Wednesday, July 6, 2022

International students want to intern and build a career here, but they don’t have a network.help here

Every year, thousands of international students come to Canada. Although many come from ordinary families, they pay exorbitant tuition fees not only for the opportunity to study in this country, but also for the possibility of starting a life here. However, the reality of their decision may be in stark contrast to the dream. They face daunting challenges, relentless schedules and social isolation, and are often vulnerable to exploitation by employers and others. In a new series, “The Hard Lesson,” we examine whether Canada is haggling with these students.

As an international student, Pat Chaisang prides herself on having secured multiple internships in Canada, some of which are paid, to the envy of her Canadian-born peers.

Her ambitions and career plans didn’t wait until graduation, but when she entered Simon Fraser University’s Business School. With limited understanding of the Canadian job market and lack of professional networks, international students have fallen behind domestic students in the starting line, she said, and there is still a lot of work to be done in pursuit of a successful career.

Where these students come from, graduating with honors may be enough to land a dream job, but here, having so-called Canadian experience and mentors is key to getting them through the door, said Chaisang, who graduated in 2018 with a degree in Marketing and Entrepreneurship Professional Bachelor of Business Administration.

“A lot of international students come here with no idea about job hunting. She almost has to talk to them like a high school student because they’ve never worked before,” said the 26-year-old Vancouver woman. The largest telecommunications company.

“You don’t have anyone to guide you or even connect you to someone. You have to figure it all out on your own. No one in my circle makes VoIP calls or just chats with people over coffee.”

So in 2018, Chai Sang started posting on the social app Meetup, inviting international students to coffee or free pizza, sharing their experiences, offering each other emotional support, and seeing what they could do to help others like them.

“I’ve witnessed a lot of international talent being underutilized because we’re often content to be below your abilities and qualifications,” she said. “Admittedly, finding a job in a new country is not an easy task. I know there are things that need to be done.”

During the mentoring process, Chai Sang met other people in Canada who were doing the same thing and had the same vision of closing the gap in the career development of international students.

In addition to working in telecommunications, Chaisang is today the CEO and co-founder of Isempower, Canada’s first job search platform and talent marketplace dedicated to international students. The company’s name stands for “International Student Empowerment”.

The recently launched platform connects international students from colleges and universities across Canada with employers, while providing networking and mentoring opportunities and sharing resources to help members find meaningful careers in their adoptive families.

It also provides free access to training videos, templates and worksheets. There is a fee-based bootcamp-style program that provides participants with hands-on training from recruiters, hiring managers, and career coaches on how to get a job offer and stand out as an international candidate.

To date, more than 10,000 international students and recent graduates and more than 70 mentors have joined.

As temporary residents, international students have limited access to the government help available to permanent residents; they rely on support from universities and colleges. While school career centers can offer advice on resume writing and guide students on how to prepare for interviews, they have limited ability to help international students network.

When Chai Sang first came to Canada, she didn’t even know what her resume was and couldn’t even find a job at a Thai restaurant in Vancouver. She quickly realized that just studying hard wouldn’t get her very far, and decided to apply for a co-op program.

At the advice of a job consultant, she cleaned up the grammar on her resume and even shortened her name from Pataracharin to Pat. When she still failed to find an internship, she flew back to Thailand to work as a marketing intern at a shopping mall so she could put something on her resume.

The next year, in 2017, she was interviewed for a summer partnership with property management company Ivanhoé Cambridge, but it was in Victoria, a long ferry ride from Vancouver. Although the hiring manager offered to interview her on Skype, Chai Sang insisted on doing the interview in person.

“I said, ‘I’m going to take the ferry to the interview in person.’ I’m really glad I did because it really showed how much I wanted it,” said Chaisang, who completed the four-month Contract work and now a permanent resident.

Her next paid internship was an 8-month contract with a digital marketing firm.

“I did the internship myself. They just created the position for me because I asked for one,” said Chaisang, who contacted the firm’s Simon Fraser alumnus six months before graduation, found at Best Buy Canada as a business specialist a full-time job. , she connected her with a manager who then introduced her to the hiring manager.

“International students need to learn the structure of how to get a job here.”

Getting good advice and learning from the experiences of others always helps reduce bumps, says Ramneet Brar, who came to Toronto’s George Brown College in 2015 to study accounting and is part of the Chaisang Isempower team.

Many international students are told they have to be in any job to get permanent residency before they can plan a career, but it’s too late and they’ve found work – in restaurants or security – which hinders their prospects, she said .

“I was talking to a student who was told, ‘You can’t get a career here until you go to a prestigious university. Trying to get into a big company is a waste of time, you should stick with these important jobs,'” 25 Brar, 19, recalls interning at one of the world’s largest accounting firms and now working as a senior consultant.

“They have a huge confidence problem and believe it’s your destiny here. They think it’s the status quo because no one told them there was another way to go about it.”

Brar said it’s important for international students to interact and connect with Canadians who can help them understand what’s going on here. It was one of her Canadian classmates, now a good friend, who introduced her to the accounting world and pushed her to apply for a co-op position with her current employer.

“It was because of the domestic students I met that I knew I was able to overcome this and understand how to do the job search the right way and how to focus more on skills than the fact that I was an international student. It all happened because of my exposure,” said Brar, who started blogging on LinkedIn in 2019, advising other international students.

“This is my way of giving back Tell a frustrated and hopeless international student that there is another way to do it. “

However, making these connections can be difficult when schools are already so busy and many domestic students have built their networks outside of the classroom.

“if I need to work, I need to pay my bills from day one and then study at the same time – of course I don’t spend a lot of time socializing with domestic students,” said Jaskaran Bedi, who came to the UBC MBA program in 2017.

“Domestic students already live in Canada, so it’s very challenging to break into their circles.”

Unlike some other countries, such as the US and Brady’s home country of India, where colleges and universities work closely with employers to provide employment opportunities, he said in Canada it is the student’s responsibility to forge their own connections – and employers expect candidates to be relevant Canadian experience.

“So even if you’re looking for an entry-level position, they’re like, well, do you have all these years of experience?” asked Bedi, 29, who met Chai Sang on LinkedIn in 2019 as Isempower Co-founder and COO.

“You need a chance to demonstrate that you can apply these skills (from school or volunteer work). It’s a chicken-and-egg question. If I don’t have a chance, how can I prove I can?”

Through mentoring from former international students, Isempower hopes to level the playing field for international graduates.

“There are a lot of people out there who shy away from asking for help. But it’s a very tight-knit online environment,” said Bedi, now a software product manager in Vancouver.

“You have to break in. You have to be busy. You have to show your enthusiasm to get the first chance.”

Nicholas Keung is a Toronto-based journalist covering immigration issues for The Star. Follow him on Twitter: @nkeung

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{“@context”:”http://schema.org”,”@type”:”NewsArticle”,”dateCreated”:”2022-04-04T07:00:00-04:00″,”datePublished”:”2022-04-04T07:00:00-04:00″,”dateModified”:”2022-04-04T07:00:00-04:00″,”headline”:”International students want to land internships and build a career here, but they donu2019t have a network. Help is here”,”name”:”International students want to land internships and build a career here, but they donu2019t have a network. Help is here”,”keywords”:”algolock,Breaking News Headlines,Business,Canada Latest News,Canada News,Canada Today,Careers,employment,immigration,InHouseArticle_thestar,international students,job seeking,Jobs,Labour,Latest News,Networking,News Online,NICRT1,Ontario Canada News,Resume,smg_canada,smg2_news,Today News Post,Toronto News,World News”,”url”:”https://todaynewspost.com/news/world/canada-news/international-students-want-to-land-internships-and-build-a-career-here-but-they-dont-have-a-network-help-is-here/”,”description”:”News Today || Canada News | Each year, thousands of international students come to Canada. Despite the fact that many are from modest backgrounds, they pay hefty tuition fees for the chance not just t”,”copyrightYear”:”2022″,”articleSection”:”Canada”,”articleBody”:”rnNews Today || Canada News |rnrnEach year, thousands of international students come to Canada. Despite the fact that many are from modest backgrounds, they pay hefty tuition fees for the chance not just to study in this country but, potentially, to start a life here. Yet the realities of their decision can stand in stark contrast to the dream. They face difficult challenges, unforgiving timelines and social isolation, and are often prone to exploitation by employers and others. In a new series, Hard Lessons, we look at whether Canada is living up to its bargain with these students.As an international student, Pat Chaisang prided herself on garnering multiple internships, some paid, in Canada u2014 to the envy even of her Canadian-born peers.Her ambition and career planning did not wait for graduation but showed themselves as soon as she enrolled herself in Simon Fraser Universityu2019s business school. With limited exposure to the Canadian job market and lacking professional networks, she said, international students are already behind domestic students at the start line in the race, and have a lot of catching up to do in their pursuit for a successful career.Where these students come from, graduating with good grades may be enough to land a dream job, but here, having the so-called Canadian experience u2014 and mentors u2014 is key in getting their foot in the door, says Chaisang, who graduated with a bachelor of business administration in marketing and entrepreneurship in 2018.u201cA lot of international students come here with no knowledge of job search at all. You almost have to talk to them like at a high-school level because theyu2019ve never worked before,u201d said the 26-year-old Vancouver woman, who came from Thailand in 2013 and now works as a product manager for one of Canadau2019s largest telecom companies.u201cYou donu2019t have anybody who can guide you or even connect you with someone. You have to figure it out all on your own. No one in my circle was doing networking calls or just the coffee chat with people.u201dSo in 2018, Chaisang began posting on Meetup, a social app, inviting international students for coffee or free pizza to share notes about their experiences, offer moral support to one another and see what they could do to help others like them.u201cI witnessed many international talents being underutilized as we are often settling for less than what you are capable of and qualified for,u201d she said. u201cIt is undeniable that job searching in a new country is not an easy task. I knew something needed to be done.u201dIn the process of mentoring, Chaisang came across others in Canada who were doing the same thing and shared the same vision of closing that gap in the career development of international students.Beyond her telecom job, Chaisang today is the CEO and a co-founder of Isempower, Canadau2019s first job-search platform and talent marketplace dedicated to international students. The companyu2019s name stands for u201cinternational student empower.u201d The recently launched platform connects international students from colleges and universities across Canada with employers, while offering networking and mentorship opportunities and sharing resources to help members find meaningful careers in their adopted home.It also offers access, for free, to training videos, templates and worksheets. For a fee, thereu2019s a boot-camp-style program that gives participants hands-on training from recruiters, hiring managers and career coaches on how to land a job offer and stand out as an international candidate.To date, more than 10,000 international students and recent graduates have joined, along with more than 70 mentors.As temporary residents, international students have limited access to the sort of government help available to permanent residents; they rely on their universities and colleges for support. While school career centres can advise on resumu00e9 writing and coach a student how to prepare for an interview, they have limited capacity to help international students network. When Chaisang first came to Canada, she didnu2019t even know what a resumu00e9 was and couldnu2019t even get a job at a Thai restaurant in Vancouver. She quickly realized just studying hard wouldnu2019t get her far and decided to apply to the co-op program.At the advice of a job counsellor, she cleaned up the grammar in her resumu00e9 and even shortened her first name from Pataracharin to Pat. When she still failed to land an internship, she flew back to Thailand to work as a marketing intern at a shopping centre so she would have something to put on her CV.The next year, in 2017, she got an interview for a summer co-op with Ivanhou00e9 Cambridge, a property management company, but it was in Victoria, a distant ferry ride from Vancouver. Although the hiring manager offered to interview her on Skype, Chaisang insisted on doing it in person.u201cI said, u2018Iu2019m going to take the ferry over to have this interview in person.u2019 I was really happy that I did that because it really just showed how much I wanted it,u201d said Chaisang, who nailed the four-month contract job and is now a permanent resident.Her next paid internship was an eight-month contract job at a digital marketing company. u201cI made my own internship. They just created the position for me because I asked for one,u201d said Chaisang, who nailed a full-time job at Best Buy Canada as a business specialist, six months before her graduation, by reaching out to a Simon Fraser alumnus at the company, who connected her with a manager, who then referred her to the hiring manager.u201cInternational students need to learn the structure of how to find jobs here.u201dGetting good advice and learning from othersu2019 experience always help make the path less bumpy, said Ramneet Brar, who came in 2015 to study accounting at George Brown College in Toronto and is part of Chaisangu2019s Isempower team.Many of the international students are made to believe that they have to take any job to earn their permanent residence before they can plan for a career, but then itu2019s too late and theyu2019ve taken jobs u2014 in restaurants or as security guards u2014 which hamper their prospects, she said.u201cI was talking to a student, who was told, u2018You can only make a career here if you go to a fancy university. Trying to get into a big company is a waste of time and you should stick with these essential jobs,u2019u201d recalled Brar, 25, who interned at one of the worldu2019s largest accounting firms where she now works as a senior consultant.u201cThey have an immense confidence issue and believe thatu2019s your destiny here. They think this is the way it is because no one is telling them that thereu2019s another way to go about it.u201dBrar said itu2019s important for international students to interact and network with Canadians, who can help expose them to how things work here. It was one of her Canadian classmates, now a good friend, who introduced her to the world of accounting and pushed her to apply to the co-op posting put up by her current employer.u201cIt was only because of the domestic students I met that I knew I was able to get over that and understand how to do a job search the right way and how to focus more on skills rather than the fact that I was an international student. It all only happened because of the exposure I had,u201d said Brar, who started blogging on LinkedIn in 2019 to give advice to other international students.u201cThis is my way of giving back by telling an international student whou2019s feeling disheartened and hopeless that thereu2019s another way to do it.u201dHowever, it can be hard to build those connections when school is already so busy and many of the domestic students already have their established network outside of the classroom.u201cIf I need to work and I need to pay my bills right from day one, and then at the same time study u2014 of course Iu2019m not going to spend a lot of time socializing with the domestic students,u201d said Jaskaran Bedi, who came in 2017 for the MBA program at University of British Columbia.u201cThe domestic students already have a life in Canada, so breaking into their circle is also extremely challenging.u201d Unlike some other countries such as the United States and Bediu2019s native India, where colleges and universities work closely with employers for job placements, he said here in Canada the onus is on the students to make their own connections u2014 and employers expect candidates to arrive with related Canadian experience.u201cSo even if youu2019re looking for an entry-level role, theyu2019re like, OK, do you have all these years of experience?u201d asked Bedi, 29, who met Chaisang on LinkedIn in 2019 and is Isempoweru2019s co-founder and COO.u201cYou need to get the opportunity to prove that you can apply these skills (from school or volunteer work). Itu2019s a chicken-and-egg problem. If I donu2019t have the opportunity, how do I show that I have the skill?u201dThrough mentorship by former international students who have made it, Isempower hopes to create a level playing field for the international graduates.u201cThere are a lot of people out there who shy away from asking for help. But itu2019s a very closely knit environment of a network,u201d said Bedi, now a software product manager in Vancouver.u201cYou have to break in. You have to hustle. You have to show your enthusiasm to get that first opportunity.u201dNicholas Keung is a Toronto-based reporter covering immigration for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @nkeungJOIN THE CONVERSATION Anyone can read Conversations, but to contribute, you should be registered Torstar account holder. If you do not yet have a Torstar account, you can create one now (it is free)Sign InRegisterConversations are opinions of our readers and are subject to the Code of Conduct. 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