My name is Sophia Rupieper. I was an intern in the Central Penn Career Services Department for six weeks from the 18th of June to the 27th of July. When you read my last name, it probably does not sound familiar – that’s because I am from Germany. I was born and raised in a little town close to Cologne and I started my studies at the University of Applied Labour Studies in 2016. My study field belongs to the so-called dual system, which means I study for four months and then I get to transform my knowledge into real work situations. I attend a private university where I signed a contract for the university and a job at the same time. My future is already secured, I get paid from the university and I learn a lot about the labour market, business, public management, social and psychological processes. That knowledge helps me to counsel people who have lost their jobs, need to find a new one or want to start their own business.
In August 2017, I decided to apply at Career Services to challenge myself. I wanted to know if I would enjoy working with young people who are starting their careers. My cousin lives in the U.S. and I wanted to apply for an intern position close to Harrisburg, PA. I found the Central Penn College, watched the video of them explaining their work and immediately applied. The process of getting to the U.S. was a little bit difficult, but it was worth it. Steve Hassinger and his team were thrilled to have me as an intern. He told me that it was his very first experience with having someone from that far away work in his Career Services office. He was willing to fill out every paper that was necessary for the visa process because this is a big step before going to the U.S. After four months, I finally got my J1 intern visa and I was very happy to plan my trip to the U.S.
The next six weeks I learned so much about working with students. Steve Hassinger, Kristin Fike and Rubina Azizdin were showing me different aspects of their work. Steve Hassinger explained to me the importance of the mission and how the Career Services Department supports the students. I got to be part of webinars. I was sitting in the counseling sessions when the students had questions about their application process, and I learned about the different partnerships that companies and the university have. Rubina Azizdin and I went to the WeCan and other networking events, where I learned about how the Career Services promotes itself. I really liked the events and all the different institutions like the Young Professionals of Central Pennsylvania. Kristin Fike is the Internship Coordinator. I had the chance to be a part of the planning process of an internship fair. The internship fair took place at the end of my internship experience, and I had the chance to see how everything turned out. I also got to speak in front of classes to promote the internship fair, and I never had the feeling that my English was too bad to interact with others.
For my internship report, I did a survey for all the students and they were happy with how the Career Services supports them. The experience to do an internship abroad was the best decision for me. I improved my language skills, and I am so much more confident to speak and interact with people. I always felt like I was supporting Steve Hassinger and his team. Every day, I had different tasks and I enjoyed my time in the U.S. very much. I can always recommend to think outside of the box and maybe look for interns who live in a different country and to have internship positions. I was just looking and applying for internships and Steve Hassinger was not even looking for someone. I wish that more colleges and universities would have the opportunity for students to apply for the internship positions. My university (The University of Applied Labour Studies) has the opportunity to do the internships abroad and a lot of students of my year wanted to go to a different country. It can be a win-win situation for everyone.