Alternative job opportunities tempt students at fair

By Olivia Garber

The Pitt Study Abroad Office will host an info session on alternative job opportunities from… The Pitt Study Abroad Office will host an info session on alternative job opportunities from 2 to 3 p.m. today in the William Pitt Union Ballroom.

Representatives from the Peace Corps, United Nations Volunteers, Japan Exchange and Teaching Program, AmeriCorps and Jumpstart will inform students about jobs that are “off the beaten path,” Lauren Scott, re-entry program coordinator at the Study Abroad Office, said.

Volunteer and teaching opportunities comprise the majority of the programs, the most typical of which being short-term programs. The Peace Corps has the longest stay at 27 months, but the average program lasts between six months and one year.

“The short-term opportunities are good for those who aren’t sure what they want to do after they graduate,” Scott said.

The info session will be conducted as a round table discussion. Representatives will spend five minutes with interested students before rotating.

Scott said gaining information is the first step for students contemplating working for companies represented at the info session.

“A lot of people say they want to join the Peace Corps, but they don’t know what that means,” Scott said.

The discussion targets students who have experience with study abroad programs, but all students are welcome.

“These volunteer opportunities will help them explore different cultures,” Scott said.

Although AmeriCorps and Jumpstart at Pitt are programs based in the United States, Scott said starting volunteer experiences at home can help with future experiences abroad.

“Some types of international opportunities can be not as feasible for students,” Scott said, adding that the programs operating in the United States are good opportunities for those who want to give back to their community.

Scott, who has studied abroad and participated in AmeriCorps, said, “I gained a lot from being abroad, and I wanted to help out at home.”

This is the first time the Study Abroad Office has hosted an info session about alternative job opportunities, although they have had panels with similar themes. Last semester, the Study Abroad Office had an international career panel that concentrated on nonprofit organizations with an international focus.

The Study Abroad Office chose to create this session because students who have studied abroad or are interested in doing so are often also interested in volunteer teaching opportunities abroad, Scott said.

For students on the hunt for a job, the info session also provides non-traditional experiences after graduation.

“With the job market right now, students are looking for different options,” Scott said. “[These programs] are a great way to expose students to opportunities abroad and add a stepping stone to their career.”

The info session is informal — it isn’t a job fair, and the representatives aren’t necessarily recruiting, Scott said. However, the presenters will provide contact information to attending students.

Students who have participated in the programs will also be present to answer questions about their experience, Scott said.