The importance of intentionality
At the age of 16, Giulia Lins enrolled in a program called The Rotary Youth Exchange. This program allowed young, aspiring students to visit a new country for a period of time — but there was a catch. Students were placed randomly in one of three countries. Through a bit of luck, the U.S. chose Giulia, and she got to spend a year living in the state of Vermont.
So was it luck that landed Giulia in the U.S.? Maybe. Throughout her journey, Giulia has, time and time again, “stumbled” into fortunate circumstances, including her youth exchange program, peer mentorship opportunities, and even an OPT (Optional Practical Training) internship. Giulia actively seeks out new opportunities — it’s not so much a coincidence when you create your own luck. She says:
“My main advice is — be proactive about what you’re trying to do. Be intentional. Don’t just expect it to happen. Don’t just say, ‘I want to study in the United States,’ and then wait for help from your parents or somebody else — you need to be constantly active and proactive; you need to go after it because otherwise, it’s not going to happen.”
Giulia controls what she can control — when you do that, the world has a way of rewarding you for your hard work.
Here are other articles that can help you:
- What is the Difference Between OPT and CPT?
- Applying for an OPT
- Optional Practical Training and Internships
The importance of experience
After her youth exchange stay in Vermont, during which she fell in love with American culture, Giulia knew that she wanted to study abroad in the U.S. after finishing high school. Rather than jump straight to a four-year college, Giulia decided to complete her general requirements through Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon. After a bit of exploration during her first term, Giulia changed her major to business and continued working toward her associate degree.
In her last term at Lane Community College, through the college’s International Student Peer Mentor Program, she had the opportunity to start an OPT internship in the international office that eventually led to a year-long staff position as admission and staff-recruitment assistant. The OPT internship gave Giulia an opportunity to take a break before pursuing her bachelor’s degree to gain some real-world work experience (including some marketing work, which appealed to her because it combines aspects of business and creativity). The OPT provided a chance for Giulia to determine if this type of work was the right career path for her.
“OPT can bring everyone great benefits. It helped me understand who I am as a professional and as a person. It helped me understand my professional environment, my chosen market of business concentration. It helped me understand what my life would be like eventually. It helped me understand: how can I use the next two years of college to help me become a better professional? Because right now in the market, I know what they’re looking for. I’m in the market.”
Thanks to her OPT internship, Giulia gained the experience to embark on her next journey at the University of Oregon studying marketing. Best of luck, Giulia! Not that you’ll need it. :)
Use code GIULIA30 to save US$30 on your TOEFL iBT test when you register now through December 14, 2022. For more information, including terms and conditions, visit https://bit.ly/3gSQ6BF
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…
You can rewatch our informative Facebook Live session with Giulia Lins to hear her story in its entirety.
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