International students who hope to find a career in the U.S. should take Echo Wang's advice to, "get out of your comfort zone and make new friends!"
Ms. Wang addressed a large audience of UF students, faculty and staff on November 8 in the Malcolm Dining Room. Coordinated by Dr. Chris Moser, College of Education, Ms. Wang's visit served as helpful career advice for international students.
While working as a journalist in her native Xiamen, China, Ms. Wang decided she'd like more of a challenge and enrolled at Michigan State University to pursue a degree in public relations. Her first American internship was with United Way of Greater Toledo.
"I made a point of making American friends, even though it was easier to just choose friends from China," she added. "I attended all the events I could, because I knew I could meet someone who might offer me a job."
Her efforts came to fruition when she "networked" at a United Way event and was connected with Rudolph Libbe, Inc., Toledo. The large company was participating in the Five Lakes Global Economic Forum and needed someone with Echo's language and PR skills.
"I was hired in August and the Forum was in September," she remembered. "I had to learn a lot very fast, but it was a great experience."
Now serving as Libbe's Chinese business developer, Wang encouraged students in the audience to make themselves as valuable as possible to employers during their internships. She also told them to take the time to really think about what they ultimately want in a career and go for it.
"In addition to language skills, we all have something valuable to contribute to a company. Find out what that value is and work as hard as you can!"