Many North­eastern stu­dents have just begun their first co-​​op. To help them suc­ceed, we asked a handful of cur­rent North­eastern stu­dents who are co-​​op vet­erans to share some work­place wisdom.

Rose Leopold, SSH’17
Worked on co-​​op at the U.S. Embassy in Ecuador (Read more about her co-​​op here.)
Rose Leopold
The biggest piece of advice I can give to any stu­dent about to go on co-​​op, whether it is their first or third co-​​op, is to take advan­tage of all the oppor­tu­ni­ties that come your way. This is espe­cially rel­e­vant if you are co-​​oping out­side of Boston and learning a new city in addi­tion to a new job. Say ‘yes’ to trips that will let you explore your new home. Try new things, even if those oppor­tu­ni­ties are ones you would usu­ally stay away from back home. Step out of your com­fort zone. You’ll be happy you did—and at the very least, you’ll end up with a good story.

Nathan Van­Ben­schoten, E’17
Worked on co-​​op at Google
NathanVanBenschoten300Don’t be afraid to ques­tion the status quo. One of the most valu­able assets you can bring to an employer is a crit­ical eye and a fresh per­spec­tive. So when begin­ning a new co-​​op, listen closely, but don’t hes­i­tate to ques­tion what you hear.

Camille Serelus, SSH’16
Worked on co-​​op at Scal­abrini, a non­profit in Cape Town, South Africa
CamilleSerelus300
Advice about work: Take your time in building rela­tion­ships with your co-​​workers, espe­cially your super­vi­sors. You will be spending the majority of your time with them for the next six months, so those rela­tion­ships can really make or break your time abroad.

Advice about your social life: Have fun. Explore the country and cul­ture you’re in. Travel while you’re abroad, eat the food, and make friends with the locals. But please, please, please be wise and street smart.

Ana Tar­betsky, SSH’16
Worked on co-​​op at the Uni­ver­sity of New South Wales in Aus­tralia (Read more about her co-​​op here.)

Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

Photo by Adam Glanzman/​Northeastern University

To someone going on their first co-​​op, I highly advise being open to learning and trying new things. In every posi­tion there is room for growth and improve­ment. If your super­visor asks you to try some­thing new, say ‘yes.’ If you have an interest in some­thing you’ve never tried, ask to get involved. If you fail, try again.

John Sirisuth, BHS’16
Worked on co-​​op in Thai­land at the Chu­la­longkorn Uni­ver­sity in Bangkok (Read more about his co-​​op here.)

Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

Photo by Adam Glanzman/​Northeastern University

Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of ques­tions. Imagine your­self in the space as a pro­fes­sional, but approach every day with the work ethic of an intern. Embed your­self in the net­work, place a high value on your co-​​workers, and make your co-​​op count.

Nick Dowmon, E’16
Worked on co-​​op in Brazil at CPFL Energia (Read more about his co-​​op here.)

Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

Photo by Adam Glanzman/​Northeastern University

One of the most impor­tant things to remember when going out on your first co-​​op is to be friendly with your co-​​workers. Try not to be too ner­vous or rigid with the people you are working with. Becoming friends with co-​​workers, first and fore­most, will allow you to enjoy going to work every day, but it will also help you in the future when you are strug­gling and need help at work, or when you need an advo­cate while looking later on for co-​​ops or even full-​​time jobs.