Logistics of International Co-op

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Last week, I was a panelist at a global co-op event held by GlobeMed. A lot of the questions directed toward the six of us (students who had co-oped in Uganda, Ghana, and South Africa) were logistical – what resources we used on campus, how we set up our living situation, how we chose our co-ops – so I thought I’d write about that since there might be some people who are curious about the application process itself.


Pursuing an international co-op was not as difficult as some people make it out to be. Instead of my college advisor, I worked closely with the advisors at the international co-op office, newly reformed as the “Global Experience Office,” since they were more familiar with the process of applying to international programs.

With most international experiences, it is a lot easier to work with what is called a provider. Providers are agencies that link volunteers with on-ground programs. Each site has a local coordinator, who sometimes becomes your host upon your arrival. In my program, I had a host family so I did not have to worry about food or accommodation for the entirety of my stay. As such, you do end up paying to volunteer, but the funds go toward your accommodation, placement into the program, and support from international coordinators. When I went to the international co-op office, I was given a long list of clinical-related programs through many different providers. I chose my provider based on affordability, type of work, and past reviews.

Choosing the country I wanted to work in was another ordeal. The provider I chose, Experiential Learning International, has sites in 28 countries, giving me plenty of options to choose from. I worked in a process of elimination. Growing up, I lived in six countries, mostly in Asia, so I decided that I wanted to visit another part of the world. I also wanted to avoid very developed areas that were similar to the US, so that eliminated Europe. I found that a lot of the Latin American countries required Spanish skills, so that was also off the table. What remained was Africa. South Africa was too developed for me – I wanted a very rustic and real experience. I also eliminated countries in West Africa due to the Ebola scare. So I was left with East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Kenya was on the US no-travel list due to unrest and occasional terrorism acts, so I decided against petitioning with Northeastern to attempt to go anyway. They do not speak much English in Tanzania, so I was finally left with Uganda. In hindsight, I am very happy with the choice I ended up making. Although I had no idea at the time, this co-op turned into the most eye-opening experience I’ve had yet and gave me opportunities to grow both personally and professionally.

I cannot recommend international co-op enough. Whether you choose the country before the work placement or vice versa, there is so much to learn from living and working in a place that is completely outside of your comfort zone. If you do decide to pursue an international experience, good luck and enjoy it!

Beyond the Green Line: San Francisco

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BEYOND THE GREEN LINE Beyond the Green Line is a blog series featured on the Northeastern University Career Development Blog, ‘The Works’.  Each post highlights a major city and gives you an inside look at the local food, culture, music scene, the industries that are thriving there, and some current job openings in the area. 

BGL-seatleskyDID YOU KNOW that several big cities across the country recently saw a huge uptick in their numbers of young college-educated professionals? Did you know that San Francisco was number 1 on Forbes list of America’s 20 Best Cities for Young Professionals in 2016?  Also, there are over 30 Fortune 500 companies in the San Francisco Bay Area. You may have heard of some of them: Apple; Facebook; Netflix; and Cisco to name a few.  Some other big employers in the area? FitBit, Uber, Airbnb, Workday, Zenefits and Google to name a few.  

It’s exciting to see also that the labor market is doing well — in the last year, there were 41,000 new jobs created in San Fran and San Mateo counties.  And in case you didn’t know, Northeastern students aren’t new to the Bay Area.  Since 2015 alone, over 320 students have had co-ops there.  As a university, we’ve got a footprint in the area, having recently opened a Silicon Valley hub which offers graduate classes and potential for experiential education opportunities in collaboration with San Jose company, IDT.  All this, AND there’s a Northern California alumni community for your networking convenience.

Northeastern Alum Greg Skloot, VP of Growth at Netpulse in San Fran, conveyed his love for the area, saying:

“San Francisco is an incredible place to come after graduation. It is the epicenter of technology innovation and entrepreneurship. From small startups to the most successful tech companies in the world like Google, there is something here for everyone.”

Why else do students go there? See for yourself…

Food and Drink

  • Dishes created in San Fran — The Joe’s Special from Original Joe’s; Hangtown Fry
  • Additional Local food delights: Dungeness Crab; Sourdough bread; food from Chinatown
  • Want some history? Anchor Brewing Company prides itself on being America’s first and oldest craft brewery.


  • Eclectic mix of architecture and beautiful landmarks including Golden Gate Bridge; Fisherman’s Wharf; San Francisco Chinatown — the largest Chinatown outside of Asia
  • San Francisco International Film Festival — one of the longest running film festivals in the Americas — 2wks; 200 films from 50 countries; 70,000 attendees
  • SF Sketchfest — where you’ll see performers from SNL, the Simpsons, Arrested Development, etc.
  • San Francisco Opera Company is 180 years old and the second largest opera company in the country

View at Bernal HillActivities

  • Avid sports fan? Take your pick: San Francisco 49’ers or Giants; Oakland A’s or Raiders; and San Jose Sharks
  • Feeling outdoorsy? The weather makes it easy to be outside and be active — surf at Ocean Beach; kayak to Angel Island for some great trails; and/or try hang-gliding at Fort Funston
  • Dogs — always wanted one? San Fran LOVES them and people are out and about with their pups at all hours of the day
  • Bay to Breakers — a 12k race that engages and entertains locals – costumes are encouraged for runners!

Pier 39

Job Opportunities – log into NUcareers through your MYNEU to apply!

Airbnb – Data Visualization Specialist; SWE, Android

Cisco Systems – Hardware Engineer; Project Specialist; Big Data Engineer; Business Analyst

Facebook – Content Writer, Community Operations; Search Ranking Specialist

Fitbit – Firmware Engineer; SWE – Android; SWE – iOS

Google – Cloud Program Manager; Programmatic Media Planning & Sourcing Mgr

Uber – Global Data Analyst; GIS Specialist; App Security

Salesforce – Marketing Strategy Analyst; Software Engineer, Release Tools

Twitch – Corporate Recruiter; Creative Associate, Content Evaluation; Systems Engineer;

NetPulse – Associate Mobile App Producer; Mobile Production Designer; Account Manager


NUcareers job portal

Co-op Connections – info on housing, transportation, Northeastern networking events in SF

Alumni Relations Northern California Community


Coming up Next Week– Beyond the Green Line – New York City

We want your feedback!

Feel free to leave us a comment if there’s anything we’ve missed or particular cities you’d like us to profile.  Also, we’ll let you know in each post the next city we’ll be profiling, so you can email us photos of you in that area to potentially be included in the post! Send over your NYC photos now!


This post was authored by Melissa Croteau. Melissa is an Assistant Director of Employer Relations at Northeastern University where she focuses on initiating new and broadening existing employer relationships with a goal of increased full time, internship and co-op hiring of students as well as greater employer engagement within the broader Northeastern community.  She just celebrated 5 years of working at Northeastern where she also earned her Master’s in Higher Education Administration in 2013.  When she’s not chatting up employers, she enjoys singing in a 100-person choral group, hiking, and exploring the MFA.

Photos submitted courtesy of Nicole Darrough, San Francisco Co-op Connector and 4th Year marketing student currently on co-op at Netpulse.

Nicole is a student co-oping at Netpulse. She loves traveling, photography, fitness, and anything outdoors. More importantly, She has danced with Ellen Degeneres (forever in my bio). Although she is from San Diego, this is her first time being in San Francisco, and is super excited to explore it!



BTGL SF Sources:

San Francisco Employment Development Dept. Labor Mkt Info Division







New Blog Series Announcement: Beyond the Green Line

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BGL-seatleskyDid you know that several big cities across the country recently saw a huge uptick in their numbers of young college-educated professionals? Did you know that San Francisco was number 1 on Forbes list of America’s 20 Best Cities for Young Professionals in 2016?

Stay tuned on Tuesday for the debut of Beyond the Green Line (BTGL), a new blog series featured on the Northeastern University Career Development Blog, ‘The Works’.  In it, we’ll highlight a particular metropolitan region outside Boston and give you an inside look at the local food and music scene, fun things to do, and the industries that are thriving in the area.  We’ll also throw in some current job postings for you to consider. And Tuesday, we’re looking at the San Francisco Bay Area.

We’ll be needing your help too. After each Beyond the Green Line post, we’ll let you know what area we’ll be highlighting next so you can send us your photos of that area whether you’ve co-op’ed there or are from there originally. If you’re lucky, we’ll include your picture in the post! And of course, let us know if there are particular metropolitan areas you want to know more about – we’ll add them to our list for future posts!