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First international alumni professional panel to be held at Ohio State

Internship-hunting season is here and while the search is taxing for many, international students face more obstacles and have a smaller pool from which to choose.

Jiakun Wu, Undergraduate Student Government deputy director of diversity and inclusion, said international students deal with several complications when trying to find an internship or job in America. These complications range anywhere from trying to find a company to sponsor an international student for their visa to language barriers that come with navigating the American work field.

Jiakun Wu, Undergraduate Student Government deputy director of diversity and inclusion, created the International Alumni Professional Panel. Credit: Katie Hamilton | Arts & Life Director

In an effort to help students who come from diverse backgrounds like himself, Wu created the International Alumni Professional Panel, which will be held at 1:30 p.m. Friday in the Barbie Tootle Room at the Ohio Union. He plans to host a similar event in the spring.

He said students will have the opportunity to hear from four international Ohio State alumni who successfully secured jobs in America. Wu said these alumni will provide insight to students on what the job application process is like for an international student, how to become working professionals and the steps they will need to take in adapting to a new working environment.

Wu said he aims to help international students better identify job opportunities that sponsor international students as well as give them an overall idea how to handle difficulties when finding jobs.

“I would like to make this event a good opportunity for students to network with each other, not only with our peer students, but also with our outstanding alumni,” Wu said.

Another issue Wu said is important for international students is knowing how to get along with their American colleagues. He hopes events like the panel will encourage international students to engage with domestic students while at Ohio State to make the transition into the work field more seamless.

“This is definitely a great opportunity to bridge the gap between American students and international students,” Wu said. “I definitely want to promote the international student body here at Ohio State, to make them a more important part here on campus and enhance their presence.”

USG President Shamina Merchant said providing more resources for international students, especially in career services, has been part this administration’s platform since the beginning after receiving input from international students.

She said it’s important to connect international students with the resources they will need to have equal opportunities to their domestic counterparts.

“In USG we’re constantly challenging ourselves to see how we can do a better job of raising the level of equity for all students on this campus,” Merchant said. “This event will hopefully lead to additional conversation on how we can do a better job of supporting international students and better utilizing the international student fee in addition.”

Wu said the best advice he can give to international students is to not give up when faced with obstacles while hunting for internships and jobs. He said he believes international students can use their diverse backgrounds and bilingual abilities to their advantage and stand out among other applicants.

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