Some countries just call to you…

image taken by John D Carnessiotis via Flickr

image taken by John D Carnessiotis via Flickr

This guest post was written by Ellen Zold Goldman, Associate Director of Career Development and lover of anything international.

Some countries just call to you. It’s hard to explain but if you’ve experienced that one dialogue that you couldn’t get out of your head, or a study abroad or international co-op and wished you could turn right back around and re-board the plane, then you know what I mean.

That’s what it was like for me going to Greece. It started as a tourist visit and then I landed a short-term professional gig. I went there month three of a three-month overseas adventure, having picked three countries I wanted to see ‘before I settled down, became boring, and couldn’t ever travel because I held a professional job’. I spent one month in Israel making a video on a program at the Jerusalem Cinamateque, and got a job offer I turned down. One month in Italy (well, that was just plain decadent travel with two friends), and then this life-changing month in Greece. I made so many Greek friends; it was the trip of a lifetime and I have no regrets. It rained in Greece the day I went home. They said Greece was crying for me.

My mission was to save enough to go back and do something professional. I networked like crazy with anyone in the Boston area who would talk to me about Greece. You owned a restaurant- great? You were a professor at a college I Didn’t Go To—awesome. I worked a list of American Companies in Greece. Networking paid off and I landed a gig with a professor from another college who was starting a new non-profit. My bags were practically packed. Trip Two, The Professional Overseas Adventure…

I boarded the plane – no looking back. I stayed with Greek friends, and by then I had a Greek boyfriend. Broke up with said boyfriend and learned about what I would miss in the U.S. (family, and definitely same day dry cleaning). I talked Greek politics (I love politics) and was blessed on New Year’s Day by a Greek Priest. I traveled with my Greek gal pals (woman power!) and worked every day. I learned about real Greek life.

My contract gig was ending with the non-profit. While I had hoped it would lead to a full-time position, it really was a short-term gig. My time was winding down.

I pounded the pavement—Got some offers to teach English and a soft offer to work in a travel agency, but in the end I decided to go back home. I came back full of priceless adventures and also saw that my friends were moving onto professional positions, grad school and I felt that if it were meant to be, I’d find a way to return to Greece. I did go back after I was working and it is still the place that makes my heart sing.

Was the whole thing worth it? YES. I’d do that again in a New York second.

What did I learn?  A LOT. Working at the non-profit and living in Greece with my friends gave me the best glimpse into authentic Greek Life (I was there in January-not during tourist time). I went out with friends Friday nights, sang Greek songs in the car and vacationed where they vacationed. I lived, ate, and breathed Greece. I was meant to be in Greece. I also had the worst case of reverse culture shock coming home. I cried all the way home—and I do mean for all 6 hours. I learned that I wanted to blend my love of culture with education professionally. As a result, I began working for International Co-op, specifically with Americans going overseas to Australia, and then worked for 9 ½ years with international students on preparing them to work in the U.S.

The small influences—well, I learned how to make Nescafe Frappe just the way I like it. The big influences—my passion for working with international students and first generation Americans has never left me. I’ve directed a Study Abroad program, and work in Career Services where I help create international student programming. My passion for this has stayed with me for the last 15 years. I never get tired of it. Even on a bad day.

While I decided not to live in Greece permanently, I hope to have a little apartment there one day and retire there- or at least go back and forth. Sorry to folks who want to retire in FL; it’s just not the same. Greece is, after all, my favorite place on earth.

Everyone deserves their own grand adventure. I hope you create an amazing adventure for yourself, even if it does take two trips. 

Ellen Zold Goldman is Associate Director at Career Development. She’s worked on a short-term gig at a non-profit in Greece, has coordinated an international co-op exchange program in Australia, directed study abroad at another university, loves international students, and as you can probably tell, she has a passion for anything international.

A Glimpse at Dialogue of Civilizations: Peru

http://girlgonegallivanting.com/loving-lima/

http://girlgonegallivanting.com/loving-lima/

This post was written by Emily Brown, a regular contributor to The Works and a graduate student in the College Student Development and Counseling program at Northeastern University. She is also a Career Development Intern.

In the Career Development office I often hear the phrase “Dialogue trips” being thrown around. But what are they exactly? Yanet Monica Canavan provided some insight on the program below.

Yanet Monica Canavan is a teacher of Spanish at Northeastern and the faculty leader for Dialogue of Civilizations trips to her native country of Peru. She has extensive experience teaching Spanish including teaching Spanish Literature to undergraduate and graduate students at the private university, “Inca Garcilazo de La Vega” in Lima, Peru, teaching Medical Spanish for the staff of Massachusetts General Hospital and has even taught private Spanish classes to former Boston Red Sox Manager, Terry Francona. Monica will be leading her third immersion class (of 32 students) to Peru in Summer 1 2014.

What exactly is a Dialogue of Civilizations?

Open to Northeastern University students of any major, the Dialogue of Civilizations is a series of “global student exchanges” between students at Northeastern University and students around the world. The goal of each program is (a) to connect students with their peers in different national, cultural, political, and social environments and (b) to provide students with a “global experience” that builds upon and enhances their academic studies and training in Boston.

Where in Peru does the Dialogue take place?

Peru Dialogue of Civilization is a Spanish immersion program that will take place at a language center in Lima and at a Language School in Cuzco, which is the capital of the Inca empire.

What kind of language instruction is provided on the trip?

The Spanish immersion program will offer intensive Spanish language training to solidify the students’ knowledge of Spanish grammar and teach them to speak the language fluently. The five week course includes four hours per day of instruction focusing on: developing all of the four language skills (speaking, writing, listening and reading). Students from Northeastern will have Peruvian language partners and will experience life in Peru as local Peruvians. Students will stay with Peruvian guest families, learning their culture and using the Spanish language in their day-to-day activities.

How will students experience the culture of Peru?

Instruction includes cultural visits to museums, cathedrals, and the like and activities such as dining at fine restaurants and experiencing Lima’s and Cuzco’s night life. It is an exciting way to experience another culture’s people, ideas, customs and beliefs. Students will sample all that the cities of Lima and Cuzco have to offer and will complete a service project (in a Language School or in the Air Force School) in which they will help Peruvian students to practice speaking English and also explain to them a typical day in the life of a American college student.

What indicates to you that these Dialogue trips are successful?

The reputation of NEU has grown in Peru as a result of the establishment of this cultural exchange. The Peru Dialogue of Civilization (DOC) program provided the students with an immersed experience in a safe and secure manner planning different activities during the whole day. Students were under my supervision interacting with locals, learning and acquiring the Spanish language and Peruvian culture. Students have learned about Peruvian idiosyncrasy, customs and beliefs and have gotten to know how local Peruvians think and act.  The full immersion helped students to be more involved in the Peruvian culture.

Emily Brown is a Career Development intern and a graduate student in Northeastern’s College Student Development and Counseling Program. She is a lifelong Bostonian interested in the integration of social media into the professional realm.  Contact her at e.brown@neu.edu.

How One International Student Successfully Landed a Job in the US

Northeastern is special because it has a large number of international students that enrich the culture of and provide a global perspective to our campus.  However, international students sometimes express anxiety about the US job search process. “If I want to stay in the US post-graduation, what should I do to prepare and be successful in the US job search?”, is a question I consistently hear from international students.  I had the opportunity to sit down with a Northeastern alum, Henry Nsang, who hails from Cameroon, Africa, to provide insight and advice on how to successfully land a US position as an international student.  He received his BS in civil engineering and MS in Environmental engineering in 2010 and 2013, respectively, and gained employment from Boston-based construction management and consulting firm, Janey.

source: www.cbsnews.com

source: www.cbsnews.com

What do you do in your current position?

I am a project engineer at Janey, which means that I basically do a little bit of everything.  Primarily, I am in charge of cost analysis and project control.  I guess the best word to use that sums up everything I do is construction management.

How did you get that position?

Networking. I cannot emphasize networking more—make sure you leverage your network and be truthful about your international student status.  This will save the company and you a lot of time if you are just upfront about it. For my current position, Richard Harris, an assistant dean in the College of Engineering who I was able to forge a relationship with, knows my current boss. I checked out the company and was interested in it, so I applied and Mr. Harris was able to put in a good word for me.  I had three interviews with the company, and I was very open about my long-term and short-term goals.  I know that I want to gain a couple years of work experience here and then go back to Cameroon, and I think they appreciated that I was up front about that.  My co-op experience was extremely helpful in my interview since I was able to talk about my work experience and how that directly applied to the position.  I could also show that I was adaptable, since I had a background participating in clubs that focused on different things, and I could show that I could manage competing priorities appropriately.   So, I would say that gaining experience, co-ops or internships, and being parts of groups and activities are extremely important for the job search process—the more people that can vouch for you and your work, the better.

When did you bring up your international student status?

I was very straightforward and brought it up in the first interview. Integrity is something that anyone would value.  Also, the delivery of your international status to the employer is important. Don’t express it as a burden.  If you present a problem, also address a solution to the problem.  For example, I get about two years of OPT as someone who studied a discipline in a STEM field, so I let my current company know that I do not need sponsorship for at least two years during the interview.  At the end of those two years, they would be able to determine if they liked my work enough to sponsor me for an H1B.

How many jobs did you apply to?

I probably sent out 300 applications. I know that is a large number, but I made sure that I was qualified for all the jobs I sent out.  I was also looking in areas outside of Boston, which added to my number of applications. I went on about twelve interviews from 7 different companies. I made sure that my LinkedIn profile was spiffed up.  I also worked with a recruiter from Aerotek who took my resume, interviewed me, and then started to send my resume out.  I found that I got interviews from larger companies who knew about sponsoring. The smaller companies may not be aware that you don’t have to sponsor international students from the beginning.  Some people are more informed than others about H1B and OPT.

What advice do you have for international students looking to get a job in the US?

Know exactly what you want and prepare yourself to the best of your ability.  Make sure that you have applied for OPT and paid the application fee.  You don’t want to get a job offer and then realize that you can’t actually work.  Exploit every option you have—LinkedIn was a big tool for me and really supplemented my resume.  If you fill it out right and appropriately, you could get job interviews from recruiters through LinkedIn. Also, don’t let a “no” stop you.  Sometimes you get rejections, but you shouldn’t let that stop you. A rejection is just a means to an end and part of the entire process.   Make sure that you continue to send out applications, and that you match their skill set and what they’re looking for.

Ashley LoBue is a Career Advisor at Northeastern Career Development.  A Boston College graduate, Ashley has over 3 years of experience working in higher education and is a proponent for international and experiential education.

Tips for the International Job Search from the International Guru

photo from http://www.visassimply.com/work-abroad

photo from http://www.visassimply.com/work-abroad

This guest post was written by Ellen Zold Goldman, Associate Director of Career Development and lover of all things international.

It’s officially International Month on the blog and a great time to think about escaping our snowy winter weather. If you have the travel bug, maybe working overseas is in your future. Check out these tips for creating your own work abroad experience in this first blog post focused on international topics.

Tips for the International Job Search

  • Learn about cultures you’re interested in. Don’t spend lots of time finding a job in a place you can’t warm up to…Develop friendships with international students. Make sure you like the sound of the language and the food.  A great resource is Transitions Abroad’s Living Abroad section.
  • Join Global Jobs Network, Expat & Global Worker, and other groups on LinkedIn. Join groups related both to your career interests and countries you’re interested in working. Follow the weekly digest and reach out to folks whose discussions interest to you.
  • Check out overseas Fellowships: That’s money you don’t have to pay back which underwrites your experience.
  • Use Going Global, by logging into Husky Career Link for great resources.
  • Network, Network, Network! With your co-op employers, your international student friend’s uncle, hair dresser, professors, Study Abroad adviser… with ANYONE who will listen to you. While you’re on co-op,  see if they have a location in a city you’re interested in. Remember speaking the language enables you to function professionally.
  • Join list-servs like Dev-X. List-servs are usually related to professional associations. It’s where they get the word out about jobs.
  • Considering Teaching Abroad? Check out the JET (Japan) program, CIEE, Search Associates, and Dave’s ESL Café, but buyer beware. Do your research to find a credible program.
  • The Peace Corps, may be a great option for you. We have the most amazing Peace Corps Employer-in-Residence. Make an appointment with her and stay tuned for her blog.
  • Connect with panelists at our events. Career Development has a program called Build an International Career on March 27th and Global Careers Forum in the fall. Network with the folks on the panel.
  • Consider going from local to international—work here first and get selected for an international assignment or transferred overseas.  Case in point: My friend worked in Kenya with International Rescue Committee after working for them in Boston. Another friend’s starting the finance department at his company’s new international location. Also check out Foreign Firms Operating in the U.S. through the library or amazon.com.
  • Go on an International Co-op, study abroad, or a dialogue. While you’re there do information interviews. I’ve done a lot of info interviews and usually folks love to share their advice. Remember- the ASK is NOT for a job, just for advice. Do your research ahead of time and know what you want to ask.
  • Many companies have joint ventures with local companies overseas. Some Consulates/Embassies have the list in their business section.
  • Go overseas to your target country for a vacation or visit and check out some of the “Meet Ups” (always go to public places—now I feel like I’m channeling my Mom). Connect with others while you’re there and network. Check out American Firms Operating in Foreign Countries through www.uniworldbp.com or through the library.  If you have a work permit, or EEU citizenship, you can always sign up to temp…but know it’s really hard. It’s a job to get a job, and even more so in another country—especially if you’re not a native speaker. Our international students here at Northeastern understand that very well as they’re going through it themselves in the US.
  • Check out the Advanced People Search on LinkedIn.com. You can type in Northeastern University for the school, click on your target country, and find alum overseas, or do info interviews with NU alum who have worked in your target country but who are in the Boston area.
  • Here are some additional sites. Just remember that while being on line can feel efficient, it’s rarely effective without networking. There are meta sites- like Monster with their world-wide gateway and local sites that specialize in specific countries. Remember to use your Northeastern Network, Husky Nation, and Husky Career Link. Check out: Riley Guide, Overseas Digest, 4 International Careers & Jobs, and InternationalJobs.com. There are also professionally-focused sites that offer jobs internationally, themed by type of position; for example: Econ-Jobs.com, and others.

Want to learn more?  Make an appointment with Career Development! Be sure to check out our International Job Guide. Also check out this article How to FInd Your First Paid Job Overseas.

Ellen Zold Goldman is Associate Director at Career Development. She’s worked on a short-term gig at a non-profit in Greece, has coordinated an international co-op exchange program in Australia, directed study abroad at another university, loves international students, and as you can probably tell, she has a passion for anything international.