A Quick Yearly Handshake Checkup

 

Handshake can seem very intimidating and can be tough to navigate around. Here is a brief breakdown of what you can do each year at Hope to ensure you stay on top of your Handshake account!

 Freshman-

Get your Handshake profile started as a Freshman, it will make it so much easier in the coming years. Do not be worried that you might not have a ton of information to put on your profile right now, you will gain that over the coming years! With your profile ready to go, you can now begin to get familiar with Handshake and see events happening on campus, register for meetings with employers, or even discover other career paths.

 

Sophomore-

Sophomore year is the time to start considering internships or work experience if you have not already. Your Handshake profile should have an updated copy of your resume and potentially any relevant classes you have taken in relation to your area of study. In addition to this, make sure to browse your Handshake feed as there are constantly new opportunities posted on there. The more that you put into Handshake, the more that you get out of it!

 

Junior-

Time really goes by fast, and before you know it you will be a junior. Once you reach this stage you may want to consider more internship experience or maybe even start looking at future job opportunities. What this may mean for your Handshake profile is a more updated bio, more added interests, or even some uploading of projects or papers you have completed in relevant classes. Adding these things to your profile can help employers, know more about you and if you are the type of student they are looking for.

 

Senior-

Finally, there is Senior year. This can be a very scary and exciting year as most people are trying to figure out what to do after graduation. Thankfully, Handshake can help make this process much easier for you not only as a graduate, but post-graduation as well! Nearing graduation you will want to make sure you have the most updated profile as you associate with employers and search for jobs on Handshake, In addition, make sure you are checking for any events posted by Hope that may involve your future career plans. As you do all this, you can hopefully have a smooth transition into post grad life as you begin a new job and transition into an alumni!

We hope that you can see Handshake is a useful tool to have, and we hope you take advantage of such a great resource! If you have any questions about Handshake, or need any help with it you can book an appointment with us.

 

 

Conquering Career Fairs

Last semester I had the opportunity to go to the Economics and Business Fair. Even though I am a Political Science major, I still valued and appreciated the experience. I had the chance to interact with a few employers and ask them for advice for college students looking for jobs or internships at a career fair. Some of the employers I got to interview came from different organizations like Sennco Solutions, Thomson Reuters Corporation, Commercial Real Estate Agency (CBRE), and Gordon Food Service. Although these companies have unique focuses, employers tended to give similar advice to candidates. Based on the answers from their interviews, here are a couple of things to take into account when going to a career fair:

 

  • Do Research

 

Find out what companies are going to go to the career fair and go on their websites to do research on them. Click on the “About Us” section to see what they their values and goals are. Also, search for the open positions they have and what they are looking for in a candidate. Keep exploring their websites until you have a solid idea of who they are and what they do. If it helps you to remember them, write down facts that got your attention.

 

  • Bring Your Best Resume

 

Before going to a career fair make sure you have prepared a strong resume. Most of the employers mentioned how students’ resumes are often too long or not well written. Hence, it is essential that you work on your resume before going to the fair because it is your presentation card. Use the resources you have at school like the Career Development Center, so that someone with experience can assist you.

 

  • Show Confidence

 

Once you go have done your research and prepared your resume, you are ready to go the career fair! The employers mentioned on the interviews that the top quality that makes a candidate stand out is confidence. Employers at the fair are looking for confident people that are able to portray themselves, their abilities, and their knowledge in the best way possible. Since getting nervous is common, practice your one-minute pitch in front of your friends or the mirror a couple of times.

 

  • Be Charming

 

Although confidence is key when you are at a career fair, you also have to be charming, approachable, and personable. Show them that you got the skills it takes to relate and connect to people. One way to do this is by approaching the employers with kindness and respect. Also, check what your body is communicating because they can tell a lot from your body language. Remember you got to portray the best version of yourself to them.

 

  • Demonstrate Interest

 

Another thing to keep in mind is demonstrating your interest in the companies when you are talking to the employers. You have to convey to them that you know who they are and the reasons why you are interested in them. One way of doing this is by mentioning what you learn from your research and by asking good questions about the company and the job. They are more likely to remember you if they notice you have a genuine interest in working for them.

These are 5 general tips that, if done right, will make you stand out from the rest of the candidates at a career fair. Even though career fairs can seem intimidating, you can conquer them if you are prepared for them. Follow these steps and you will be ready to go!

Job Pursuit Career Fair: A gateway to your dream job

What is job pursuit?

Job pursuit matches employers who want to fill job openings with students who are eager to find a job. It is intentional networking and could end with a potential interview on the same day you meet with an employer. The itinerary for the day is a morning full of networking and the afternoon is meant for one-on-one interviews with an employer. This is an opportunity that could open a door to your future career, that’s what it did for me.

Job Pursuit is a large job fair with over 50 different employers and over 250 students from various West Michigan schools that congregate at the Crowne Plaza Lansing West hotel lobby and conference rooms. A few schools that participate in the event include Calvin College, Cornerstone University, Hillsdale College, and  Hope College. The atmosphere of Job Pursuit is business professionals for both students and employers. There are approximately 5 different rooms and in each room is roughly 10 tables that various employers have set up. The tables have job opportunities, trinkets to pass out, and most importantly a representative from the company that is interested in hiring.

The first half of the day is networking and approaching various tables to speak with representatives. There are so many students attending that some of the time is spent waiting in a line which is perfect because you get to prepare what you want to say to the representative. Once the networking portion of the day is complete then everyone takes a lunch break. During the lunch break, the employers decide who they want to interview for the afternoon portion of the day. After you return from lunch you receive an envelope and inside is a sheet of paper that gives details about the interview schedule. If you were not asked to interview then the paper would indicate that you have no interviews on your schedule. If you are asked to interview with one or more companies then the itinerary with the company name and time of the interview will be outlined on your interview itinerary.

Interviews are roughly 30 minutes long and are very basic interviews getting to know a little bit about you and why you are interested in the company. Once the interview(s) is complete make sure to ask for a business card to follow up with the employer. Then the day at job pursuit is complete!

Why did you decide to go?

The fair is primarily meant for Juniors and Seniors searching for internships or full-time jobs. When I went I was a second-semester sophomore and I attended in order to practice interviewing, networking and my elevator pitch. I had no intention of getting a job or an internship at that time. My goal was to use the fair to learn about networking and interviewing and to gain some confidence by having some experience under my belt.

What is it like there?

There were a lot of students and a lot of employers networking. After I approached my first table I gained . When I was talking to the employer, I realized that they were there to talk to me! They wanted to know who I was and what kind of job I was interested in pursuing. I was talking and learning about the employer and the company as much as they were trying to learn about me.

That was one of my biggest takeaways:  that networking and interviewing is a 2-way street. You want to make sure you match with a company and a company wants to make sure that they match with you. That is the purpose of networking and interviewing.

Preparation?

Preparation was also crucial. There is a list of information about the employers on the website that I used to make my own list of the employers I was interested in meeting. I made a list of the top 10 I wanted to meet with and then went to their websites and found some information about the internships they were offering. I tried to find out a little more about the company that I could speak into when I met with the employer. I also brought 20 copies of my resume that I had in the pocket of the Hope College padfolio I brought with me. The padfolio is also important to purchase because it looks professional and it has a notebook to write notes, a pen holder, a place for resumes and a slot for business cards.

Personally, Job Pursuit was life-changing for me. While I was there I went to the Cintas table and spoke with the representative, Chad. I approached the table with a smile, shook his hand, introduced my self and presented my elevator pitch as I handed him my resume. When I was finished with my spiel he smiled back and said, “All of this is great! But, tell me more about you and what you want in a career?” After 20 seconds more of a brief conversation about what I wanted in my future, he gave me his business card and we parted ways.

When I got home from the fair I sent him a follow-up email thanking him for his time at the fair and emphasizing that I was impressed with Cintas and was interested in pursuing an internship. He then set up an informational interview with the General Manager of the Grand Rapids Cintas location. After that interview I had a phone interview, then two more following that. After a long interview process, I received a call from Cintas offering me an internship for the summer of 2017! I thoroughly enjoyed my summer spent at Cintas and I was so impressed with the company that I wanted to continue working during the school year. I have been working a few hours every week at Cintas and I am looking forward to spending the summer of 2018 there as well. And it all started because I walked up to a table at the Job Pursuit Fair.

The Job Pursuit fair will always hold a spot in my heart because it opened a huge door for me. About a month ago, Chad emailed me and asked if I would be willing to help him at the Cintas table at Job Pursuit Fair this year on February 16th. My sophomore self never could have imaged the impact one step of courage could bring for my future.

Challenge yourself, take a risk, and go to Job Pursuit! You never know what doors it could open for your future career.

Working at a Summer Camp: More than just a job

 

If working at a summer camp sounds like the job for you please join your fellow Hope College students at the Summer Camp Fair hosted by the Career Development Center which will take place on January 17th from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm in Maas Center, Auditorium. Continue reading to see why working at a summer camp is more than just a job.

Four years. Four years of college and three summers in-between to figure out the first few steps of your future. Some students use the summer to work in an internship, others use it as a break to rejuvenate after a long academic year, and others work at summer camps. Rachel Gillespie is a Hope College junior who is fitting the pieces of life together one by one in order to figure out her life calling. One of the pieces that has allowed her to see more of the big picture was her summer spent at Gull Lake Ministries.

Her summer camp journey began when a mutual friend recommended that she stop by the Gull Lake Ministries table at an upcoming fair to connect with the staff. The idea of working at a summer camp had crossed her mind, but she was not whole heartedly pursuing the idea. After a brief, non-intimidating conversation with a Gull Lake Ministries staff member she was asked if she would be interested in interviewing that day. The interview took place an hour later and it gave her the opportunity to speak passionately and authentically about her love for people, the Gospel and ministry work. After God opened and closed the doors of different opportunities for the summer, she was able to work full time for the summer of 2017.

As a middle school and high school counselor her time was filled with pouring love into the kids, serving in the kitchen and spending the day as a Kayak instructor on the water front. Her work hours were all day everyday with 30 minutes of downtime each day and 24 hours off on the weekend. All the hours she spent working were filled with memories, learning moments, excitement, hard work and numerous blessing from the Lord through all of her experience at camp, and it all began because she approached an information table.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Rachel to hear more about her summer experiences and to ask her a few questions about the camp.

What advice or tips do you have for someone considering attending the fair?

It’s really important to do some research for any kind of fair before you attend. Look up the list of employers (or camps) who will there, and select a few that you want to connect with directly. Since summer camps are more laid back, business casual attire is just fine. Then walk in with confidence! You are unique and important and you have something to offer that no one else does. Let that shine. Bringing a few copies of your resume couldn’t hurt. But most importantly, have some unique talking points ready to share. Lots of people like the idea of spending a summer at camp. However, I believe that it’s really important to know why you want to be there. If you don’t believe in the mission/goals of the camp or strongly desire to commit to a summer of selflessness and giving, summer camp is likely not for you.

We are all aware that summer camp jobs do not pay much, do you still believe working at a camp is a valuable experience? If so, why?

YES!!! This is the time to invest your summer for something that will matter forever. After graduation, it’s a lot less likely that you’d work a full summer at camp. The great thing about camp is that you spend hardly any money. And the salary that you do make can be saved for the future. It’s easy to come up with excuses, as I know I did; “I can’t be gone for that long. I won’t make enough money. I won’t know anyone. I don’t know if I’m qualified to do everything they’re asking.” Sure, those are valid concerns. But I don’t believe that they should stop you from at least exploring what’s out there. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”

Was there something you learned about yourself at the camp that you never would’ve learned about yourself if it wasn’t for your experience at the camp?

This summer was huge for me. I like to call it “my most important summer”. Over the course of those weeks, I learned about why I was created and the things that my heart beats wildly for. While I don’t know the specifics of when and where, I know that God has called me to use my voice, strengths and talents in a ministry context someday.

Do you have any closing thoughts you’d like to share?

This summer at Gull Lake I got to throw myself into something a little wild, and something I believed in with my whole heart. So take the leap! It may just be the most important summer of your life.

Rachel is a phenomenal example of a student who took a risk and passionately pursed a God-given calling and reaped the benefits from that decision. She gained experiences that she will be able to use in future interviews and future life choices.

 

 

Finding an Industry if You Have No Idea Where to Start

For some people, knowing what industry they want to work in is easy to decide, for others not so much. I’ve been there myself and, in fact, I’m still torn about what I want to do.  Don’t worry, you don’t have to have it all figured out just yet, BUT here are some tips for beginning the process:

  1.     Think about your strengths

Almost every Freshman takes StrengthsQuest when they come to Hope (if you didn’t, call the CDC and we’ll get you squared away!). Reflect on your top five strengths and how your mind works, these can help give you guidance about what career path might suit you best.

  1.     Reach out to professors, family members, or friends

Use the people around you to your advantage. Start asking friends and family about what they do and what they like/dislike about their jobs. See what careers sound interesting to you and consider shadowing or doing an externship in a couple of those industries!

  1.     Think about your passions

Everyone has things they could talk about for hours. Think about the topics that get you fired up and see what jobs might deal with them (eg you love to talk about policy and current events, maybe political science is right for you or maybe you love math and analytics maybe finance is your sweet spot!) Whatever your passions are, there is probably some niche job that will let you connect what you love to your career.

  1.      Job shadow

Make a list of industries you think you might be interested in and shadow people working in that industry. We have tons of resources (LinkedIn network, Alumni connections, etc.) that can help with finding people in any industry you can think of. I’ve found that people love to talk about what they do, so informational interviews and shadow days are a great place to start looking for an industry you may be interested in.

  1.     Just give one a try and see if it’s a good fit!

No one says you’re locked in after you take an internship or that first job. People switch career paths all the time

Wherever you decide to begin, know that picking the best career path is normally a lifelong adventure. Very rarely do people pick a job and stick with it for the duration of their working lives. Just starting the search is half the battle, so hopefully, with these tips, you’ll be on your way to finding the industry that works for you.

How to conquer email- The request (part 2)

Image result for help

Part II: The request part of the email series.


  1. Include the Details

This bullet seems straightforward, I know. However, it is worth noting that when you email someone with a request you need to include all the details about whatever you are asking them. For example, you wouldn’t email your professor and say “I need help on number 9.” Number 9, what? No, instead you would include the problem set and page number or ask to meet them during office hours to discuss the problem in more detail. The same concept is true when you ask anything over an email.

Here is are some important details you want to include (if applicable):

  • Deadline
  • Resume
  • Contact information for yourself and anyone they may need to send something to
  • Requirements for what they will be doing (i.e. if they are filling out a form on a website include the web link and what they need to do once they reach the page)
  • Specifics about the nature of your request (i.e. why you need a recommendation anyway)
  • Job description or recommendation description

Please note, this is not an exhaustive list of all the details you may need to include in an email, but it’s a good start. The main point behind this section is that you want your contact to be able to immediately perform the task you’ve asked them to complete after they read your email without having to email you for more clarification. However, it is completely acceptable to include a catch phrase at the end of your email instructing your contact to reach out to you should they have any more questions. This is normal and expected!

  1. Please and Thank You

Remember when your parents would obnoxiously remind you to mind your manners anytime you went anywhere. It’s time to recall those lessons (maybe even call your parents and thank them for teaching you politeness!). Seriously though, “please” and “thank you’s” go a long way in an email and especially when you are asking for a request to be met.

As important as being polite is, be careful not to go overboard. This will make you sound insincere and over the top. Stick to using one please when you initially ask your request and a simple “thank you for your consideration” or “I greatly appreciate your time” in your conclusion.

  1. Re-Read Your Email Before Sending

Editing is the most important step of any email. Good grammar wins you points in so many categories so make sure you read and re-read your email before you hit that send button. By taking the time to check your email for simple mistakes and spelling errors you are communicating to your contact that you care enough about what you are saying to truly want there help. It also helps to make sure your email clearly communicates and that your request is easily understood.


We hope that you are learning new things in this series. Next up on the series, will be how to keep an email short but polite.

Meet the Writers: Mikaila Bisson

Hello, everyone!

My name is Mikaila Bisson and I am one of the writers behind the Career Development Center blog. Along with Nicole Mutua and Sarah Carpenter, I write about what is happening at the Career Development Center. Since there are three of us, we thought it would be beneficial to readers to get to know a little bit about each of us and our journeys with the CDC.

This is me while I was studying abroad in Ireland!

To start off, I’ll give some general information about myself. I am a senior this year, studying English with a Creative Writing Emphasis. I have a Business minor and, while I’m still not sure what I want to do with this combination, I figure as long as I know how to write well and think in terms of Business I should be off to a good start. I have a twin sister who also goes to Hope, and am from the East side of Michigan. Last year I studied abroad in Ireland, and if I could, I’d go back in a heartbeat! I love to spend time with friends, play soccer, and read a good book in my spare time. Now that you know a little about me, I want to give you a little more information about my relationship with the Career Development Center.

I began using the CDC my first semester of freshman year. I had no idea what I wanted to major in or where to begin to find that out! I had heard through activities done in my Freshman Year Seminar class that the Career Development Center was the place to start, so I wandered over to Anderson-Werkman and scheduled an appointment with Amy Freehafer. She helped talk me through my StengthsQuest strengths and how I could implement those into my major. She also helped me discover that I had a passion for fine arts, specifically English, and I decided to declare my English major the following year (after many, many more conversations). Amy helped me draw out who I was helped me discover a major that I absolutely love.

My next adventure with the CDC came my sophomore year when I was finishing up my Business minor. I was required by many classes to create a resume as well as a LinkedIn account, and was encouraged to start looking for internships. Now that I had figured out my major, it was time to switch my point person from Amy to Jena Gasworth. Meeting with Jena was extremely helpful – she gave me a base on which to start my resume and my LinkedIn account. She also gave me resources that connected me to companies that had available internships. Although I chose not to pursue an internship that year, Jena gave me professional help launched me into my time as an upperclassman.

Junior year, I was given the opportunity to work as a receptionist in the CDC office working closely with the professionals that work with students every day. It was an experience that introduced me to a different, but equally exciting job position through the CDC titled Career Advisor. I applied for the position second semester of my junior year while I studied abroad, and that brought me to where I am today – a senior Career Advisor!

As a senior, the overwhelming pressure to get a job after graduation mounts on me every day, but I know I am blessed to be working here alongside people that care about me as well as my accomplishments. I’ve gotten to connect with Megan Fisher as I think about networking to find a job, as well as Dale Austin as I discover that I need interview skills to secure a job. Although I haven’t worked with her directly, Shannon Schans has also formed my experience at the CDC as she always any questions I have and brings a smile to any conversation.

My journey with the Career Development Center has been extensive and I’ve only had wonderful, enriching experiences with the office. As a student soon going out into a new world of careers and jobs, I feel thoroughly prepared because of the services the CDC offered me and the relationships that have been fostered through their office.

If you haven’t worked with the CDC yet, I highly encourage you to make an appointment and see how their services can help you – I promise it will be worth it!

Internships – What Can They Do For You?

Image result for internship

“Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.” -Unknown

 

Many students nowadays have no idea what they want to do for a job or career because there are so many different fields of work to be exposed to. One way for a student to narrow down their options is to participate in internships. Internships are beneficial during school semesters or during the summer as they will always give you tangible skills that you can take back to any job.

Doing an internship has so many beneficial gains especially for a college student. Internships are a great way to gain experience which a lot of employers are now looking for. An internship would give you the opportunity to use the knowledge you have gained in the classroom and apply it to the real world. You will have the opportunity to know whether or not a certain career is for you before you commit to it.

During an internship you will have multiple chances to network and make new connections that may be advantageous to you in the future and you will also have the opportunity to establish relationships with mentors. There is a possibility that you will be able to get college credit or a certification, which is always great to know especially for those who have courses that require an internship. There is always the fact that you will accumulate new skills, gain a ‘real world’ perspective and have experience that will look great on your resume. Finally, internships might be a stepping stone to a permanent job at the company you’re interning for after graduation.

If you are looking for information about internships, Jena Gasworth is the CDC member you should talk to first. When asked why she thinks internships are important, she stated:

Internships are critical because they provide the opportunity for career discernment. Students gain valuable world experience, build professional relationships, and develop skills. This experience builds your resumé and assists in the post-graduation job search.

Tyler Dunifin is a senior who is graduating this May and has a job lined up after with the company he has been interning for. When asked why he thinks doing an internship is important, he said:

Internships are important because they give you an opportunity to do a ‘trial run’ of working in a certain company or industry before you make the decision to commit to the job full-time. I worked as an intern full-time from January through mid-April in 2016 and now I’m working two days per week as an intern at the same company, and I have learned through this process that the work I have done throughout my internship really is the type of work that I want to be doing when I leave college. An added benefit that I was able to gain from my internship was the security of knowing that I will have a full-time job when I graduate from Hope.

In the graduating class of 2015, 92% of students had participated in experiential learning, 57% of students had participated in at least one internship and 26% of students had participated in more than one internship. You can find more of these statistics in the grad survey, which also has many different interesting facts concerning post-graduate life.

The Internship fair will be held in Maas auditorium on Thursday, February 2, 2017 from 3:00-5:00 pm. Attire is business causal. Make sure to bring copies of your resumé, as this will be a great opportunity for you to meet with employers and learn more about internship opportunities. You can also book an appointment with Jena Gasworth at the Career Development Center – she is more than happy to discuss your options with you!

 

Summer Fun, Sun, and Jobs!

The semester is flying by, and summer is just around the corner! We hope that your summer is filled with fun and some much needed rest, but we also hope that you take some time to expand upon your career exploration process! Whether you’re working a summer job, interning with an organization, or even just taking time to consider what kind of career path interests you, summer is great for building your resume, expanding your network, and developing your career!

Career Advisor Gaby Vazquez gives some advice regarding summer career development, stating:

Gaby Vazquez helping at a recruitment event with Ernst & Young
Gaby Vazquez helping at a recruitment event with Ernst & Young

“Summers are some of the most awaited moments for college students. The feeling of freedom and liberty along with the warm air that accompanies the season are what we look forward to during finals week. While it is good to take a break and relax with family and friends, there is so much that we can do during the summer to prepare ourselves for the new school year. Work and volunteer experiences can be just as fun as spending the day at the beach! You just need to find a field that you’re really interested in. Finding somebody to job shadow for just part of the summer can do wonders for your resume and can develop your own interests. One summer I worked as a camp counselor, meeting tons of new people and working with kids. The following summer, I completed a pre-internship with an accounting firm I was interested in, which led to a second full internship for the next summer. Both summers were valuable in different ways, and being proactive during those seasons helped me discover my interests. Whether it be working at an ice cream shop or interning at a bank, doing something during the summer can be a great way for anyone to develop valuable skills.”

Career Advisor Stephanie Eiler also offers some advice on how to approach career development strategies this summer, saying:

“When someone thinks of summer, the first thing that pops into one’s mind is relaxation. While relaxation is great and all, summer can also be an opportunity for internships, job shadowing, and working on your LinkedIn profile.

Stephanie Eiler
Stephanie Eiler

Internships are a great way to expand what you have learned in the classroom and apply that knowledge to the real world. For some people, an internship can turn into a job offer if there is a job opening.

By job shadowing someone, you are able to see what a typical day looks like for someone in the career you are interested in.

LinkedIn is yet another way to get connected with peers, professors, and people in the workplace. By having a LinkedIn profile, employers are able to see your accomplishments throughout your time at Hope.”

If you have any thoughts or questions about how to go about your summer career exploration process, don’t hesitate to come talk to us at the CDC! We’ll be open during the summer, Monday through Friday, normal business hours, so definitely stop by and see us!

Career Exploration for International Students

We are encouraged to improve our career exploration all the time. We find ourselves needing to look for internships, interview well, create strong resumes, etc. What if you’re trying to do all this when you’re from a different country? What does that look like?

Yonov headshot

Hope College senior Sasha Yonov is an international student, hailing from Nicosia, Cyprus. We asked him to write about his career exploration experience here in the States. Here’s what he had to say:

“International students in general have to jump across many obstacles to experience the same opportunities as all the other students do from the United States. Such obstacles include learning the English language to an advanced degree in order to keep up with the material being taught on a collegiate level. I was fortunate enough to have gone to an English school growing up, therefore, English was not the issue for me. A lot of international students do indeed learn the language to an advanced level however, the hardest thing that any of us has to do, is to leave our own families and learn how to survive on our own. Upon arriving to the United States, many of us, including myself, go through a cultural shock. A cultural shock is a phase, experienced by someone who is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, and a set of attitudes where the feeling of disorientation is immense and at times hard to endure, but absolutely doable!

Another obstacle was applying for a Student Visa. It wasn’t as difficult to tackle as the cultural shock. The Visa process was straight forward because being accepted to attend a college, the US embassies receive all the necessary documents for them not to deny your visa application. In some special occasions, they do deny applications, but rarely! What I had to do is gather all of my personal and Hope College documentations, make an appointment with a US representative and “voila”, that obstacle is no more. I received my European passport with my visa, ready to book my flight to Grand Rapids, MI a week later.

As far as the CPT process is concerned, applying for it was not a difficult process either. The difficult part was finding the right internship and the right employer willing to hire an international student. A lot of employers do not hire international students because their internships are designed to see how well that particular intern will perform in order to be given a full time opportunity in the future. The problem is that international students need to be sponsored by the company/employer, which will cost them money to apply for the sponsorship.

I was lucky enough to have found two internships (one of them is a current internship) thus far, that have allowed me to gain experience and develop my skills. Part of that, I believe, had to do with that fact that I have been involved in many different events/activities around Hope over the years, including being part of the basketball team. Being part of the basketball team, even though only for two seasons, has allowed me to meet many extraordinary people that are still a part of my life. These connections have helped me learn more about life and guide me through the process of searching for employment opportunities.

There will always be people to help you, but at the end of the day, it is you as an individual that will have to ask, search, and pursue anything you want to. This does not only apply to international students, but to all students!

My first internship was with Zoro Tools, a subsidiary of Grainger in Chicago. It was a great experience to be challenged outside of the classroom. It made it even better when I was surrounded by amazing people in a great atmosphere. Currently, I am interning at Royal Securities and Investments in Grand Rapids. With Royal, I am responsible for the accurate and detailed documentation of information of clients’ personal information. Royal too has allowed me to mature more as an individual, [and] I am truly gaining more experience in a different industry than my previous internship.

I am not sure what my next chapter of my life will look like, but if I were to give advice to other younger international students, it would be to be involved in the community [as well as] Hope events and activities because at the end of the day, no matter where and what one may be doing, one will always be in an occupation to make the lives of others better. Regardless of the type of employment a person is part of, people and our relationships between each other are what make life so precious. With that being said, I hope one day the work that I will be doing is not only important, but truly makes the lives of others better.”