Ghanaian study abroad student Bonsu came to the University of Central Florida (UCF) with a mission to build a network that would lead him to a successful career. In addition to working toward a business degree, with concentrations in economics and computer science, he also landed an internship at Siemens, a leading energy company.
Working on the supply chain side of the business, Bonsu says he gained knowledge above and beyond his coursework. The rewards are amazing, he says. Here are Bonsu’s tips on how you can land an internship of your own.
1. Utilize your resources
Before he landed his internship at Siemens, he worked with peer mentors in the Career Accelerator Program (CAP), Shorelight’s exclusive career development program for international students. “I would have my resume critiqued and make sure my LinkedIn was on point. They were people I could really talk to,” he says of his CAP advisors. This prepared him for the all-important step of networking.
If you’re a global student, the Career Accelerator Program is made for you. It can help guide you to get your internship, to go to grad school, anything you want to do.” — Bonsu, Business Administration 2020, UCF
2. Network and make connections
“Build a network,” he says. “It’s so important. When I applied for the job at Siemens, I had a friend who also worked there, another global student from UCF. When I applied, I asked if he’d recommend me, and he did. And then I got the job!”
When it comes to networking relationships, you have to nurture them, says the Ghanaian international student. “Don’t just add people – build relationships, because that’s when you’re able to ask them for help, advice, and guidance when you need it.” This leads us to his next tip:
3. Ask for advice
From his advisors and peers in CAP to his internship mentors, some of the most vital knowledge Bonsu received is the kind that gets passed from person to person.
“What I love most about my internship is the people I work with: great mentors, great coaches, great leadership,” he says. “They’re always ready to support me. It could be about school, about work, about life. They’re always there to give me advice to help me succeed.”
Want to know best piece of advice Bonsu received?
4. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
“Initially, I found myself pulling back a lot of times, even with things I knew, because I was scared of making mistakes,” the Ghanaian study abroad student remembers. “One of my mentors told me, ‘There’s a reason the pencil has an eraser on top.’ It’s perfectly fine to make mistakes. The most important thing is how you come back up, how you make it right.” Bonsu learned, when things get tough, to take the next step:
5. Embrace challenges
Between balancing his schoolwork and the important work he’s doing at his internship, there’s a lot to learn, and sometimes not enough time to do it all. But this hasn’t stopped him from working overtime to make his dreams happen.
“Challenges are good,” Bonsu says. “Challenges are one of the ways you can really learn.”
Ready to take on challenges of your own? Start at the University of Central Florida >