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Students share global co-op experiences

The Curry Student Center Indoor Quad transformed into a global co-op networking portal on Tuesday night, when 130 students connected with some three dozen of their peers who convened to discuss their recent international co-op experiences.

The young global citizens shared co-op stories and advice at the event, which was organized by Northeastern’s Global Experience Office.

Caroline Fried, SSH’17, a fourth-year student studying international affairs and history, worked in China  earlier this year as a teaching assistant at the Dandelion School, which serves hundreds of students from low-income migrant families.

FRIED’S ADVICE for her peers considering global co-op: “Take every opportunity that comes to you. Being immersed in another culture makes you challenge your assumptions and learn new perspectives.”

Take every opportunity that comes to you. Being immersed in another culture makes you challenge your assumptions and learn new perspectives.
—Caroline Fried, SSH’17

Mechanical engineering student Tom Boutin, E’17, also worked in China. For his second co-op, he worked for Eastek International, a U.S. based contract manufacturer with an office in a small factory town in Guangdong. His co-op involved managing project schedules and working on business improvement projects.

Boutin, who spent his first co-op at iRobot in Bedford, Massachusetts, said it was useful for him to compare the engineering and business processes he experienced in the U.S. and abroad.

BOUTIN’S ADVICE for his peers considering global co-op: “Just go for it. This experience will really make you stand out.”

History major Will Shields, SSH’16, worked in the Netherlands at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, a United Nations court of law focusing on war crimes that took place during the conflicts in the Balkans in the 1990s. It was a “dream co-op” for Shields, blending his interest in criminal law with a previous experience he received while on a Dialogue of Civilizations program in the Balkans. On his co-op, Shields primarily focused on doing legal work and research for prosecutors.

SHIELDS’ GREATEST TAKEAWAY from this co-op: “I’d say developing a legal mindset to be able to argue both sides of the same issue. This co-op made me realize that I want to go to law school.”

Stella Yun, S’15, a fifth-year biology student, spent four months last year working at Leibniz University of Hannover in Germany. Her co-op, which focused on academic research in biochemistry, enabled her to work in plasma cloning and learn new molecular biology techniques for isolating and analyzing DNA and proteins.

YUN’S LASTING THOUGHT on global co-op: “This was my first co-op in a research lab, and it was really great being able to apply what I’ve learned in a real-world setting.”

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