Unlike a November afternoon, it was sunny. So, though tinged with dry cold, it was a beautiful day. As I strolled towards the Great Hall, I tried to remember the last time I attended a Law Fair in that Hall. It was in 2006 when I was pursuing my law degree. I knew it was bound to be different – things are changing fast in today’s world. Moreover, I am now attending as an International Student Ambassador for Careers Network. My job at the Fair is to interview the employers to find out what opportunities are there for International Students.
Once at the Aston Webb Building reception, I could feel the buzz. Students were standing in groups, chatting and waiting to be allowed into the Great Hall. The employers were already inside the Hall getting their booths ready. I looked around, hoping to find the searching eyes of another International Students’ Ambassador (ISA) with whom I was to meet at the Fair. As the crowd of students got thicker, I thought I should also rely on my Careers Network hooded shirt to help my co-ISA to locate me. I therefore decided to chat up those standing around me. And when I turned to my left side, I saw one of the international students that attended one of our workshops on Networking Skills for International Students. He was standing with a group of students with whom he is in the LLB for graduates program. I went up to them and he took over the introduction, and spoke about how informative he found the networking skills workshop. I was delighted to hear that, and encouraged the others to take advantage of subsequent workshops. Amongst those he was with was a Nigerian Student who words were that, “you feel cared for here” (‘here’ meaning the University of Birmingham). Well, it was time to take advantage of the message on my hooded shirt “Create your own future”. I suggested they read the message and they did, and I assured them that the University truly cares about the future of its students including international students. I told them what I was there to do, and they were glad. We were still exchanging views on this when a senior colleague of mine appeared to take me in through a side door. The students were being allowed in at the same time through the main, but it was tight and I needed to make quick progress. I had an hour to cover as many employers as possible.
Once inside the Great Hall, I realised that my original plan to just start from the firms at the entrance will have to give way to a new plan. There were so many firms that it was not possible to cover them all in three hours let alone an hour. It was necessary that I scanned through the many booths to identify potential employers to be interviewed. The key word was ‘international or global presence’, as I thought those firms would hold more opportunities for international students. And, there were many of them. With some having opportunities in virtually all the continents! Those are the ‘global’. Then there were the ‘international’, with offices across Europe and one or more countries outside Europe. In all, the response was impressive. It would seem that the first thing to do is to work hard and make good grades, for apart from the firms without international or global presence, opportunities abound across the world as long as one has performed well.