This is a guest post by Ee Chien Chua for Student Stories.
One of the biggest issues that international students face is securing a full-time job in the United States when they graduate.
While it might seem like a challenge, it can be a relatively easy process if a student follows a few simple steps:
Too often, I have seen students from different countries, whether from Korea, Ghana, or Brazil, move together in groups. While it is important to remember your heritage and keep in touch with your countrymen, it is essential that you learn how to assimilate with your fellow classmates from the U.S. Culture plays a big part in the U.S., where people are proud of their country.
There are little things that you will learn about the only if you interact with Americans. Whether it’s sports lingo or idioms, understanding that will help you eventually when you’re looking for a job.
When you start your search, you’ll come to realize that the interviewers are mostly looking for a fit into their corporate culture.
A lot of the time, that corporate culture is tied to the American culture.
I met a girl from Hong Kong once who never really interacted out with people outside of her group of friends. Even with a good GPA from a great university, she could not secure an internship, in part because she did not know how to interact appropriately outside of her circle of friends who were also from Hong Kong. Also, your parents have sent you here to the United States for education, and to learn more about the outside world. If you just spend all day speaking your language and not interacting with others, there is a chance you are not maximizing your time and money.
2. Intern Everywhere
With those experiences in hand, you can then apply for paid internships with bigger companies. Nothing should be too menial for you. Employers are looking for people who work hard.
If you have the opportunity, intern in the U.S., if you can find one at home and have the means to travel back, that is a great experience too. Plus, your parents will be happy.
I interned at Bloomberg in Singapore my sophomore year summer, which helped me get my next internship with Goldman Sachs in the U.S. the summer after. Before that, I did unpaid internships on and off campus.
3. Study Hard
At the end of the day, good grades do help.
If you’re having issues with English, get a tutor. Many campuses have volunteer ESL and writing tutors. Have fun with your friends, but also take the time to study. Companies want to see a good track record on your transcript, which will also help when you apply to graduate schools in the future.
Lastly, technology and financial service companies generally have the means to sponsor you for a visa, so keep that in mind when applying.
These are some guidelines to follow, but at the end of the day, it’s all up to you! Good luck!
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