Transforming possibility into reality

assion for experience — For international students who want to get a job in the U.S., these are very special words that keep their heart beating.

“I’m already ready to get a job,” said KhaingZar Aye with confidence. Aye is an international student from Myanmar and senior computer science major. She seems to shine because she has confidence that she can get a job in the U.S.

For Aye, even though she has already had three job interviews, English is her biggest concern when competing with American students. “They’ve asked me, ‘Can you communicate with people like American students?’ whenever I have interview with these companies. It is the most difficult part. If I can’t catch what they say, it looks like I can’t do what the company wants.”

Legal regulations and different society environments can negatively affect international students who try to get jobs in the states. They have to find their job within 60 days of graduating school unless they register for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Otherwise, they have to leave the US.

The Office of International Study and Scholar (OISS) cooperates with the Career Development Center (CDC) to provide programs that help the students.

“We co-sponsor some events, like multi-cultural networking reception and worked with the CDC for some, such as coffee hour. Also we have workshops about immigration and taxes in some cases when international students get a job,” said Elizabeth Chaulk, assistant director of OISS.

Chaulk’s advice for an international student is to take advantage of leadership opportunities on campus. Student organizations, or being involved as a student orientation leader were a couple of examples.

“They’re learning beneficial skills to use in the workplace whether it’s in the U.S. or overseas,” she said, “I’ve heard it’s unusual in some countries to work when you’re 16-18. Working experience in the U.S. is really important, which working within organizations can help with. It’s a unique obstacle for international students.”

Also, the interview process is another cultural difference. Understanding the interview process is really important, such as what to wear, having a well-written resume and showing up early. Even questions can be different from their home country.

Job interviewing with companies is kind of an amazing experience for Donghee Jeon who was an exchange student at NKU from South Korea last fall semester, and is working as an intern at Bethany House Services.

“I was shocked when I had my first job interview in the U.S. because they asked me to write a newsletter right there. In Korea, the questions were always about my personality, or my motivation or plan concerning the job. But they just asked me whether I can do the specific task,” Jeon said.

Passion for experience is one of the important keys for success for finding a job. Jeon was one among 50 American students to compete for the internship. Her boss evaluated highly her passion and confident attitude.

Because of her passion, she could endure failing to get an internship 13 times before getting her internship. “Actually, I decided to go back to Korea on Dec. 27, but I got a job offer the next day on Dec. 28.”

Yunus Simsek from Turkey, an alumnus in computer science, also had a lot of passion in order to get the job that he’s working at dbaDIRECT now. Simsek had various experiences not only in his major but also with American culture. He believes that international students have to show the company why they are worth hiring. This process could be harder than American student’s cases because if the company wants to hire foreigners as their full time staff, they have to pay extra money to the federal government.

Furthermore, the companies must sponsor the employee’s working visa. “I’ve made my own website because my major is computer science, as well as preparing my name card with a brief resume in order to make strong impression on the employer,” Simsek said. “To be creative and to be a professional in your major area are my different strategies.”