The Step After College

The U.S. has always been known to be “the land where dreams come true.” People are always tempted to look for jobs in the U.S., especially international students, because they want to explore the country more and build a new life. 


Finding jobs can be difficult in a foreign country because international students don’t know where to look or find the right opportunities. The Career Exploration and Development Center in Kent State helps students find jobs during and after college and with their career needs, ranging from exploring career and major options to providing assistance with finding jobs and internships. 


Krittika Grau is a senior career advisor and works directly with international students. She helps international students with networking, mentoring opportunities and connections with international alumni globally.


“During our appointments with students, we ask questions to understand the student’s situation, their hopes and dreams and their unique circumstances,” Grau said. 


When international students start thinking of what’s coming after college they sometimes get lost and confused on where they want to start looking at jobs, whether they want to stay in the U.S. or return to their home country. 


“We listen to their needs and help them in making that decision for themselves.  It is completely a student’s decision as to whether they want to stay in the United States, head back to their home countries or pursue employment or education in a third country.” Garu said, “Our role is to provide resources, help a student locate opportunities in that country and get connected with alumni living in that region.”


There are two specific programs available to eligible international students that allow them to work legally off-campus: CPT and OPT. CPT stands for “Curricular Practical Training” and OPT is “Optional Practical Training.” 


“Our role at CED is to make sure students are aware of these programs, 

so that they can work off-campus legally and take the required steps to get their paperwork in order to be able to pursue practical experiences.” Grau said, “If students have questions about CPT and OPT, we share the basics with them and then refer them to ISSS advisors at the Office of Global Education so they can have all their questions answered.”


Job opportunities can be hard to find. Garu said students need to be active to find and pursue what they’re passionate about in order to get the right job for them. 


“There are many ways to find employment,” Grau said. “while many find jobs through networking, others can find them through advertised positions on job-boards, social media, through in-person networking events and career fairs, through direct referrals, through internships and co-ops that turn into full-time opportunities and many other ways. 


For job hunting, show employers your skills instead of talking about them and show them just how qualified you are. Grau said, always try harder than your domestic friends.


“Network with anyone and everyone who might be useful but, in the process,, be authentic and don’t be afraid to show them that you are different.” Grau said, “Don’t hide the fact that you are international – celebrate it. However, never approach an employer and start the conversation by asking if they sponsor visas. Ask about sponsorship when you know you are their top choice for the job.”


About The Career Exploration and Development Center:


International students are able to schedule appointments with me (Krittika Grau or come into drop-ins to talk about their career. We have held weekly drop-in hours at the Office of Global Education, every Friday from 10-11:30 am


Our department also hosts a variety of events including two large-scale career fairs in a year. We also host an event that is exclusively for international students called the International Student Career Boot Camp every fall, to help students prepare for the world of work in the United States. This year, the event will be on November 20th in the Moulton Hall Ballroom, during International Education Week.


Article Written by Sara Al Harti