Suc­cessful diplo­mats for the Depart­ment of State pos­sess empathy for for­eign cul­tures, curiosity for the unknown and vast knowl­edge of U.S. tra­di­tions, said senior For­eign Ser­vice officer Mary Thompson-​​Jones.

It helps to know a lot about America,” she told some 50 stu­dents at Northeastern’s first Global Careers Forum, many of whom are preparing to take the For­eign Ser­vice exam. “Don’t under­es­ti­mate the impor­tance of explaining America to the world.”

The forum, held last week at North­eastern, was designed to pre­pare stu­dents for global careers or expe­ri­en­tial learning oppor­tu­ni­ties. More than a dozen world­wide employers, including the Depart­ment of State, Mon­ster and Pfizer, Inc., intro­duced stu­dents to their orga­ni­za­tions, answered ques­tions and offered advice on working abroad.

We wanted stu­dents to have face time with employers in a non-​​interview set­ting,” said Maria Stein, Northeastern’s director of career ser­vices. “By under­standing which skills they need to be mar­ketable, they can begin to build a global career while they’re still here at Northeastern.”

Stu­dents who attended the forum — which is intended to become an annual event as part of Northeastern’s mis­sion as a global uni­ver­sity — were seeking full-​​time jobs, short-​​term vol­un­teer expe­ri­ences or global co-​​op opportunities.

Sopho­more polit­ical sci­ence major Ali Zelisko con­sid­ered the event a stepping-​​stone to her first co-​​op job. She was par­tic­u­larly inter­ested in learning more about WorldTeach, a non-​​governmental orga­ni­za­tion for stu­dents who want to teach Eng­lish, sci­ence or math to chil­dren in coun­tries such as Chile, China and Costa Rica.

I’m starting to look at co-​​op oppor­tu­ni­ties,” said Zelisko, who plans to com­plete a Dia­logue of Civ­i­liza­tions pro­gram in Europe next year. Her long-​​term goal is to prac­tice inter­na­tional or envi­ron­mental law.

As she put it, it’s not too early “to find out what’s available.”

Senior Patrick Durigan plans to take the For­eign Ser­vice exam, but he’s not sure where it will lead.

The forum gives me a chance to explore dif­ferent career paths,” said Durigan, a polit­ical sci­ence and inter­na­tional affairs double major who expressed interest in working in Algeria or Morocco. “Working abroad is an inter­esting way to learn about dif­ferent parts of the world and incor­po­rate what I’ve learned at Northeastern.”

Inter­na­tional employers praised North­eastern stu­dents for their career focus, moti­va­tion to suc­ceed and pas­sion for global issues.

North­eastern stu­dents have a clear idea of what they’re looking for pro­fes­sion­ally,” said Jonathan Hass, a human resource man­ager for United Planet, an inter­na­tional peace-​​building non­profit orga­ni­za­tion with vol­un­teers in more than 150 coun­tries. “They’re highly moti­vated, well-​​traveled and good communicators.”