International Students Criticize Career Fair

International Students Criticize Career Fair

By:
10/04/2017

International students have expressed disappointment with the Sep 15 career fair. The fair, sponsored by the Cawley Career Education Center, featured 104 employers, but according to the Career Fair website, only 31 could offer employment to international students with work visas, and only 22 hired student visa holders.

Ingrid Glitz (SFS ‘18), an international student, posted in the Georgetown Class of 2018 Facebook group after the fair, criticizing its structure and employers, as well as the Career Center’s efforts to support international students in general.

“The list on the Career Center website that said which companies sponsored visas was often wrong, which led most of us from booth to booth asking each company if they hire international students,” she wrote. “Most of the time, the representatives had no clue whether their company sponsors visas or not.”

Glitz highlighted ways the Career Center could be more supportive of international students by acknowledging their unique situation in searching for jobs compared to American students. “This could be done by helping us find jobs in our home countries or abroad, or connecting us with companies that actually like us foreigners,” she wrote.

David Alzate (SFS ‘18), an international student from Ecuador, also attended the career fair and agreed with Glitz’s criticism. “Your average international student comes into Georgetown and can have a great GPA, do everything right, but when senior year rolls around you only have a few options: go into consulting that provides visas, work for a company that has offices abroad, or go home,” Alzate said.

The Career Center website has a separate section devoted to resources for international students, where it lists websites that can help find employers who sponsor work visas, as well as provides advice on resume building, interviews and understanding American corporate culture. But for Alzate and many of his peers, the problem is not just the absence of international student support in general, but rather the failure of the Career Center to help international students find jobs across various fields.

The final part of Glitz’s post was a call to action, asking international and American students to “unite forces.” She proposed that the international student community write a comprehensive letter to the Career Center, urging them to implement changes in its methods of supporting the needs of the international student community and helping them have an equal variety of career opportunities as American students.

“The standard for the Career Center is consulting recruitment events, but they don’t do much beyond that, and it’s really discouraging for a lot of people who I have met, especially those that have done really well academically but aren’t interested in consulting, yet feel compelled to go that direction because it seems like the only option,” Alzate said.

The post received wide approval and support from both international and American students in the Facebook group, with over 200 people commenting their name and netID to add as signatures on the proposed letter.

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Elizabeth Pankova


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