What do students look for at the Career Expo?

Where can I do an internship or get a job? The students attending the Career Expo seem to be more concerned with these questions than with University Rebellion's banners. Over the past two days, there were more than 180 companies to visit in Atlas and Auditorium this year.

photo Roy op het Veld

Despite some controversy surrounding University Rebellion’s demonstrations, the Career Expo drew large crowds, just like last year. In our conversations with attending students, no one seems to concerned with the occupation. Instead, they are concerned with their own mission: getting a job or an internship. How students approach the Career Expo varies greatly. Some have scheduled the entire day for it and come prepared with lists and checklists of potential companies. Others approach it more intuitively and take everything in at a more relaxed pace.

Internship seekers

Despite the event’s name, many of the students are not looking for a career yet. “I’m looking to find an internship because I’m only a first-year,” says Irene Lozano Gonzalez, who just started her Mechanical Engineering program. “But if I find an internship I really like, it might eventually lead to a job, of course,” she says hopefully.

Juan Pintado, a third-year bachelor’s student in Industrial Engineering, is also scouring Atlas and the Auditorium in search of internship opportunities. “I’m planning to do a master’s first before starting my career, so for now, I’m really just looking for an internship,” Pintado says. “Unless it can really be done part-time, in which case I could work alongside my studies,” he adds with a laugh.

Job seekers

In addition to all the internship seekers, there are also plenty of job seekers present. One of them is Prudhvi Gali, who recently graduated with a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. “I’m looking for a full-time job, he starts firmly. “The Career Expo is great because here you can get in direct contact with both the recruiters of a company, and the technical staff who can tell you about the projects in more detail.” He doesn’t have his eye on a specific company yet. “For now, I'm just looking at different companies.”

Ching-an Chen, a master’s student in Sustainable Energy Systems, takes a more focused approach in his search. He is specifically looking for large international companies. “I’m from Taiwan, so a work permit is very important for me,” he explains. There are several requirements for getting such a permit, also in terms of the company where students go on to work. “For smaller companies, this is often a problem.”

Not all students are as driven. “I’m in the last year of my master’s, but this is my first time here,” says a student who wishes to remain anonymous. “I’ll have to find a job at some point.”

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