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Sharing Global Experiences on Co-op

June 28, 2016

Mohit Bhardwaj, who is pursing a MS in Mechanical Engineering and Physics, shared his experiences while on co-op in the Netherlands at ASML.

Source: News @ Northeastern

Many North­eastern stu­dents are about to begin their first inter­na­tional co-​​op. To help them max­i­mize their expe­ri­ences, we asked six stu­dents who have done global co-​​ops to share the wisdom they’ve cul­ti­vated from having lived and worked abroad.

evan_bruning_300Evan Bruning, SSH’17, who worked on inter­na­tional co-​​op at the Office of the High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Bosnia and Herzegovina:

Read up on the country’s cul­ture and the lifestyle, but be pre­pared to expe­ri­ence some­thing very dif­ferent from what you’re accus­tomed to. To make new friends and cul­ti­vate con­nec­tions, join a meet-​​up group or go out for dinner with your col­leagues. When I was working at the Office of the High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, my col­leagues were really open and honest and gave me some fan­tastic career advice. And don’t be afraid to take the ini­tia­tive; two months into my inter­na­tional co-​​op, I began orga­nizing weekly meet-​​up ses­sions, which helped me get to know many other young people.

Aline_300Aline Bis­sell, DMSB’17, who worked on inter­na­tional co-​​op at JVWEB, an e-​​marketing agency in France:

Talk with your col­leagues out­side of the work set­ting and see if your man­ager would be willing to be a kind of cul­tural advisor for you. But don’t put too much pres­sure on your­self and give your­self time to adjust to your new envi­ron­ment. Join an activ­i­ties group or ask the Global Expe­ri­ence Office to con­nect you with other North­eastern stu­dents who might be working or studying in the same country.

It’s an amazing thing to have a group of people you can reach out to, with per­spec­tives from all over the world.
— Kara Morgan, SSH’17

montanaMon­tana Fredrick, SSH’17, who worked on inter­na­tional co-​​op at Guest­ToGuest, a home exchange com­pany in France:

Develop a deep rela­tion­ship with your co-​​workers, and try to find one or two people within the com­pany who can advo­cate for you and teach you as much as pos­sible. When you’re out of the office, walk around and explore your neigh­bor­hood. Go gro­cery shop­ping and visit museums or other attrac­tions to famil­iarize your­self with the country’s nuances.


Mohit Bhardwaj, E’17, who worked on inter­na­tional co-​​op at ASML, a semi­con­ductor man­u­fac­turing com­pany in the Nether­lands, and blogged about the experience:

Taken from the cleanroom environment where most of the testing and implementation at ASML carried out.

Bhardwaj in ASML’s clean room envi­ron­ment, where most of the company’s testing and imple­men­ta­tion takes place.

Arrive ready to dive into a new cul­ture and meet new people—and don’t shy away from asking the locals for help. Have con­fi­dence in who you are, and share where you’re from with your col­leagues. You didn’t go abroad to iso­late your­self in your room, so go out and approach others. When I was on co-​​op in the Nether­lands, I worked with a lot of people who were a little bit older and went home to their fam­i­lies after work. So, to meet new friends, I went to the food court and struck up con­ver­sa­tions with sev­eral groups of interns. You might be a bit scared at first, but you should always travel with an open mind.

Arrive ready to dive into a new cul­ture and meet new people—and don’t shy away from asking the locals for help.
— Mohit Bhardwaj, E’17

audrey_penceAudrey Pence, SSH’17, who worked on co-​​op at the Fuller Project for Inter­na­tional Reporting in Turkey and then dis­cussed her expe­ri­ence with news@Northeastern:

Keep an atti­tude of adven­ture above all else. From my own expe­ri­ence, you’ll likely face a series of obsta­cles to over­come. How­ever, you will come away with so many lessons and so much more con­fi­dence in your own ability to adapt to dif­ferent cir­cum­stances. Make sure to appre­ciate the trials because they will cer­tainly serve you in the future, and although you may not be able to con­trol some of the sit­u­a­tions you will find your­self in, try to main­tain a pos­i­tive atti­tude and see the lessons in every experience.

Kara_morganKara Morgan, SSH’17, who worked on inter­na­tional co-​​op at the Cam­bo­dian Center for Human Rights and the Orga­nized Crime and Cor­rup­tion Reporting Project in Bosnia and Herzegovina:

Stay away from your com­puter as much as pos­sible; it’s easy to watch movies on your laptop when you’re bored, but try to get out­side and meet new people instead. Get to know your co-​​workers and ask them ques­tions with gen­uine curiosity and lack of judg­ment; they’re from the area and can likely give advice on what it’s like to live there. Going on inter­na­tional co-​​op is kind of like hit­ting restart button on life, and it can be hard to start over. But there are a lot of people out there willing to help out.

Once you leave your inter­na­tional co-​​op behind, remember to stay con­nected to the people you have met. You never know when you will have the chance to see them again in person, but it’s an amazing thing to have a group of people you can reach out to, with per­spec­tives from all over the world. If you have the oppor­tu­nity, don’t hes­i­tate to return the favor and share your own lessons learned.