Stories. Advice. Experience! 🌍
We recently caught up with #NDSUintern Jasmin Kaempfer who opened up about her time as an intern at NDSU, the doors that it opened for her, and the lessons she learned along the way. Read what she had to say about perseverance, authentic connections, and the challenges that can sometimes accompany being an international student.
- How did your internship experience influence not only your college years – but the time after you graduated? 🎓
I believe having internship experiences, or any work experience, is critical to the success of a college graduate. Not only do internships provide a platform for real-life applications of knowledge learned in the classroom, they are also a door to opportunities. Obviously, how many connections you need depends on your major, but specifically for business students, internships are important to gain a foothold in the community.
Throughout my college years, I did three internships. The first internship was in an industry that I wasn’t quite interested in, but I still learned a lot about how to run a successful business. It was the first time that I was expected to work full-time which was hard at first. But I also learned that hard work will be rewarded as I was the winner of the internship competition that the company was holding.
The second and third internships were at a company that I had heard about from my international student advisor. The company was also present at the NDSU Career Fair and because I was already in the company, we had a great conversation that day. I was invited for an interview and started the internship a few weeks later. After the summer, I spent a semester abroad, but I reached out to them again when the spring semester was approaching. I was offered a different position. This is were connections come into play again. I was offered another position and was hired without an interview or without any further questions because the company had already gotten to know me and knew my work ethic. Throughout the semester, I got to know people from the parent company. I had a great conversation with the people there and was asked “What do you want to do?” They had a position open that I was really interested in and based on my answer, I was referred to a hiring manager in the strategic marketing/business development department. I had to go through the interview process, but I believe that having someone refer me helped in getting me that interview in the first place.
Going through an internship experience helped me figure out what I want to do. Many college majors allow you to do so many things and it is hard to figure out where to start a professional career. Internships can teach you what you want and also what you don’t want in a job.
- Were there any special ways that being an international student affected your internship journey? ✈️
I believe it is sometimes harder for international students to find a position. I have had an interview before where the second question for me was “Are you an international student?”. The interviewer also ended the conversation right away when I said “yes”. In that moment, I didn’t know why I was even invited to an interview in the first place because the interviewer was clearly not interested in my qualifications. I never hid my status whenever I applied to a company because I want to be honest with potential employers, but my experience shows that not all companies are willing to hire international students.
- Any special advice to share – particularity for other/future international students? 💭I would advise international students to be informed about the rules and regulations that apply to international students. If you are interested in doing an internship, talk to your international advisor about your eligibility and options. So when you are in that situation where employers are concerned about your status, you can clearly explain to them what it means to hire an international student. Educating employers is what you can do and if they are still not willing to hire you, look for a company where your skills are appreciated.I would also suggest that students, international and domestic, should be open to opportunities that might not be as attractive at first sight. Sometimes people are too focused on working for the big companies with famous names, but a smaller company can offer great opportunities too. Sometimes the smaller companies are more willing to go the extra mile to hire you.