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Maggie Fu

(she/her)
SFU Student Undergraduate
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication › Marketing | Communication, Art + Technology › Communication › Media Relations
Co-operative Education › Local Co-op

In my Co-op term during Summer and Fall 2023 at Fraser International College (FIC), I took on the role of a Student Arrival and Communication Counsellor, focusing on marketing and assisting new students in integrating into their academic and living environment in Canada. This experience enriched my communication and organizational skills, providing insights into the challenges faced by international students and shaping my perspective towards cultural differences.
Experience Details
Semester
Fall
Summer
Year
2023
Skills
Application and Interview Tips

My thorough preparation for the application at FIC reflects my commitment to securing this opportunity. I strategically approached each step:

Research: I conducted extensive research about the institution and gathered insights from friends studying at FIC. This dedication showcases my effort to understand the organization's culture and values.

Cover Letter Writing: Crafting my cover letter involved meticulous research, demonstrating my tailored approach to the application. This personalized touch was aimed at making my application stand out.

Advisor Consultation: Seeking guidance from my advisor highlights my proactive approach in utilizing available resources. Their assistance in content checking and editing strengthened the quality of my application materials.

Interview Preparation: Receiving an interview invitation was a significant achievement. My readiness for the interview, including advice and practice sessions with my advisor, demonstrates my commitment to presenting myself effectively during the selection process.

By incorporating insights from my network, utilizing advisor support, and investing time in preparation, I've set a strong foundation for a successful application process. Best of luck with your interview!

Introduction + Preparation
Previous Experience

My previous experiences align closely with the requirements of this position. As an international student, I possess a profound understanding of the various challenges faced by individuals studying abroad. Additionally, my proficiency in three different languages contributes to a diverse and adaptable skill set. I excel in utilizing social media and various tools, showcasing my ability to navigate modern communication channels. The interest of my supervisor in social media promotion further resonates with my skills. Consequently, I am delighted to have successfully secured this opportunity and look forward to making a positive contribution to FIC.

Preparation Tips for Future Students

Here are some tips for students preparing to apply for a similar position based on the information provided:

In-depth Company Understanding: Before crafting your application materials, thoroughly research the company's needs and values to ensure a strong alignment between your experiences and skills with their requirements.

Highlight Study Abroad Experience: If you are an international student, emphasize your study and life experiences abroad, particularly your profound understanding of the challenges other international students may face.

Emphasize Multilingual Background: If you possess a multilingual background, highlight this advantage, especially if the position involves interacting with individuals from diverse language and cultural backgrounds.

Showcase Social Media and Tool Skills: Emphasize your proficiency in using social media and various tools, especially if it is relevant to the requirements of the position.

Highlight Success Stories: When preparing for interviews, share past successful experiences where you secured similar opportunities, showcasing your practical abilities and adaptability.

Active Participation in School Activities: If feasible, actively engage in social activities at school, building positive relationships with peers and different departments, which may positively impact your performance during interviews.

During my Experience
Orientation and First Weeks

This role constitutes a newly established position within the organization, and as a result, a comprehensive formal training program has not been implemented. However, FIC does offer a specialized training initiative, specifically participation in a volunteer project at FIC—our flagship event each semester—the Orientation Ceremony. Through this engagement, participants acquire a nuanced understanding of the company's organizational structure, departmental responsibilities, and essential information pertinent to the role.

Day to Day

The primary objective of this position is to facilitate the seamless integration and adaptation of new students to the academic and social environment at Fraser International College (FIC) in Canada. In this capacity, my responsibilities encompass various key facets, including the planning and execution of online seminars, active participation in social media operations and outreach, as well as close collaboration with diverse departments within the institution to address any challenges new students might encounter prior to arrival. Furthermore, the role necessitates the timely completion of distinct tasks at different stages of students' progress, with a proactive approach to identifying areas for improvement. For instance, assisting students in clearing admission requirements before the start of the semester, aiding in the search for suitable accommodations, and maintaining effective communication with student intermediaries to provide updated visa information and relevant documentation promptly.

Learning and Adaptation

In the first co-op semester, we encountered challenges due to the absence of a comprehensive schedule and calendar, leading to considerable disarray in our tasks. Therefore, as the new semester commenced, we engaged in a two-week communication and discussion with our supervisor to establish clear roles and delineate the scope of work. This strategic planning ensured that there was no duplication of effort among team members throughout the subsequent months. Additionally, it prevented colleagues from simultaneously tracking the progress of the same student, avoiding inefficiencies.

Accomplishments and Challenges
Accomplishments:
  • We have successfully assisted over 1,000 students from around the world in reaching campus.
  • Additionally, within my professional scope, I have aided FIC in establishing initial social media accounts and content creation. Over the past three months, all content has been approved and is ready for release. Currently, the account has published the first batch of content, garnering over 2,000 likes and 1,000 followers.
Challenges:
  1. Diversity Management: Dealing with students from around the world may involve various cultural and language backgrounds. Ensuring effective cross-cultural communication could be a challenge, requiring clever approaches to accommodate different student needs.

  2. Approval Process: Mentioning that content has been approved suggests a potentially intricate approval process. Ensuring thorough approval before publication might require close coordination and time management to avoid delays.

  3. Social Media Interaction: While some success has been achieved, maintaining continuous interaction and engagement on social media is an ever-evolving field. Sustaining ongoing interaction and appeal may demand constant adjustment and strategy updates.

  4. Changing Student Needs: Different students may have varying expectations for services and support. Adapting to these changing needs may necessitate flexibility and timely feedback mechanisms.

  5. Content Creation Challenges: Sustaining interest and freshness in content on social media can be a challenge. Constant research and experimentation with new methods may be needed to keep the audience engaged.

Cultural and Environmental Observations

FIC places a strong emphasis on the adaptation and integration of international students, committed to providing comprehensive support and services. The team fosters a positive and dynamic working atmosphere, with many staff members representing diverse cultural backgrounds from around the world. Additionally, they organize various interesting team-building and office activities.

Social and Extracurricular Activities
  • The company organizes numerous outdoor team-building activities, each of which is highly enjoyable.
  • During various holidays, FIC hosts gatherings or competitions. (For example, Christmas parties, Halloween costume contests, Christmas office decoration competitions, etc.)
Wrap Up

Finally, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped me during my Co-op, especially my supervising tutor and colleagues. Their guidance and support enabled me to realize my full potential. I am also grateful to all the international students whose experiences and stories provided me with a rich learning resource.

Reflection & Tips
Reflection

Throughout my collaboration with team members, we identified instances where effective information dissemination was hindered by communication errors. To address this, I am committed to a more comprehensive approach in the future, ensuring that information is conveyed through diverse channels. I plan to explore various communication formats, including videos, graphic emails, and group discussions, to cater to the diverse needs of new students. This collaborative experience underscored the nuanced nature of communication, emphasizing not only information transmission but also the imperative of ensuring recipients comprehend and apply the information.

Moreover, this collaborative initiative has profoundly reshaped my perspective. Previously, I may not have fully considered the difficulties international students face when arriving in a new country. Engaging with them has provided me with a profound understanding of cultural disparities, language challenges, and the hurdles of acclimating to a novel environment. This heightened awareness underscores the necessity of respecting and acknowledging the unique backgrounds and experiences of others.

Most Valuable Aspects of This Experience

Skill Development: The internship provided an opportunity to enhance communication and organizational skills, crucial for effective planning and execution of tasks.

Cultural Awareness: Interacting with international students deepened understanding of cultural differences, language barriers, and the challenges of adapting to a new environment.

Real-World Application: The internship offered hands-on application of theoretical knowledge, particularly in marketing and communication within an educational setting.

Teamwork and Coordination: Collaborating with various departments highlighted the significance of teamwork and cross-departmental coordination in achieving common goals.

Project Management: Leading projects, such as social media operations, provided insights into effective project management, including strategic planning and problem-solving.

Connection to Academic Studies or Career Goals

Communication Skills: The improved communication skills gained during the internship align with academic studies, especially if they involve coursework related to public relations, communication, or marketing. Effective communication is a valuable skill in various academic and professional contexts.

Marketing and Outreach: The role in marketing and social media operations directly relates to academic studies in marketing or business. The hands-on experience in crafting compelling posts and designing engaging content contributes to practical knowledge in the field.

Project Management: Leading projects, such as social media operations and online seminars, connects to academic studies focused on project management. Understanding how to plan, execute, and adapt projects is beneficial for future academic and professional endeavors.

Advice for Future Students

Understand the Importance of Intercultural Communication: Given the diverse backgrounds of international students, it's crucial to understand and respect cultural differences. Developing cross-cultural communication skills will help in effectively engaging with students from around the world.

Remain Flexible and Patient: New students may face various problems and difficulties. Being flexible and patient is crucial to adapting to different situations and providing effective solutions. Continuous communication and support will help new students overcome challenges and integrate smoothly into study and life.

Don't Hesitate to Ask for Help: When faced with challenges or difficulties, be bold in asking for help. While independence is valuable, recognizing when to seek guidance from managers or colleagues is an important skill.

Explore Different Communication Methods: Different students may have different preferences for receiving information. Explore various communication forms such as videos, graphic emails, or group discussions to meet the diverse needs of new students.

Develop Problem-Solving Skills: Embrace challenges as opportunities to develop problem-solving skills. This will not only benefit you academically but also in your future career.

Author

Maggie Fu

(she/her)
SFU Student Undergraduate
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication › Marketing | Communication, Art + Technology › Communication › Media Relations
Co-operative Education › Local Co-op
visibility  290
Feb 1, 2024