Involvement is key to success for international student in Everett
“My classroom experience working with actual clients and industry professionals gave me hands-on knowledge and skills that better prepared me for my career,” Sapphire Chan said. The Washington State University graduate now puts that experience to work as the communications coordinator for Urban Architecture in Seattle.
Chan was part of the first graduating class from the WSU Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at the WSU Everett campus. She also earned a minor in hospitality business management from the WSU Carson College of Business.
The journey to WSU Everett
Holding her degree on the stage in Everett at commencement was a long journey for Chan, who is an international student from Hong Kong. In high school, she joined a 10-month exchange program through a study-abroad agency. Her senior year, she graduated from White River High School in Buckley, Wash.
Involvement was a key to her success, said Chan. At WSU Everett, she served a dual role as the secretary and a senator for the student government. “Being involved in student government gave me valuable leadership experience and a unique opportunity to bond and connect with my peers,” she said.
It was not the first time she worked her way to a leadership role. She also served as a senator in the student government at Everett Community College, the college shetransferred into WSU Everett from. All WSU Everett students complete their degree after taking their first two years of courses at any community college, which typically helps them save money and stay closer to home.
“My advice for international students who want to attend WSU Everett is to be involved, be proactive and have fun!” Chan said. “I highly recommend participating in student activities and joining a student club. It will help you develop soft skills that are so important, make new friends and learn more about American culture.”
She added that international students provide a great opportunity for US students, as well. “By studying alongside international students, I think US students can get a broader experience that helps them widen their cultural awareness and develop an appreciation for foreign cultures and beliefs,” Chan said. “Meeting international students from diverse backgrounds is a great way for US students to gain new perspectives, make lifelong friends and grow their professional network.”
Employers have said the same. At a WSU Everett industry panel, an engineer from Boeing stated that a bullet on a resume that a student has worked with people from other cultures is a tremendous advantage.
The WSU Everett advantage
“I like the fact that WSU Everett courses have small class sizes, which gives us more opportunities to ask questions and allows teachers to give us more tailored instruction,” Chan said. She also cited engaging internships as a critical advantage she had while earning her degree.
In 2015, she interned at the Aberdeen Marina Club in Hong Kong for her hospitality business management minor. “Through that internship, I was able to obtain valuable hospitality work skills and on-the-job training, which helped me develop better understanding of the daily hospitality operation and polished my hospitality business leadership skills,” she said.
In 2016, Chan interned in communications at a Seattle-based architecture firm. “I renovated and managed the company’s website and its social media, as well as created a variety of digital and print collateral for marketing purposes,” she said. Upon graduation, she was offered a job at the firm.
“My internships gave me an opportunity to apply my knowledge from WSU and helped me develop new career skills that will serve me well in the future. I was able to improve my soft skills and make new professional connections. Most importantly, they offered me insight into careers in hospitality and public relations, which helped me examine and define my career goals.”