BEHIND THE BULLET POINTS: The Hidden Career Advantages of Global Co-op

We’ve all come to love that Northeastern is synonymous with all things global and experiential!  Dialogues of Civilization, Study Abroad, the hallmark Global Co-op program, a large international student body, and many other avenues to name a few, are ways in which our students gain critical exposure to an array of foreign cultures.

Alane De Luca, Peace Corps Volunteer, photographed with two Senegalese friends

To be a university student in America offers a certain right of passage – to ‘find’ oneself – to be able to explore courses of interest, entertain various career options, and take advantage of the many co-curricular options often promoted on campuses across the country.  Now is the time to seize this luxury opportunity – to indulge oneself – to imagine the possible and realize the impossible!  The convergence of this moment offers students multiple of directions from which to chose their path – my advice – be open to the new and different.  I did just that when I joined the Peace Corps, and it was one of the most transformational experiences of my life.

Much discussion about the benefits of Global Co-op revolves around the unique work experiences students can expect and the interesting companies and organizations co-ops are offered.  What many students miss at first glance, is that a Global Co-op also offers invaluable learning opportunities and cultural exposure way beyond the 9 to 5.  It’s the day-to-day living in a foreign culture that cannot be assigned a price tag – the complete immersion into how business is conducted in another country, soaking up the language, and easily overlooked nuances of communication among people. These are the exact bullet points that are difficult to add to your CV, but that are so critical to self-realization. They might be hard to articulate, but so powerful once experienced.

Alane De Luca, Global Employer Relations, here with newly married couple in Indonesia

Here, for example, after a day of meetings, I was spontaneously invited to attend a weekend wedding (not your usual turn of events given that I did not know the family), and what an incredible chance to seize a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity that would be forever imprinted in my mind.  How incredible it would be for a student to have a similar experience – no, this activity is not necessarily resume-worthy, but as a Global Co-op and to absorb and reflect upon these types of cross-cultural interactions, is what will give you the ‘career advantage’ over your competition and indelible passion for diversity in years to come.

I am often struck by the smells of foreign lands.  Burning wood in Bali, simmering curry and saffron in India, barbecue steak in Argentina.  Who would think that something so powerful as the sense of smell would be part of a career blog?

Alane De Luca, Global Employer Relations, here talking to children in central India

 Exactly.  No one.  To my point, when a Global Co-op ventures to their work site across the globe, part of the journey is to relish in the new and different.  Global Co-ops are laser-focused on developing new skills and adapting to their new employer as they should (mapping out resume-worthy bullet points the key goal), however, it would be short-sighted to overlook the permeable grittiness of day-to-day life in a new environment.  Something as innocuous as smell can lend to deeper learning – an up-close-and-personal diary of sorts about society the economic advantages and challenges, the geo-political climate, and the societal norms, to name a few.  When I was in India, for example, I was metaphorically slapped in the face with economical inequities – one that brought me right back to my Peace Corps days.  Knowing now what I didn’t know then made me realize that I could not have put a price on how an experience from 25 years ago would prepare me for feeling so at home in a place surrounded by such rich and contrasting realities.

Sometimes the simplest things are the most profound.  Travel is an education – unbound by walls with endless horizons to take in.  My hope is that this blog will inspire one student (if not hundreds or even thousands) to take a chance on a Global Co-op.  A Global Co-op experience will put you on the front lines of the impossible, where strength is challenged and growth is inevitable.  Impressive CV’s are a common commodity in today’s economy – what will make you different?  How will you stand out?  What will be your story – one that can be told as if you are painting a picture – what impression will you leave your next employer, and employer after that, and so on and so on…?

Alane De Luca, Global Employer Relations, watches as boy and his mother buy ice cream on a busy street in Hong Kong

In closing, I will leave you with this – I was struck by seeing this simple ice cream truck on the side of a busy road in Hong Kong.  The little boy and his mother were rushing and hailing their hands to make the truck stop for them (just like we would do here).  What struck me is that I would not necessarily notice this seemingly traditional pastime of buying ice cream from an ice cream truck in my own neighborhood – but, given I was in a new culture with senses heightened, to me, observing a mother and child buying something as simple as ice cream seemed so poignant in a foreign land.  Definitely not a bullet point for the resume, but oh how cool it was to witness on that hot summer day….

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.

Alane De Luca, Director of Global Employer Relations, Northeastern University

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. www.linkedin.com/in/alanedeluca

“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

ASIA: A RETROSPECTIVE

THAILAND 

Making the most

An examination of industry growth sectors, student surveys and a budding Alumni Community, led me to begin my fall trip in Thailand.  I kicked off the week co-presenting to a full house of alumni/ae, prospective students, co-ops and parents, overlooking the hustle and bustle of Bangkok city.

Asia: A Retrospective by Alane De Luca, Director Global Employer Relations (Halong Bay, Vietnam)

The room was abuzz recalling the past decade trajectory that Northeastern has enjoyed, as it has positioned itself as a global leader in experiential learning, attributable to our visionary leader, President Joseph Aoun.

Alane De Luca, Director of Global Employer Relations, in Bangkok, Thailand

What followed were many meetings with new employer partners, as showcased here where I met with the Taskworld management team, in what resulted in two new co-op opportunities – one in marketing and one computer science. Invited to Taskworld by the serial entrepreneur (as he commonly referred), Fred Mouawad, Chairman and CEO of Synergia One Group of Companies, was an honor to say the very least!

People along the way 

At the conclusion of a full day of meetings in Northern Thailand, I came upon some new friends at a local Buddhist temple just outside the city of Chiang Mai.

Alane De Luca, Director of Global Employer Relations in Chiang Mai, Thailand

I love this photo because it is one moment frozen in time that brought together two distinctly different worlds – in one lens.  The vibrant contrasting colors uniformly focused in orange, green, and blue metaphorically reveal balance and warmth – a perfect stage on which to build new partnerships in Thailand!

INDONESIA

Full circle

When I learned was that a partnership I developed one year ago, placed third in “Northeastern’s Coolest Co-op” contest, I was needless to say ecstatic and proud.  I hope you will take a minute to watch this brief Coolest Co-op award winning video, that was developed by our first-ever co-op student at East Bali Cashews.

Twist my arm 

When I made my first trip to Bali in 2016, I visited two new companies – one a cashew producer (winning video) and the other a world-class green-energy solutions company, as seen in the photo here with requisite office setting, complete with pool and ocean view.

Alane De Luca, Director of Global Employer Relations in Bali, Indonesia

Both partnerships resulted in students co-op’ing there last year, and expanded offerings to Northeastern students for 2017 and beyond.  There is a reason Bali is called a travelers paradise, couple that with gaining critical global experience and students would be hard-pressed to turn down these once-in-a-lifetime tropical island paradise..I mean.. professional opportunities!

VIETNAM

Giving back

I had the honor of meeting with the president of the largest construction company in Ho Chi Minh City, who also happens to be the parent of one Northeastern alumnus and one current Husky (photo below).  It is through this loyalty to Northeastern and belief in experiential education that can make my job that more enjoyable.

Alane De Luca, Director of Global Employer Relations in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Positioned well, Vietnam’s economy is an emerging market standout – second to India. The recent leadership transition in Vietnam has set the tone for economic growth and reform, positioning Northeastern nicely for future co-op and full-time opportunities here.

SINGAPORE

The Garden City

If you are not already convinced that Asia should be next on your travel bucket list, then let me tell you about Singapore.  I think of this beautiful garden city akin to a ‘soft landing’ for westerners.  My visits to several multinational companies included Novartis, NBC Universal and Young and Rubicam/Wunderman, to name a few, were very well received.

Alane De Luca, Director of Global Employer Relations at F+G in Singapore

The concept of co-op and six month work rotations was set in motion prior to my meetings, and the goal was to firm up our agreements and move forward with a mutually-beneficial partnership.  Pictured with me here is our esteemed alumna, Jacquelyn Koh and the management team of Faithful + Gould, a world-leading integrated project and program management consultancy firm.  F+G has offered six NU co-ops for the fall 2017 cycle.

University partners

Alane De Luca, Director of Global Employer Relations in Singapore

Our university exchange agreement with Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has also proved to be a fantastic mutually rewarding collaboration.  NTU hires between five and ten research co-ops each year.  Photographed with me here is a co-op student along with NTU’s accomplished engineering faculty.  Singapore can pass for a surrogate-city to Boston, for those students keen on the local market with added benefit of a global experience. High performing sectors include aerospace, clean energy, healthcare, financial services and biotechnology.  I would encourage any student to step out of their comfort zone and co-op in Singapore!

INDIA

The boardroom

Alane De Luca, Director of Global Employer Relations in Mumbai, India

My most recent trip took me to India.  Our largest student population on the homecampus is made up of Indian students.  As part of our over-arching strategy to penetrate this market for both co-op and full-time opportunities, I took the opportunity to meet with local institutions to better understand the recruiting landscape.  While there, I visited three universities, IIT-New Delhi, IIT-Bombay and IIM-Bangalore, and met with various deans, directors and professors.  Photographed with me here at the Indian Institute of Management- Bangalore are the Director of International Affairs, Dean of Programs, and Dean & Professor of IIM.  This was a profitable meeting to learning more about IIM’s entrepreneurial center and discuss possible collaborations.  A visit to IIT-Bombay resulted in a new partnership centered around their new Research Park, which houses companies on their campus and provide co-op opportunities.  I should note that our first student to co-op at IIT-Bombay started in January 2017.

Entrepreneurship at its best

Alane De Luca with esteemed Young Global Leader, Aashray Thatai in New Delhi, India

Wrapping up my visit in India, led me to one of our Young Global Leaders and newly-minted entrepreneurs (photographed below).  Having the distinct honor to meet with our alumni/ae and help them develop ways they can give back to NU, through co-op, is extremely rewarding.  As Young Global Leaders, these  passionately committed Northeastern alumni/ae strive to be a catalyst in furthering Northeastern’s global footprint.  This fortuitous meeting in New Delhi resulted in new co-op positions being developed at PostFold, a start-up that embraces the motto that every idea starts with a problem.

We are all very proud to see another Northeastern alum reach for the stars and achieve success in their career passion.  PostFold was featured in Business Insider IndiaVogue India and Economic Times India.

 

 

Alane De Luca, Director of Global Employer Relations, Northeastern University

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. www.linkedin.com/in/alanedeluca

“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

 

Aerial View of Northeastern University

The idea of having an aerial perspective has always thrilled me. I think it opens up an entirely new dimension in filming. The excitement of being able to see and capture the world from a whole new level drove me to buy a drone for aerial photography. I am glad I was able to get one after coming to the U.S. because my favorite pastime has become exploring new places and taking trips to fly my drone while capturing the beauty of Mother Nature. I also share all of my work on my Instagram account and YouTube channel.

Nestled in the heart of the city the Northeastern University campus always gave me an aura of life and energy with the students hustling through the campus sipping coffee and the ever-busy buildings. It has always been a very competitive and enthusiastic environment for me. Being a proud Northeastern student, the idea of capturing aerial views of the university excited me. I am glad that the video gathered some attention and was shared on multiple Facebook pages. Drones have become a very delicate issue and I was very cautious to avoid flying over crowds of people or even at peak times. Though I could not seek official permission from the university, I got an unofficial nod from NUPD with some restrictions. I filmed mostly early in the morning to avoid unnecessary attention. From buildings to art inside the campus, I tried my best to capture every detail which reminisced the “Northeastern experience.” To view the video click here.

The idea was to make a video to show my friends and family. Had I known that this video would get thousands of views I would have made sure to go the extra mile for getting the output more “presentable” and professional looking, but the entire experience was very fulfilling. While I am still an amateur in making videos and editing my passion drives me to learn and continue to be creative. I’ve always been an admirer of the beauty of Boston and  I plan to make more captivating videos capturing it’s beauty to share with my audiences.

Currently, Himanshu Chintalapudi is a graduate student majoring in Bioinformatics from College of Sciences at Northeastern University and will be graduating in 2018. He can be reached on the following:

Instagram: himanshu_34 (https://www.instagram.com/himanshu_34/)

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/c/HimanshuChintalapudi