Northeastern’s Special Sauce in Southeast Asia!

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The Global Employer Relations Team (which is a unit within the Co-op and Career Development department) recently trekked to Thailand and Vietnam to meet with prospective employers to recruit and create job opportunities for all students so they are able to participate in Global Co-op experiences. The trip was a great success!  The employers our team visited were well aware and familiar with Northeastern, which shows that we truly are a global institution! Job opportunities were developed and more are being nurtured.  Building these opportunities for Northeastern students take a lot of time to cultivate, sometimes it can be up to two years before an employer is fully engaged and ready to come on board as a co-op employer.


So, now that you have a little insider information to how much effort and time goes into developing co-op relationships, I would like to share my exciting travels to Southeast Asia and what I experienced!  Here are a few highlights!


Wow!  What an amazing city.  This is a robust location with great visibility for Northeastern and new co-op opportunities (you can check out jobs in NUcareers.)  Pictured above is my visit to a start-up company in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where we have a co-op student from D’Amore-McKim starting his job in January 2017.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
I met with the President of Cotecco Construction, who happens to be an NU parent too! Cotecco is the largest construction company in the region. With a growing economy and ambitious workforce, Vietnam is a very desirable destination and has been for a couple years now.  Northeastern is well represented at Cotecco and here we are with the NU parent, NU alumnus, and current D’Amore-McKim co-op student.

Top Ten Reasons to Consider a Co-op in Southeast Asia:

  1. Incredible co-op and home country opportunities AND no language requirements (English speaking country)
  2. Many employers provide a small stipend and offer free lunch (with a chef on staff too)
  3. The dollar goes a long way – which is great for living expenses and traveling opportunities
  4. Robust Northeastern Alumni Communities in Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi
  5. Multinationals are there (leverage your US co-op with offices here such as  Reebok Vietnam or Wunderman Thailand to name a few examples)
  6. Amazing cultural experience
  7. Build your resume and boost your LinkedIn profile
  8. Pad Thai and Spring Rolls (and special sauce)
  9. Innovative spirit
  10. The People! The People!

Final Thoughts
It is our brilliant student population (you!) and diversity across our institution that is the main driver of why prospective employers quickly become engaged in the co-op program.  The co-op program is our special sauce, allowing employers to attract top talent early in the recruiting pipeline process.  For this reason, we have selected ten partners to participate in the February 2017 Career Fair, as part of a new Global Corner.  So mark your calendar for February 2, 12Pm to 4PM!  Be sure to introduce yourself to these employers and add Southeast Asia to your co-op bucket list!

Alane De Luca oversees the Global Employer Relations team and global lead-generation initiatives within Career Development and Cooperative Education.  She comes to Northeastern with 25+ years of experience working in the international education arena.  Alane’s passion for global experiential learning began when she was a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa, where she worked alongside NGO’s and native Senegalese in rural parts of northern Senegal.  Upon returning to the states, she assumed a position funded by the United States Agency for International Development focusing on initiatives set forth by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation and administered at Northeastern.  She also has experience directing global and experiential learning programs within academia at Merrimack College, Salem State University, Suffolk University Law School, and Saint Anselm College.  She is a dual citizen of Italy, holds an M.Ed. from Northeastern University and a B.A. from The College of the Holy Cross.


Innovation is Often Found in the “In-Between”

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heeling-flowers-2In a society where new ideas, new businesses, and new projects appear every day, it’s hard to be unique. It’s hard to create something that is innovative, has value, and will last longer than the current news cycle. It’s even harder still to create something that meets those criteria AND will make you money. I can’t speak much to the money piece yet, as getting a stipend from the government to go to school puts earning additional income in a gray area. But I can share a few of the projects I’ve started and how I was able to find that innovative space and create something that will last.

The first project I started is called Heeling Flowers. The goal of Heeling Flowers is to repurpose flowers from weddings and other events that normally get thrown away and deliver bouquets made from those flowers to patients at UNC Hospitals. (If you’re thinking to yourself, “weird, she spelled healing wrong twice in a row,” it wasn’t a mistake. The name is a nod to both the healing power of unexpected flowers during a stressful time, and UNC’s mascot the Tarheels.) I love this project because it fills two gaps without a whole lot of effort or cost. First, weddings and big events are amazing but they are also a TON of work and once the bridal party or planning committee has made it through the big event, they have to deal with everything that is left over. We solve that problem by coming to pick up the flowers at the end of the wedding or event. People are so grateful that we take extra work off their hands and prevent perfectly good flowers from being wasted. In addition, being in the hospital is a stressful time no matter the reason. We deliver the flowers to Volunteer Services, which already has a system in place to get flowers to the patients who need them most. I realize that flowers won’t solve any of the problems that patients have, but if the small kindness of anonymous flowers brightens their day even a little bit, then we have accomplished our goal.

soncThe second project is a Facebook community I recently created called Scientists of North Carolina. This project was inspired by Humans of New York, which has consistently shown the power of stories to connect people from all walks of life. The goal of Scientists of North Carolina is to humanize scientists to wider communities. When people think of a scientist, the vast majority of them think of Albert Einstein and many can’t name a single living scientist, much less a female one. I want to change the perception of who a scientist is by sharing the diversity that exists in science but is unknown to most. I hope to accomplish this by sharing stories from women, minorities, and others who have chosen science as their profession but don’t fit the scientist stereotype. My hope is that this project will encourage students who maybe hadn’t considered a career in science, and will convey to adults that they have more in common with the scientists in their community than they think.

hydrangeasI share these two projects to show you that, while vastly different, they were created the same way. Both take systems that already exist (Volunteer Services flower delivery, and sharing photos/stories in a Facebook community) and apply them to new situations. Often great ideas are ones that take preexisting systems and figure out how to improve them or use them in a new way. In addition, using something that already exists is great because it means someone else worked out a lot of the kinks for you. That way you can focus on the logistics of the innovative portion of the project instead of starting from the bottom.

This is not to say that projects created entirely from scratch are any less valuable, or have any less chance of success. I mainly aim to share that from my experience the easiest way to create something new and lasting is to put existing ideas together that haven’t been combined before. I encourage you to start thinking about your own life. Are there areas that seem completely unrelated but could be combined to create something new? Are there needs to be filled where you can create something original to fill them? Companies are always looking for people who can accomplish their goals in more efficient, innovative ways and I think finding those gaps and filling them gets easier with practice. The more you can demonstrate that skill with tangible creations, the more marketable you will be for whatever career you choose. So, what are you waiting for?

Katie Stember is a Northeastern Alumni (Class of ’13) who was very involved with Husky Ambassadors as a student. She is currently a Ph.D. student in Biomedical Sciences at UNC Chapel Hill studying an autoimmune disease called ANCA Vasculitis. She’s a proud cat mom and in her free time does volunteer photography for a local animal shelter. Feel free to contact her at

5 Steps to Creating a Self-Developed Co-op!

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Self-developing your own co-op might be more time consuming than the more common co-ops offered through Northeastern. You need to do a significant amount of research and reach out to companies. This experience, however, will be very rewarding, as it will be based on your academic and professional interests and goals. I have always been very passionate about working with children and in the field of social services, and therefore developed my own co-op, working as a Legal Guardian in Germany in Spring 2016. Here are the steps I took. I recommend keeping the following in mind when finding and developing your next co-op!

1. Inform your Co-op Coordinator about your interest in pursuing a self-developed co-op:

When thinking about your internship/co-op, you need to meet with your co-op advisor and discuss all the possibilities Northeastern already has to offer. Some things you need to keep in mind:

  • Areas of interest and passion
  • Location (in-state, out-of-state, or global)
  • Workplace environment
  • Finances (budget)

2. Start contacting potential companies and employers:

It is important to start contacting companies you are interested in as soon as possible. Since you have to do a lot of work yourself, you need to be very organized and plan your deadlines appropriately. There are some companies that are not  familiar with the co-op program that Northeastern has and the requirements for both the student and the employer. Here are the criteria the employer needs to be aware of when hiring and working with a co-op student:

  • co-op duration is typically 6 months in length
  • co-ops are typically paid a wage (determined by the employer)
  • The student is expected to work at least 35 hours per week
  • self-developed co-ops need to be approved and vetted through the co-op advisor to ensure the co-op is meeting Northeastern standards

3. Interviews:

Like with any other internship/co-op opportunity, you will most likely be asked to have an interview with the employer. This can be in the form of an in-person meeting, via Skype, by phone or email. It is very important to prepare for this in advance and to become familiar with the company you are interviewing for.

4. Confirm your position with your co-op coordinator and employer:

Students must confirm their co-op positions with their co-op  coordinator to ensure the co-op is suitable for them and their program (major/concentration, etc.)


5.  Now, you are ready to start your exciting self-developed co-op!





Christina Zupanc is a 3rd year English major with a minor in International Affairs. She spent her first co-op in Germany working as a legal guardian. She enjoys traveling, reading and cooking. Email: