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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Speakers give advice for foreign employment

The second annual International Careers Informational Fair will be held tomorrow and will provide students with the tools to better understand the international job arena.

The event is sponsored by the Career Center, the Office of the Executive Vice President, the International Studies Program and the Center of International Programs to help students conquer the difficulties associated with obtaining an international job.

The fair kicks off with a “Meet and Greet” session from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in room 315 of the Union. The session will focus on teaching students about internships and employment opportunities with the U.S. Department of State and the Foreign Service, said Celeste Robertson, assistant director of the Career Center.

Robertson has met countless students who want jobs in an international field, but don’t want to travel. The purpose of the “Meet and Greet” is to reinforce the fact that those opportunities are available.

“A lot of students don’t understand that the State Department has a lot of civil service jobs,” Robertson said. “Students can work and will not be required to travel.”

Representatives from organizations such as The World Bank, the American Translators Association and the Peace Corp will be at the fair. It’s an informational fair–not a job fair–and students will be given the information and knowledge to aid in their search for jobs overseas or a job with an international company.

It’s beneficial for students to attend the fair to gauge a better understanding of what it really means to work in the international arena, said Sally Raymont, director of education abroad.

“It’s a wonderful experience because unless the student has studied abroad, they probably have no idea what it would be like,” Raymont said. “It’s one more opportunity for students to look forward into their future.”

The featured speaker for the event is Deborah Schwartz, Senior Executive Foreign Service Officer and U.S. Department of State Diplomat at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and she will be presenting a lecture at 4:30 p.m. in Olscamp 101A.

As a senior Economic Officer in Mexico, Israel, Taiwan and Nigeria, Schwartz has been responsible for analyzing economic developments and negotiating with foreign governments to improve the business climate for American companies. She has also served as the Deputy Chief of Mission in Honduras and managed 500 American and Honduran employees.

Schwartz was asked to focus her speech on the importance of not only knowing what it takes but also having what it takes to get into the international arena.

A misconception many students face is that they can graduate and immediately start traveling with a company or move overseas.

Robertson hopes Schwartz’s discussion will help dispel some of those confusions. Robertson, who is also the chair of the planning committee for the international careers informational fair, is in charge of inviting companies and organizations to attend the event.

In talking with representatives, Robertson said they stress that students need to possess an understanding of the job domestically before working internationally.

“It takes three to five to seven years before they [businesses] look at employees,” Robertson said.

The one-day event will wrap up at with the actual career fair that will be held in 101B Olscamp from 6 to 8 p.m. Students will have the opportunity to speak with corporations, government agencies and non-profit organizations regarding their questions and concerns.

Many students don’t have any idea where to start. They don’t know what qualifications they need or who to talk to or what countries to pursue, Robertson said.

“We’re opening the information door to help students understand the possibilities,” she said. “It will allow students to understand the opportunities and how they can best pursue and consider them.”

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