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New workshop helps graduating international students explore career options

What To Do After You Graduate covers career planning, goal setting, reverse culture shock, immigration status

Liliana Gonzalez speaks to University of Calgary international graduate students at the What To Do After You Graduate event.

As convocation approaches, students are going through the process of making important career decisions and planning what to do after graduation.

International students face unique challenges when considering their options, which can include deciding if they want to stay and work in Canada, apply for permanent residency in Canada, or go back to their home countries.

"Making a career decision when finishing a degree can be overwhelming for international students, especially when deciding where to permanently reside or where to gain work experience," says Liliana Gonzalez, an international career development specialist for Career Services. "However, by understanding their own unique values, strengths and skills, and by exploring and evaluating their options, international students will have a much better start to navigating the path to a fulfilling career."

Workshop helps international students make choices about life after university

To aid students in this process, International Student Services, Career Services, the UCalgary Alumni Office and the SU Wellness Centre collaborated to launch What To Do After You Graduate, a workshop to help students explore their post-graduation options.

More than 100 international undergraduate and graduate students attended one of the two workshop sessions on March 29 and 30.

The workshop covered topics such as making a career plan, goal setting, reverse culture shock, immigration status changes, and the benefits of being a UCalgary alumni. A representative from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) attended the workshop to answer questions and provide students with information about applying for permanent residence in Canada.

"Completing a degree in a foreign country is a huge accomplishment and many students want to stay in Canada to work upon the completion of their degree," says Brianna Huene, international student immigration specialist with International Student Services, who also presented at the session.

Also important for graduating students to keep in mind is their overall well-being as they make such a big transition, says Ahmed Ali, student Support adviser with the SU Wellness Centre.

"While students may not expect much adjustment and challenges going home, both research and experience show otherwise," says Ali. "Not only have they developed new habits, relationships and expectations during their time away, the country they call home may have changed during their time in Canada."

Plenty of ways to keep in touch with UCalgary after graduation

Regardless of where students decide to live and work after graduation, they are able to access UCalgary Alumni events and services that expand far beyond our Canadian borders. During the session students were encouraged to update their contact information to stay connected to the university.

UCalgary International students can receive free year-round immigration advising from a regulated immigration specialist at International Student Services from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday. Students can access all other wellness support at the SU Wellness Centre.

International students who are interested in further exploring their career options can take advantage of one of the many services and programs offered through Career Services for up to a year after graduation.