International Student Launches Career Networking Site Mapis – VOA Learning English | Region & Cash

Diana Vicezar, from Paraguay, is beginning her third year at Pitzer College in Claremont, California.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Vicezar was unable to come to the United States. She spent her freshman year of college studying video in the South American country.

During that time, Vicezar said she spoke to over 100 international students studying in the United States. She found that many had difficulty searching Internships or working. Aside from visa restrictions, schools lack resources for professional development.

Some were unaware of the optional hands-on training program, or OPT. It is a US government program that allows international students to stay in the US for an additional year after graduation and work in their field of study.

“I met a lot of students who didn’t know OPT or how to do an Americanstyle continuewho didn’t know who to turn to for help. And they have to go back to their countries because they didn’t have enough time to work on theirs applications or research because it was too late.”

At this point, Vicezar began work on a website designed to help international students with internships and job hunting in the United States

After almost two years, Mapis was launched last February. The site is currently open to a small number of users. Vicezar said she hopes to make it available to all international students later this year. And she’s building the website while working on an internship program at tech company Meta.

Students can join the Mapis community using their school email address.

importance of networking

One pro who knows what it’s like to be an international student is Eunkyu Lee, who arrived from South Korea in the 1980s. Today he is a professor and director of the business school at Syracuse University.

Lee said many international students know that if they want to stay in the US, they will have a harder time finding a job than American students. Therefore, they learn about visas and work programs early on.

He said it’s a good idea to join a networking group focused on international students like Mapis, along with a more general service like LinkedIn.

“If you don’t have something like that network or maintenance, then the only resource you may have is just the official job posting that gets hundreds of resumes. … And that’s where it can be really difficult for international students to stand out.”

Vicezar agreed that it’s important for international students to hear from successful people who were once new to the US. This helps them feel more confident in their own abilities. In 2022 Mapis organized several online gatherings To connect students with professionals from the fields of business, journalism and technology.

Importance of learning English

Vicezar told VOA that learning English changed her life. She said she wouldn’t be where she is today without one scholarship from the English Access micro-scholarship program in Paraguay.

“I always say, you know, I was born again when I was 15 when I got this scholarship. … My whole life changed after that. Coming to the US for college also opened other doors for me like the internship I’m having right now and also making Mapis. So yes, I always do motivate people learning English.”

Vicezar also attended Education USA Academy at Temple University in Philadelphia for a summer, where she lived and studied with American and other international students.

In addition to STEM, or subjects in science, technology, engineering, and math, Vicezar wants Mapis to be a place where international students can learn about business, social programs, and government.

In fact, the Syracuse professor Lee said community projects are a great way for international students to expand their networks and learn to work with Americans.

“It may not be directly related to their major or directly related to their internship or career opportunity that they are pursue. But experiencing for yourself that they can add value to the community in US society is, I think, a very important part of developing their own self-identity and confidence.”

Vicezar agreed. “Once they go back to their countries, they usually make a lot of money A hit,” She said.

I’m Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell wrote this story for Learning English.

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words in this story

Internship-n. an opportunity for students to gain work experience, often during college

style-n. the way something is done

continue-n. a short document describing your education, work history and accomplishments that you give to an employer

application-n. an application to be considered for something like admission to school or a job

network-n. a group of people who are connected to each other, often in the same work area

mentor-n. an experienced individual who can provide guidance and support

scholarship-n. Money given to someone to pay for school or an educational experience

motivate-v. to give someone energy or encouragement to do something

pursue-v. the act of chasing or pursuing something

A hit-n. make a difference or have an effect or change something

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