the staff, she loves to research and read about various job/career/education topics. For more career advice, follow her on twitter @CareerCoachTina.

Work Smarter: Office Productivity Tips For Co-ops

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We all have those days when sending an email feels like dragging yourself through a mile of hot desert sand. It’s easy to hit a wall around 2 or 3pm, when your brain packs up her bags and takes the first train home regardless of how much you still have to do. Increasing your productivity has a huge effect on confidence and workplace satisfaction (you know how good it feels to cross an item off of your to-do list. It’s awesome). Here are a few tips to enhance your productivity this week:

Beat the crowd. By being the first one in the office, you can catch up on emails from the day before, schedule meetings, and get things done before other people arrive. This prevents you from feeling stressed-out or behind on your work throughout the day. This habit also illustrates your dedication as an employee, setting you up well for a raise or a promotion down the line.

Avoid the social media stare. I often fall into the trap of the social media stare – keeping one or two browser tabs for work, one for Twitter, one for Facebook, one for the blog. The social media stare is a source of constant interruption when you stop working for every Twitter interaction or Facebook notification. Close those windows to take advantage of your most productive hours.

Clump meetings together. It’s impossible to get things done when you have a meeting from 10-11am, a lunch meeting from noon-1pm, and a meeting at 2pm. When scheduling meetings, try to create clusters of meetings so you have a few hours at a time to get into a work groove. If possible, encourage your office or just your department to adopt one meeting-less day each week. This will allow for greater focus and more productivity.

Use two monitors. Just do it. Once you start using two monitors, you will be amazed that you ever got work done before. One screen is extremely limiting, especially when it comes to research, writing, and creating presentations. If you have the resources, adding a second monitor will greatly increase your productivity and ability to multi-task.

Take advantage of technology. You are always connected, so you should probably make the most of the innovative apps and tools that are available to you. Have to focus for a bit, but distracted by background sounds? Check out Simply Noise (www.simplynoise.com), a white noise generator that allows you to block out sounds around you so you can focus and be more productive. For an easy-to-use note-taking app, try Evernote. Perfect for list-makers, Evernote allows you to keep track of everything on your phone, tablet, and computer.

No matter what, you will hit difficult days when your efficiency seems to plummet and it feels like you can’t get anything done. Focus on these tips or make your own to improve the quality of your work without spending extra hours at the office.

Lindsey Sampson is a junior International Affairs major with minors in Social Entrepreneurship and Writing. She enjoys writing about Millennials in the workplace and social media as a marketing tool. Find her Tweeting at @lindseygsampsonand blogging about travel & career at http://moreawesomerblog.com/.

Ten Top Tips to a Winning Case Interview!

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picjumbo.com_HNCK3988Whether you’re studying Business, Engineering, or Computer Science, you may likely have to master the case interview.  Depending on the organization and your interviewer, it may either be the format of your whole internship or after graduation interview, or a part of your overall interview experience. Kudos to our employer partners and presenters as these tips have been adapted from Case Interviewing workshops presented by Liberty Mutual and Vistaprint, as well as from Northeastern University faculty presenters and a panelist who was a student Case Competition Winner.

Here are the Top Ten Tips to Ace Your Case!

1. How long do you have for your case?

Many employers will do a 45 minute or a 30 minute case question. Having an understanding of approximately what you have to work with for time is important.  It’s also absolutely fine to take 45 seconds to collect your thoughts before starting to tackle the question. Moreover, often, it’s expected!

2. What are some of the issues at the core of your case?

Be sure you understand the case. Does it pivot around a new market entry or product launch, a finance, technology, or innovation case, or does it have multiple overlaps to other areas? What framework are you going to use? While professionals sometimes disagree on the importance of deciding on a framework, identifying the business problem(s) at the crux of your case, as well as your hypothesis, helps you determine your strategy and a structure for your answer. This is true whether you are tackling a case as part of an internship interview, or for an awesome after graduation opportunity!

3. Ask questions and take notes.

Your interviewer will often give you the bare bones of a case, sometimes as little information as possible. They may take two to three minutes to provide an overview. You can help yourself to excel by asking good questions. Great questions include:  how are you measuring success? Is it solely profit or are there other metrics or criteria? What are some of the “barriers to entry”? Are the competitors across the street—literally? Do you need capital? What questions are priorities to ask versus optional? Asking questions, determining shared assumptions, and eliciting clarifying information demonstrates strong analytical skills. Expect some push back and be prepared to support your answers.

4. Put some math around it!

While your analytical skills are undoubtedly super, you’ll impress your interviewer more if you back up your answers by showing strong quantitative skills. Starting with a conceptual understanding of the case is fine. However, you can be sure your prospective employer is looking to see if you can do the math!

5. Show your strategic thinking abilities.

Case interviews allow applicants to shine when they can use their strategic thinking skills to adapt and change gears quickly in analyzing business situations.  Flexing your strategic thinking skills is important, no matter what type of interview you are on and it’s absolutely critical on internship or after graduation case interviews. While some questions are more brainteasers (“how many balloons would it take to fill this interview room”—a real question asked of an applicant!), the case questions we’re focusing on here are complicated with a lot of moving parts (“we’re launching a new water filtration product fall 2015 in xyz country which is a new market for us…”). Whether it’s a brainteaser, a case about a new product in a new market, or something completely different, let your prospective employer see the logic behind your thought process, as well as what solutions you arrive at. Show them how you break the case problem down.

6. Think holistically about the problem.

Although your case might be focused in one area, for example, finance, being able to “connect the dots” to other functions like marketing, supply chain, technology or innovation management, demonstrates your intellectual capital and versatility, as well as the value you would bring to that prospective employer. It illustrates your ability to anticipate how different choices may have different impacts and may change the recommendations you select. Thinking cross-functionally will allow you to showcase your abilities and provide a stronger answer.

7. It’s not always about the right answer, 

it’s about how you frame the analysis. It’s about making a connection with the interviewer and being the right person, not just for the job, but for the team and organization. It’s about being the professional you are, especially under the pressure of a case. In some cases there is no one right answer.  If it becomes apparent that you made a mistake, don’t panic! Admit your mistake. Stay focused and calm under pressure. Don’t assume you’ve lost the job. Employers tell us that many candidates who have made a mistake will still land that offer.

8. Do what helps you create the right space to be in before the interview.

Clear your schedule. Do you need to go to the gym? Do you need to review your notes? Don’t go to the interview hungry and expect your best brainpower. This is great advice given by one of my panelists during a case prep workshop. Implement what works for you and throw out the rest.

9. Picture yourself confident and successful.

What you can control, control, and release the rest. There is lots of ambiguity around an interview. You can’t prepare for everything so prepare as best as possible and then create the conditions of your success by relaxing into the interview, enjoying the intellectual challenge of the case, and staying confident that you’ll be successful.

10. Use Your Resources!  See: Case Interviews on the Career Development website which has Interactive Cases, a YouTube Case Interviewing channel, links to company websites that feature case interviews, and other resources!  Check with your professors! Glassdoor is another great resource for checking out types of questions candidates before you have been asked at that company. Leverage all your resources.

Now go out and crush your next case interview!

Ellen Zold Goldman is Senior Associate Director here at Career Development and liaison to the D’Amore McKim School of Business. She loves all things international, as well as all things Business.

Rekindle Your Motivation

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Motivation is key. It is what drives us to what we love, to be who we are, and to take on challenges. Without motivation, we would not be who we are today. There’s a certain drive that exists deep inside of us that powers our everyday actions and decisions. That’s motivation.

It might be something as simple as a motivational poster or a Post-it note telling you to keep it up. Nonetheless, it keeps you going. I’m a person who needs motivation to keep going. When life gets rough, it’s what makes me do what I love. Whether I’m stressed from exams or an extremely busy day at work, I stay motivated, holding my head up high with passion in my eyes.

Here’s some ways to stay motivated and keep going:

Notes. Write something cheesy on a Post-it and put it at your desk or on your computer. It seems so silly, but it really does keep you motivated, and more importantly on task!

Music. There’s something great about an upbeat playlist. The quick beats and catchiness of it lets you enjoyably power through that stack of work. There’s no point in doing work if you don’t love it. Put on some tunes that you like; that alone will motivate you.

Treat yourself. Tell yourself after completing a certain amount of work that you’ll get a reward. It might be a break, a walk outside, or some candy. Regardless of what is, it’ll motivate you to get through the work you have set to do. It’ll also break down a huge stack of work into smaller, more manageable stacks. Two birds with one stone: tackle stress by reducing workload and provide a reward as motivation to get it done. Even better: it works.

Motivation is different for everyone, so take some time to find what drives you. Find a passion and work towards it. Set some time aside for yourself to discover your personal motivational factors and incorporate those into your life.

Power through.

Colette Biro is a 3rd year Biology and Mathematics major with a minor in Chemistry. She is currently on her first co-op in a biology lab at Northeastern working on transgenerational immunity in social insects. Colette is passionate about running, November Project and being a Husky Ambassador. Feel free to reach out to her at biro.c@husky.neu.edu.

Learning to Unplug

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When you work in social media, public relations, and marketing, you’re probably glued to some device at all times. You could make the same statement for just about any field or person these days, too. Whether it’s Twitter, Instagram, Gmail, or random blogs, I feel like I’m always checking something, scrolling through something, or reading something. There are, of course, benefits to my addiction, but sometimes it is best to live life (or at least a couple days) unplugged.

Last week, my laptop charger broke and I was without a laptop until I could find a replacement. I did still have my phone in hand, but ridding myself of one large screen for a few days was, truth be told, a relief. I find myself immersed in my computer and smartphone sometimes, and I don’t like it. When my laptop is open or nearby, I feel like I have to be working. There is always something to work on. The irony is that despite always feeling like I have to work, I also feel constantly distracted when working online. One BuzzFeed article here, an acquaintance’s Facebook status there.. It’s always sucking you in.

In addition to going laptop-free for a week, I also tried turning off my phone or leaving it behind for hours at a time. For me, this is a bold move, but something I felt I needed to try.

So, what did I discover from my unplugged hours? I was calmer. At first, I felt uneasy.. What if somebody needs to get ahold of me? But those thoughts faded to ones of contentness. Being a highly anxious person, this calmness helped me to enjoy time with friends rather than being on edge and let my mind settle down after a long day rather than stay in a heightened, overthinking state. I also found that my time spent working or online later were much more productive. No longer was I clicking link after link on Twitter (okay, maybe one BuzzFeed article..), but I felt the urgency of the task at hand.

It may not be feasible to go every day unplugged, but when the weather is nice or your mind is too cluttered, it’s nice to take a breather from technology.

Why I Believe in Risk-Taking

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I believe in adventures, risk-taking, and doing the things that scare me. And, I believe that I’m the person I am today because of these beliefs. I constantly thank my 15-year old self, who forced her parents to let her do community development work in rural Paraguay for a summer. Had my teenage self not been determined to go on her adventure, to take that leap of faith, would I be in the place I am now? Would I be going in the same direction, both personally and professionally? Most definitely not. One great adventure can change your entire path- and I think we all deserve to give ourselves at least one great adventure.

Risks are meant to be taken, and sometimes, your life plan is supposed to be a little scary. Leaving your comfort zone is what will make you stronger and smarter, both in personal and professional capacities.

So, I ask you to think of what would scare you the most. Moving to the other side of the world? Working for a giant, multi-million dollar company? Being your own boss? Switching academic tracks completely? Figure out what would give you the adrenaline rush and the butterflies- and do it. Your future self will thank you. Here are some of my own breakthroughs and life lessons, through my adventures over the last few years.

I learned that I could work professionally in another language while running youth development programs in Costa Rican national parks. This was a complete breakthrough, which now has me considering pursuing my masters degree in Latin America. Had I not taken the risk of accepting a job with extremely technical aspects, with coworkers who had little to no English, I wouldn’t have realized my full potential with languages, whether that be Spanish, or now, Portuguese.

I got over my fear of math in a small nonprofit organization’s office in Cape Town, South Africa. “Fear of math” sounds like quite a petty and small thing when I say it out loud, but trust me, it was a fear. I avoided any kind of statistics work at all costs, until the organization of my dreams offered me an internship with Monitoring and Evaluation. I almost said no- M & E is all numbers. But instead, I said yes, and worked five days a week with number crunching and analyzing galore. “Fear of math” is a thing of the past.

I learned the importance of pursuing challenges at Northeastern University. I have been pushed to all limits while at this beautiful university and abroad, but I have also learned that if I want to go beyond these limits, I need to do it myself. No one knows your greatest fears but you- and no one can go ahead and take that risk but you.

Daniella is a sophomore at Northeastern with a combined major in Human Services and International Affairs, and a minor in Spanish. She is currently on her first co-op working for a youth development nonprofit organization in Cape Town, South Africa. Daniella is passionate about social change, travel, and good food- and can’t wait to see what Africa has to offer her both professionally and personally. Email her at emami.d@husky.neu.edu. Look for Daniella’s posts every other Tuesday.

“I have a strict learning policy…”

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I jumped at the opportunity. One of my cousins approached me quite late on a Saturday night. I had class early the next morning into the afternoon. Originally, I was planning on calling it quits and cozying up to a nice book.

“I’m going with my DJ to a club in Sathorn, I’m leaving at 10:30. I can pick you up and we’ll drive over.”

I looked down at my watch. That was only less than an hour away. I looked back up at my cousin, and without hesitation offered him an emphatic yes. Maybe it was the way he proclaimed the company he was going with as his – the words my DJ, made the whole thing a bit more impressive. Whatever I was getting myself into, I was more than happy to reward myself after a long week.

When the time came, I jumped in his car and off we went to pick-up his DJ. The entire way there we had a conversation of how he got into managing. These concepts were foreign to me. They didn’t exactly agree with how I had imagined the entire industry. I simply thought that the function of managing was just to assemble a string of shows held together by promoters, and to head social media campaigns that used bold graphics that no one actually read or paid attention to. Managing, he told me, was a way of harnessing and nurturing talent. The conversation was an honest look into a love unrelated to his work he did as a coder, although, he did seem to love that too.

Upon our arrival we were escorted to an elevator that was set for the 39th floor. After a brief security check, a hostess brought us to the where the main act was already on stage. After ordering a couple of drinks at the bar, we situated ourselves at a table where we got a clear view of the performers.

I examined the surroundings and found that most if not all of the patrons of the club were non-Thai nationals. Australians, Americans, Africans, Europeans, Britons, every type of accent, every type of dress, every type of mannerism could be observed at this venue but Thai people seemed to be absent. It was a curious observation, and so I pocketed the questions that I had begun to form for later. What was even more perplexing to me was the way the DJ and her partner listened to the performers on stage. There was no dancing, and contrary to the way I had experienced clubs prior, they didn’t seem to be enjoying themselves. Instead, they stood stoic, almost expressionless.

It was 3am and the set was near its finish. The DJ turned to us and signaled for our departure. We gathered and we exchanged reviews of the performance. I was pleased. It was apparent however, that the DJ and her partner had their critiques.

On the way back to their apartment a cascade of ideas streamed from the duo and my cousin. It was indiscernible to me, the whole situation. I couldn’t clearly apprehend what was being said. It was in Thai, the conversation, yes, but even so the way in which these words were said confused me. They analyzed the night, it seemed.

“I have a strict learning policy,” my cousin said to me as they exited the car.

“I take them to these kinds of things at least once a week. It’s how we learn new techniques. Not a lot of DJs in Thailand do it, I don’t think. It’s fun. It is very important we improve and learn to improve.”

Interesting. When he offered to take me out earlier in the night, this was the last thing I thought I’d be left with – this idea of learning, at least, in this environment. To me, it was a creative and exotic way to learn. It made sense in other contexts, though. There was no disconnect for me when I had made the comparison to a professional basketball, or soccer player. Aspiring athletes watch and re-watch film. They ask the questions others are afraid to ask. They offer the answers others are afraid to answer. If you want to improve, you immerse yourself in the culture, the language…you familiarize yourself and drown in wells of knowledge related to your craft. You observe others, eager for the same fruits. These things, I already knew. I’ve heard this same song for years and years, especially leaving high school and into university.

I laid in bed and asked myself if I had actually been applying these modules and others that had up until that point been stowed away on a dusty shelf in my brain. I felt my co-op moving sluggishly. It didn’t have the pace that I expected it to have. I didn’t feel like I was doing enough. This dissatisfaction though, wasn’t due to my colleagues or supervisor. It was my own doing. I wasn’t asking the questions I needed to ask. I wasn’t offering answers to the questions that needed answers. I was being too passive.

The following week, I came prepared. Rejuvenated from the experience at the club and in the car, I felt…good. As my teammates would say, it was time to ‘eat’. I wasn’t alone at the proverbial dinner table either. This newfound confidence, stemming from a bit of introspection put me in the right place, in front of the right people.

John is a 4th year health sciences student at The Bouvé College of Health Sciences. With a nose for exploration and travel, John will be writing from Southeast Asia about his experiences on co-op in Surin and Bangkok, Thailand. There, he’ll be volunteering in community clinics, in addition to conducting public health research at Chulalongkorn University. Follow his adventures on Instagram: johnsirisuth.