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Co-op and experiential opportunities expand globally

From the mountains of Tibet to the streets of Beijing, Northeastern students are increasingly finding co-op positions in businesses and non-profit organizations outside the United States.

According to the university’s Office of International Co-op Programs, during the current semester students are completing co-ops in 41 cities in 30different countries. This is supplemented by other experiential learning activities taking place abroad in a total of 85 cities outside the U.S.

“Here at Northeastern we have always believed that the best way to learn is to integrate study and practice, which is why co-op remains part of our DNA.” said President Joseph Aoun. “Our faculty and students realize that effective learning must also take place outside the classroom, whether it’s in Boston, Los Angeles or Singapore.”

This semester’s international co-ops span many different fields and industries, ranging from a computer science major working at IBM in China to students working in Tibet as physical therapists. There are several students working in finance jobs in London and Paris, as well as engineering students working in Vietnam and Saudi Arabia.

“Companies and organizations from all over the world continue to come to Northeastern because our students have a track record of making important professional contributions,” said Ketty Rosenfeld, director of international co-op programs. “There are also some fields, such as microfinance and sustainable energy, where there are more opportunities overseas than there are here in the U.S.”

The global expansion of co-op comes at a time when many students are preparing to line up jobs after graduation. According to a recent study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 76 percent of employers say that they prefer to hire students with relevant job experience, preferably from a co-op or meaningful internship.

As Northeastern prepares to celebrate 100 years of co-op during the2009-2010 academic year, many other universities are adding experiential learning to their curriculums. “Others are seeing what we’ve known for many years,” added President Aoun. “The world is too interesting to ignore.”

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