The indoor quad at the Curry Student Center had an international feel on Thursday night as students who have recently returned from overseas co-ops convened to share their experiences.
Northeastern’s inaugural International Co-op Fair gave about 30 co-op students the chance to tell their stories to peers considering experiential learning in a foreign country.
As part of its mission to prepare students for future success, Northeastern combines classroom learning with real-world experience in some 93 countries worldwide. About 300 students are currently on international co-op, a figure that international co-op director Ketty Rosenfeld expects to grow.
Co-op students who attend the fair represented dozens of countries from around the world, including Belgium, Ireland, Argentina, India, Switzerland, and Peru.
Nadia Aamoum, a fourth-year marine biology major, did her international co-op in a location many people have probably never heard: Seychelles, an island country north of Madagascar. While there, she conducted survey dives to monitor fish and coral populations and worked in a dive shop.
“It was awesome,” Aamoum said. “I got a lot of diving experience and it helped me figure out what I want to do in the future.”
The experiential-learning opportunity is paying off for Aamoum, who is currently enrolled in Northeastern’s Three Seas Program, which gives students the opportunity to spend a year studying marine biology in three different ecosystems.
Neelam Gopwani praised her international co-op with IUR Capital, an investment management house in London, where she learned about stocks and option trading from a hands-on perspective.
“It is an amazing co-op,” said Gopwani, a fourth-year finance and marketing major. “It was an overview of everything: marketing, communications, and finance. And that is going to benefit me in the future.”
Abhi Nangia graduated from Northeastern in the spring with a combined major in international affairs and anthropology and a minor in social entrepreneurship. He attended the fair to highlight co-op opportunities for current students at Reweave, his newly founded nonprofit social impact network that connects passionate people with social enterprises. The students, he said, will travel to Ghana next year in order to teach local businesses about media, operation, and business impact management.
“We are trying to create a movement,” Nangia said of Reweave. “People are always talking about being the change they want to see in the world, so let’s create an opportunity for people to do that.”
For students considering an international co-op, Thursday’s fair was about gathering information.
“We are trying to prepare now because as nursing majors we are going to be busier later on,” said first-year nursing major Phoebe Finneran, who spoke with students who did an international co-op at medical clinics in Peru.
Second-year mechanical engineering major Philip Zeng was looking for a co-op with an engineering firm and discovered an opportunity to work with General Electric in France.
“My ideal plan is to do my first co-op in Boston or the local area,” Zeng said, “but eventually I want to do an international co-op to take advantage of that global experience.”