Student Spotlight: U of M Students Working Abroad

By looking at all of the work that University of Michigan students have uploaded to their truApps, it is very evident that there is a lot of talent present at the University.  Today, we look at several students who have taken their talents across the world.  It has become more and more common for students to study abroad as well as work or intern in cities or countries outside of their comfort zones. Students do so to immerse themselves in different cultures and explore what othe cities have to offer. Check out what some students are working on this summer!

Olivia Mariani

Tarrence van As

Charlotte Laffler

Haley Stevens

Q: Where are you working this summer? What do you do on a day to day basis?

Olivia: I’m working at HEC Paris, a business school with MBA, Masters in Management, and Executive Education. Each day I go to the office from 10-5, and I have work on short-term projects assigned to me from the development manager at the school. Right now I am working on a project on how to develop HEC’s presence in North America by reaching French teachers, International Centers, and Business and Student organizations. I am developing a presentation on specific ways to increase this presence and make HEC’s programs competitive in the US, as they are ranked #1 in Europe but not a popular choice among American business students. I’ve also worked on social media and online development as well as how to improve campus life.

Tarrence:  I’m interning at Samsung Electronics in Suwon, South Korea. I’m working within the Mobile Services R&D dept.  and developing an education solution for Samsungs Android tablets called Smart School. I get on campus (called “The Digital City”) around 8am, grab breakfast (we get fre breakfast/lunch/dinner), and am in my office by 8:20. I spend most my day developing different components for Smart School. The environment is pretty laid back and I work independetly for the most part. I grab lunch with some other interns or my team and take a coffee break in the afternoon sometimes (Koreans live off coffee, the campus has probably 10 different cafes). I spend about 9hours in the office and get back to my hotel around 630.

Charlotte: This summer I’m working in Brooklyn New York for Living City Block, an urban planning organization that designs systems on a block scale level to focus on energy and resource efficiency, storm water management, and community connectivity. My main project will be using the systems, data, and maps the organization used in Denver and applying them to neighborhoods in Brooklyn in hopes of making industrial areas more resource-efficient. It’s a long-term project, but I’m happy to be contributing this summer! Additionally, I’m doing similar work with the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, a project to redevelop 14 miles of the Brooklyn waterfront.

Haley:  I studied abroad/ was a research assistant in Zambia. My team helped a professor for the University of Michigan on her research project. It was called TMI, (Trusted Messenger Intervention) which aims to help educate about HIV and AIDS through a biological perspective by targeting clergy members of the AMEC (African Methodist Episcopal Church). By educating them and teaching HIV AIDS as a medical issue and not a moral issue, we hope they will educate their parishes to help increase awareness and VCT (voluntary counselling and testing) to get rid of HIV/AIDS. My work varied daily but in general we traveled around Zambia to AMEC churches and held 2 day workshops for church leaders.

Q: How did you find your current job or internship?

Olivia: I found the internship through a program called CIBER, which is affiliated with Ross. Students can apply for a number of international jobs depending on their country of interest.

Tarrence: I found this internship and applied directly through Samsungs website.

Charlotte: I learned about both jobs through my internship last summer with the Regional Plan Association, also in New York. Both of these projects were initiatives that RPA was interested in, so this I contacted the organizations directly and explained how I learn about them. After a handful of interviews with different members of the organizations, I was offered the position.

Haley: The professor who is head of the project came into my virology lecture to tell us about the project and how to apply to be a part of it.


Q: What do you like best about the city you’re interning in?

Olivia:  What I like best about Paris is that it’s easy to get lost! Paris is huge, separated into arrondissements and it would take weeks to experience the whole city on foot. Getting lost sounds like it would be scary, but it’s actually the best thing you can do living in a city like Paris. When you’re not looking, you can easily stumble upon things you wouldn’t have otherwise found, such as unique shops, delicious bakeries, or hidden cafés away from the bustling streets. There is also so much to appreciate here when the city is in bloom, because there are tons of parks with endless flowers where you can sit and have a picnic.

Tarrence: There isnt much to do in Suwon but its only 45mins from Seoul so I go there most weekends. Its cool to be immersed in a completely different culture and to get to travel Korea for the 3months I’m here. Korean food is pretty good too, they have these BBQ things where u cook meat at ur table, fun to go to with friends. And living in a five star hotel is definitely as awesome as you’d imagine

Charlotte: Brooklyn is an incredible place! There are so many great outdoor bars and restaurants, creative businesses, plenty of live music, and great views of Manhattan. You’re a ten minute subway from Manhattan too, where there’s always a ton going on, but Brooklyn is less crowded and a little more chilled out compared to Manhattan.

Haley:  We visited multiple cities, but the project was based in Lusaka, Zambia. My favorite part about Lusaka was the people in general and how alive the city was.

Q: Why should someone get a truApp?

Olivia: Truapp is very different from other social networks I’ve seen becuase it focuses on the professional side of a student but still lets them showcase who they are through their experiences. It’s a great way to set yourself apart for recruiters through visual proof of your accomplishments.

Tarrence: TruApp is a unique way to differentiate yourself in an increasingly competitive job market. It allows you to display skills that are hard to describe on a resume.

Charlotte: It’s nice to be able to send your profile to a potential employer, as they can get an idea of what you’re like both as a an employee and as a person. Many businesses and organizations, especially newer, urban ones, value the perspectives of their younger employees. Truapp also gives you a chance to set yourself apart from you grades and resume by allowing you to lay out your experiences in a more personable way.

Haley:  TruApp is nice because it gives people an opportunity to show employers things that they couldn’t typically put on a resume.


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