On Aug. 25th, George Washington University’s Employer Day program brought 11 graduate students from the GW Elliott School of International Affairs to the Ameson Foundation to learn about various internship and employment opportunities they might wish to pursue.
The visiting students had the opportunity to speak directly with Ameson employees to get practical answers and advice. Questions they asked included “How do non-profit organizations operate? What is the mission of the Ameson Foundation? What is the workplace environment like at the Ameson Foundation?”
According to Tina S. Gaddy, Associate Director of Employer Relations and Programming at The George Washington University Elliott Institute of International Affairs, the "Employer Day" field trip is designed to help students become familiar with a general industry or specific organizations. While visiting a company, students can gain knowledge about a specific career, learn more about the hiring process for internships or full-time positions, and become better prepared for interviews. By visiting a specific organization, students can understand more about its mission, the services it provides, and the roles and responsibilities of its employees. From an industry perspective, students are able to understand a company’s business model, recruitment process, and the skills and experiences they need to be a successful job candidate.
Xiao Zhou, a first-year graduate student at the Elliott School of International Affairs, came to GW from Shanghai because she was curious about the United States and wanted to experience life abroad. Through her contacts with Ameson's employees she made at the career field trip, she has acquired more resources to pursue future internships, which can help her accumulate work experience. Gaining work experience is especially important for students who want stay legally in the United States, who may be able to obtain a visa through employer sponsorship. Xiao is a student who wants to experience that process first-hand. She expressed concern that it can be difficult to obtain a visa depending on the professional field of work in the United States.
Wu Yan, an American-born student who is fluent in Chinese, said that Chinese students are highly interested in the location of Ameson’s offices, which are in the Ronald Reagan building quite near to the White House. They also like the fact that Ameson’s office operates in a bilingual environment. Students have been consulting with Ameson’s staff about the process of applying for internships and volunteer work, and appreciate the potential to use the Sesame Bridge platform to search for different career opportunities.
Executive Director Stephen Smith, Deputy Director Zhu Xiao Di, and Communications Manager Nathan Montgomery prepared a career presentation specifically tailored to the interests of the students who participated in the field trip. They related Ameson’s work with cultural exchange to U.S.-China relations and talked about how Ameson’s programs create a cultural bridge for students to learn about China while being informal ambassadors for the U.S.
Stephen Smith said, “For the students who want a career in teaching, participation in the Ameson Year in China (AYC) program is the perfect opportunity to gain experience in teaching as well as to learn Chinese, while experiencing Chinese culture.” The AYC program is a great way for recent graduates to jumpstart their careers in teaching.
The Elliott School Graduate Career Development Office has been organizing career field trips for 18 years. It is responsible for coordinating these field trips for graduate students, and for choosing prospective employers to visit. Most often, prominent organizations in the field of international affairs that have an interest in students’ career development are selected. Zhu Xiao Di noted that Ameson has been working with George Washington University for many years. Every year, there are some students from George Washington University that come to the Ameson Foundation as volunteers. Ameson is pleased to be able to provide a training platform for young people to enter the workplace.