College Leap De Anza hosts internship accelerator, brings international students together

College Leap @ De Anza held a virtual internship accelerator on March 12 to help international students secure an internship.

Helen Pang, a speaker at the event and De Anza College counselor for career services, said internships are important.

“When students graduate from college, employers are not just looking for good grades,” Pang said. “They’re also looking for internships, work, or other activities that demonstrate experience in the field.”

Pang said students must use interviewing strategies and creative cover letters and resumes to make their application stand out.

“There are ways that students can start building their application before even applying to their first internship,” Pang said. “Hackathons and personal projects for computer science majors, or class projects that are hands on and can demonstrate skills will work too.”

Three startups, Activly, Decode and Sizigi, attended and students were able to have face-to-face breakout room time with company representatives.

“As an international student myself, I learned a lot,” said Handy Pranata, president of College Leap @ De Anza. “I hope that a lot of other international students who attended the event could also benefit … and hopefully some could even land a position from one of the startups participating.”

Pranata added that the organization is focused on empowering community college students and that events like these help international students feel supported.

Business administration student Elena Burlanescu, 19, said the presentation helped her..

“The event was really helpful,” Burlanescu said. “I would always confuse CPT (Curricular Practical Training) with OPT (Optional Practical Training), but now I know which is which.”

Burlanescu said she enjoyed learning how to apply for both CPT and OPT, how to make resumes, and who to contact for further information.

“Being an international student is often confusing and we feel alone,” Burlanescu said. “It is hard to navigate the life here on our own, so this definitely helps.”

De Anza’s International Student Program holds workshops every quarter. A full schedule of upcoming events can be found here.