International Students Tend to Stay in US after Graduation
Intern. Students stay longer after graduation
September 17, 2004 3:41 PM
Kveta Kneprova loves linguistics. A lot. She spends a great deal of time in the realm of words and syntax.
“I am not afraid of [English] grammar,” she said.
Kneprova, 28, will acquire her M.A. in English next Spring, and her plans for the future look promising – though not without concerns.
Despite a lackluster job market and rising tuition fees, SF State international students plan to stay in the country long enough to get job experience and to get an advanced degree in their field.
The decision to stay in the country after graduation is not unique to SF State international students, according to Career Center Director Jack Brewer. He said students spend a year in the U.S. after getting their degree to gain experience in their careers.
Serena Mars, 21, a marketing major from France graduates in December and talked about her plans after graduation.
“I am going to do an internship in New York,” Mars said. Six or seven months afterwards, she will move back to France. Mars said her experience at SF State was not a great one; though she recognized this is a good school, she said that it is not “above average.”
Thomas Vieilledent, Mars’ boyfriend also from France agreed. Vieilledent, 24 and a Business Administration major who graduates next Spring, said that he got better grades here than in France because education at SF State is a “bit too low compared to other schools in California.”
However, he has found opportunity at SF State.
“I’ll go to Southern California to work for a surf clothing company,” Vieilledent said. He also said that he has friends in that company, which has headquarters in France.
His decision to get back to his home country is a calculated one.
“If I can get a good job opportunity, I’ll move back to France,” Vieilledent said. He later said that money is one of the main reasons why he would stay longer in the United States.
But getting money and job experience after graduation are only part of a more complex situation international students confront when it comes to making a decision to stay in the U.S. or return to their countries of origin.
“If their country is politically unstable, as in the case of Eritrea, they’ll stay in the United States,” Said Sophie Clavier, Graduate Director and Advisor of the International Relations Department.
She said that sometimes students’ parents move to the U.S. and prompt changes in immigration status.
At SF State, nearly 600 international students graduate every year, said Dr. Yenbo Wu, Director of the Office of International Programs,
Business is their preferred major, followed by science and engineering.
Wu said that “nobody knows what they [international students] do after graduation,” referring to whether those students remain in the country looking for jobs, or if they move back to their homeland. “It varies from case to case,” he said.
“They don’t tell,” Dr. Wu said. They do if they are asked.
Shiho Kawamura, 23, a biology major from Japan who graduates in three semesters, is planning her future early.
“I am going to get a master’s degree and then a Ph.D. maybe in Oregon,” she said.
Kawamura who is already working on a research project with her teachers said that her research provides her with more knowledge and opportunity in her field.
Whether to stay in the United States or get back to Japan is not a difficult decision. “It doesn’t really matter,” she said, “[because] Japan has very good research programs.”
Kawamura also said that being an international student is difficult because “tuition is higher every year and we cannot dropout.”
Kveta Kneprova, who is from the Czech Republic was attending Monterrey Institute of International Studies but realized the school was “very expensive.”
“This program [Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages at SF State] was more practical, and for me was very good to focus on practice,” Kneprova said.
The San Jose resident also said that she is concerned that after getting her M.A. in English she might not be able to land a job “because I am a not native speaker.”
“Getting a job it’s a market-driven decision, it’s the economy,” said Jack Brewer of the Career Center, commenting o the possibilities of international students applying for jobs.
“To me,” Brewer said, “international students are not foreigners.”
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